Identity Elements

Name & Emblems

Every unit at Stanford can benefit from the Stanford identity. The Stanford identity is made up of visual elements that combine to give all Stanford communication a distinct look-and-feel – from colors to photography to fonts – and capture our pioneering spirit.


Name & Emblem Principles

You benefit from your connection to Stanford
Using our name and emblems in your communcation lets you leverage the recognition of Stanford and the influence of our collective reputation.
You're speaking for all of Stanford
When you use our name and emblems, in the eyes of your audience you're communicating on behalf of Stanford. Keep it consistent. Keep it high quality.
Communicate an appropriate relationship with Stanford
Use the name and emblems only through your official connection with Stanford and within the context of your role at the university.

Do

  • Use these logos when communicating on behalf of Stanford or within your role at Stanford.
  • Share logo assets with vendors working on behalf of official units for use within the scope of their project.

Don't

  • Don't use these logos for personal projects, student groups, or vendor client lists.
  • Don't use these logos to create any merchandise (for sale or otherwise) without talking to the Trademark Licensing.

Keep in mind:

Use the appropriate tone for your audience

The standard Wordmark or the Block S with Tree are more versatile and more appopriate for most contexts. Using the seal or the Wordmark versions with "university" will communicate more formality.

Official units have their voice too

If you're with an administrative unit, department, center or lab, they might prefer you use the logo for that department. If you need one, refer to Department Branding. (The Unit Logo Policy applies)

Co-branding needs context

The best way to handle situations where other logos might appear next to Stanford's will vary by the situation, so submit a help ticket and we will work with you to find the best solution.

Printing logos on clothing, merchandise, etc requires permission

If you are looking to print Stanford logos on clothing or merchandise, requests should go through the Trademark Licensing.

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The Stanford Signature

The Stanford Signature is the uniquely drawn set of typographic characters that form “Stanford University” and is the primary logo for the university. Treat the signature as artwork, not as typography. It cannot be accurately reproduced with any typeface and should not be modified in any way.

Stanford Wordmark

University Signature

University Signature (Stacked)

Download all Stanford Signature files

Usage Guidelines

The impact of any graphic identity depends on consistent use resulting in a large number of impressions over a long period of time. Any changes to the shape and color of a wordmark reduce its impact and can, over time, defeat the entire purpose of an identity program.

Give it enough room to breathe

There should always be a buffer zone surrounding the signature or wordmark, with no type or graphics appearing in the zone. At a minimum the space should be equal to the x-height at any given size and extend above, below, to the left and to the right of the signature or wordmark. This applies to all signature and wordmark variations.

Make it large enough to read

Always make the signature at least .85in for print and 85 px for digital applications so that they are reproduced at a size where they are clearly legible. The signatures may need to be larger when they are reproduced via low-resolution media such as on websites or in presentations, in order to retain design integrity.

Use the red or black wordmark against light backgrounds

Use the white wordmark against dark identity color backgrounds or images

Common Mistakes

The wordmark and signatures should not be altered in any way, such as extending, condensing, outlining, adding borders, special effects or drop shadows, or attaching other words or graphics. The graphics on these pages are a few examples of incorrect usage and alterations of the Stanford wordmark. Please avoid these and all other changes to the Stanford wordmark and signatures.

Don't alter the letter weight

Don't add drop shadow, outline, glow, etc

Not enough negative space

Dont alter the letter spacing

Don't use other colors

Don't use an image mask

Don't add other artwork

Don't distort the mark

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The University Seal

The Seal is one of Stanford's strongest emblems. It lends authority and authenticity to any communication where it appears. The Seal may be used on any Stanford communication which reflects Stanford's mission or administration. The Seal has a formal and official quality to it, and therefore is not widely used on communications related to events and athletics, where the more informal Block "S" symbols are more appropriate.

University Seal (Light Background)

University Seal (Dark Background)


Download all University Seal files

Use Guidelines

Make it large enough to read

Please use the seal only on communications of sufficiently high quality and resolution that it can be legibly reproduced. 3/8 inch is the minimum size for high-resolution printed materials. When the seal is reversed to white the minimum size is 1 inch.

Give it enough room to breathe

Whenever possible, allow more than 1/8 the diameter clear space to surround the seal. With the exception of trademark designations, do not place other graphics or typography in the minimum clear space area.

The Seal can be a watermark

The seal may be used as a simulated watermark by using a tone-on-tone treatment. The effect can be achieved by using a very light colored seal on a neutral colored background.

The seal is always one color

The preferred color presentation for the seal is in Pantone Cool Gray11C. When that color is not available or appropriate, a black seal may be used. The seal may be rendered in gold or silver foil stamping when printing on the highest quality communications.

The background field of the seal will usually appear in white. It is also acceptable to use a neutral colored paper stock or other background color as the background field of the seal.

Graphic design professionals can change the background field color of the seal by selecting the circular white disc at the back of the seal eps artwork. The disc color should only be changed to match a background color on which the seal appears.

Pantone Cool Gray 11

Black

Cardinal

Seal reversed to white on Cool Gray 11

Seal reversed to white on black

Seal reversed to white on Cardinal

Seal in Cool Gray 11 or black on neutral background equivalent to or lighter than 30% black

Special version of black seal artwork with additional white line around exterior for use on black

Special version of Cardinal seal artwork with additional white line around exterior for use on Cardinal

Common Mistakes

The Seal should not be altered in any way, such as by extending or condensing the emblem, outlining or adding borders, adding drop shadows or other special effects, or extracting the tree as a stand-alone symbol. Here are a few examples of incorrect usage and alterations of the Stanford seal. Please avoid these and all other changes.

Don't use the seal as a logo

Don't use the seal as an avatar or profile icon (it's too formal)

Do not place Cardinal seal on black background

Do not reverse seal out of colors outside the primary palette

Do not substitute colors

Do not color in the seal

Do not place other images or program identities into the seal

Do not create a pattern with the seal

Do not place the seal on a busy, cluttered, or confusing background

Do not place the standard seal artwork on a dark background. (See above for correct version.)

Do not extract the tree as a stand-alone symbol.

Do not incorporate the seal into illustrations

Do not use more than one seal on the surface of a communication

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The Block "S" With Tree

The Block "S" with Tree is one of the most proprietary symbols of Stanford University. The tree is based on the rendition of the Palo Alto seen on the Stanford seal. The symbol was updated slightly in August 2014.

Block S w Tree (2 color)

  • 2 color (light bg): EPS or PNG
  • 2 color (dark bg): EPS or PNG

Block S w Tree (1 color)

Download all Block S files

Use Guidelines

The impact of any graphic identity depends on consistent use resulting in a large number of impressions over a long period of time. Any changes to the shape and color of a wordmark reduce its impact and can, over time, defeat the entire purpose of an identity program.

Give it enough room to breathe

The minimum clear space area ensures that no other elements infringe upon the Stanford emblems, allowing them to be easily seen and to be quickly recognized. Clear space standards apply to all versions of the Block "S." Whenever possible, allow more than this minimum clear space area to surround a Block "S." With the exception of trademark designations, do not place other graphics or typography in the minimum clear space area.

Make it large enough to read

Block "S" symbols should always be reproduced at a size where they are clearly legible in the medium used. 3/8 inch is the minimum size for high-resolution printed materials. The Block "S" may need to be rendered larger than this minimum size when reproduced via low-resolution media in order to retain design integrity.

Use the correct Block S

The Block S has evolved over time to it's current version. Please make sure you're using the most updated version of the Block S with Tree. Where you would have used the plain block S, use the Block S with tree instead because it is more distinctive and recognizable an image to represent Stanford.

Use this one!

Space around the tree inside the "S"

No tree, not distinct enough

The plain Block "S" is not a recommended emblem for Stanford, and should not be used without prior permission from the Office of University Communications or Trademark Licensing. The more distinctive Block "S" with Tree (see above) is the recommended Stanford identity emblem and should be used whenever possible. To request use of the plain Block "S", please contact us via HelpSU.

Common Mistakes

The Block "S" symbols should not be altered in any way, such as by extending or condensing the emblem, outlining or adding borders, adding drop shadows or other special effects, or extracting the tree as a stand-alone symbol. Here are a few examples of incorrect usage and alterations of the Block "S". Please avoid these and all other changes.

Don't substitute colors

Don't swap the green and red

Don't distort the artwork.

Do not remove the outline rule.

Don't tilt the Block "S" - always place it in an upright position.

Don't place the standard Block "S" artwork on a dark background (use the reverse version instead).

Don't substitute any other red for Cardinal.

Don't alter the Block "S" symbol with any other artwork.

Don't use the Block "S" to replace the letter 'S' in a word.

Don't extract the tree as a stand-alone symbol.

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Signature/Emblem Combinations

The Stanford University wordmark and signature system has been designed to be compatible with existing university emblems: the seal and the block-S with tree. In general, the seal reads best in formal correspondence and materials. The block-S with tree is recommended for informal communications.

Signature + Seal (Formal)

This signature configuration is best suited for formal materials: official letterhead, prestigious event invitations, awards, etc. As a refined illustration, the Stanford seal emblem does not reproduce well in small applications and on many online venues.

Signature + Block S w Tree (Informal)

This signature configuration is best suited for student activities, informal event fliers and other non-academic activities. The two-color block-S with tree should always be used in multicolor applications. A special one-color block-S with tree is available for use on limited color applications such as one color printing, black & white templates or copy outputs for internal communications.

Download Signature/Emblem Combinations

Do

  • Use the Signature + Seal for formal applications
  • Use the Signature + Block S w Tree for informal applications
  • Give the marks enough free space to breathe - at least the x-height of "Stanford" on all sides
  • Make it large enough to read clearly - The Seal and Block S should never be less than 3/8 inches tall in print
  • For digital and low resolution applications, you may need to make it larger than the minimum so it's readable

Don't

  • Use the wrong mark for the tone of your communication
  • Combine the marks in different ways than provided
  • Reproduce the marks too small such that they are not clearly readable
  • Put anything (including the edge of your design) too close to the combo marks
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Last updated: 8/29/16
  • 02/1/17 - Launched new website and reorganized content. Expanded all signature and emblem sections. Added Principles and Legal sections.