Branding guidelines questions

Signature system

What is the university signature system?

It is a system of visual elements that includes the university logo along with the names of schools and colleges, centers, institutes, and departments. The system follows UAF’s newly updated graphic identity guidelines. These guidelines will assist you in the proper usage of all our university marks, and they provide information about how to apply them in other communications, including print, web, online and other electronic formats.

Why is it important to have the unified visual identity provided by the university signature system?

A unified approach, besides being the most efficient use of our resources, is expected from a modern university. It clears up confusion among members of the public, funding agencies, potential students and donors, and helps us gain visibility in untapped markets. It also helps maintain and strengthen UAF’s long-term visual identity and helps secure our position as Alaska’s research university.

What is a signature?

A signature is the UAF symbol or block logo with a text-only typographic treatment of the unit name. Signatures always include the line “University of Alaska Fairbanks” to emphasize the relationship with UAF. See signature system for more information on obtaining signatures and guidelines for use.

How can my department start using the signature system?

University Relations will develop an art package for units who decide to adopt the signature system. The art package will include a variety of ways to use the UAF logo in combination with the unit name, as well as letterhead and other elements units request. Priority will be given to early adopters. To sign up, fill out the request form.

Is my unit required to use the customized system?

All units are encouraged to adopt the new system. Early adopters may be eligible for incentives. All new programs and departments will adopt the new signature system.

Units that choose to retain their current logos can do so in their current form only. No alterations or changes will be permitted. When those logos become outdated, units will be asked to adopt the system.

Unit leaders who believe they should be exempt from using the UAF logo or that they need to use the UAF logo in conjunction with another logo can apply for exemption. Exemptions will be rare and granted only to units that fit the criteria. The chancellor will review and give final approval on all exemptions. The development of new logos must be coordinated with University Relations.

It’s common for colleges and universities to develop a brand architecture structure to help strategically manage a visual identity system. Visit UAF's brand architecture for more information about where your unit fits within the hierarchy.

Does everything need to be changed to use the new signatures immediately?

We need to be fiscally responsible and change things in a phased approach, including signage and other big-ticket updates. As new materials are developed they should incorporate the new visual identity.

What am I supposed to do with the materials I currently have that feature my old program/departmental logo?

We encourage you to use up your existing materials. Any newly developed materials should use the new signature system. A good rule is to never order more than 12 months’ worth of materials at any given time, or you run the risk of them becoming dated. We also encourage units to incorporate the new signature system when updating or redesigning websites.

Why do we have to request an art package from University Relations? Why can’t I just create my own unit’s signatures?

The signatures have been carefully designed. To maintain consistency and integrity, only official files provided by University Relations should be used.

Logo and signature usage

When should I use the UAF logo?

All the time, on every publication and website. An approved logo is required on all materials produced for official university communications.

How about websites?

An approved logo should appear on all websites, preferably in the upper left-hand corner of the site. View UAF's web guidelines.

How do I know which logo to use?

UAF’s official logo is always appropriate. With the development of a flexible signature system, each unit decides whether to use their custom signature or maintain the university identity.

Can I change the color of the logo or signature?

The logo should appear in one of the official primary colors or black.

Can I apply special effects to a logo?

The logo should appear unaltered in every application and should not be stretched or have a drop shadow or any other effect applied.

Can I have my own logo?

The UAF logo is your logo. As part of the university’s long-term effort to capitalize on its primary brand, unique logos are not approved for any academic, administrative or research units. Secondary logos dilute the university brand and create confusion. The flexible signature system will effectively link campuses, schools, academic and research units, and administrative offices with the UAF brand. No other new logos are permitted unless reviewed by the UAF Graphic Identity Committee and signed off by the chancellor. For now, current logos may continue to be used, but it is recommended campus departments adopt the UAF signature system.

What’s the difference between a logo and a graphic element?

A logo is a mark or symbol that identifies an organization, service or product. A logo can be either graphic, consisting of symbols or icons, or composed of the name of the organization. A graphic element is a visual component that can be used in a designed print or electronic communication piece.

How can I make my pieces stand out when everything looks the same?

The design guidelines offer plenty of room to create an individualized look while still maintaining a visual connection to the university. Check out our templates page to see some examples of how the guidelines can be applied. Whenever possible, we recommend working with a professional graphic designer who is trained to create effective material within the UAF graphic identity guidelines.

How large does the logo need to be?

The logo should be proportional to size of your publication, promotional item or website. The absolute minimum size for the UAF block logo is ½" wide; however, this size is appropriate only for promotional items like pens or small web banner advertisements.

Can I use the UAF logo on a T-shirt or other item?

The production of merchandise using UAF trademarks must be done through a licensed vendor and adhere to guidelines and policies of the university. Please review and follow the UAF trademark guidelines before ordering merchandise.

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