Identity Elements

Department Branding

Stanford University, is a wonderfully big place containing many divisions, units and departments. By communicating a clear relationship to Stanford, each unit can leverage the recognition and equity in the University. This in turn elevates the whole of Stanford for association with each unit's uniqueness, achievements and offerings.


Using a Department Signature


A department signature is a formal lockup that combines the name of an individual unit with the Stanford name and emblems and functions as a logo for that unit.

A Department Signature:

  • Demonstrates official status and represents the University in a direct capacity
  • Conveys proper hierarchy - both in relation to Stanford and position within the unit
  • Unifies the experience for people interacting with Stanford

Should use a Department Signature

  • Schools
  • Academic Departments
  • Administrative Units
  • Institutes, Centers and Labs

Should not use a Department Signature

  • Individual People/Professors/Students/Staff
    (i.e. Stanford | Firstname Lastname)
  • Student Groups
  • Non-official Groups
    (i.e. Communities of Practice)
  • Programs or initiatives within an organization

Keep in mind:

Stanford schools, academic departments, administrative units, institutes, centers and labs should use a department signature. Unique logos in use at this level add confusion for those interacting with various parts of Stanford and reduce the impact and effectivenes of our visual identity overall.

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Creating a Department Signature

1. Identify the hierarchy you need to present

Keep it as simple as possible

Try to avoid including too many levels. What is the least amount of information to still accurately convey the proper hierarchy? Show as few levels as possible with the exception of situations where multiple levels is important to conveying things accurately. For example, more than one unit may have a Finance department, so adding the hierchical unit will be important to not imply this is the Finance department for all of Stanford.

There are many situations that can get complicated. If the proper levels to display are difficult to discern or there’s no practical way to simplify, the department signature system can accommodate multi-level lockups, but we may need to talk through it case by case.

Schools have special formatting

The configuration using all capital letters in Source Sans Pro semibold are reserved for our seven schools and a few select university-wide initiatives. Please contact us before using that option. If you do use the school-level in your department signature, it should behave as one element with the Stanford wordmark. Keep in mind, there may already be shortened versions of your school that are pre-approved (like for Stanford Engineering).

There's flexibility for your situation

There are multiple ways to correctly create a Department Signature. The signature depends on how many (or how few) levels you need to include, or how formal or informal you need to be (i.e. including "Department of" or "Center for" or not). For units with long titles or donor names, you can use the smaller first line option to help everything fit.

Do

  • Keep the department signature as simple as possible
  • Spell out the full name of the unit
  • Use the department signature as a unit logo
  • Create white and color versions (vertical versions optional) for a full department signature system

Don't

  • Don’t show too many levels
  • Don’t use taglines in the lockup
  • Don’t use acronyms
  • Don’t change fonts, font sizes, or colors
  • Don’t move elements around or change alignment
  • Don’t use other logos with a department signature
  • Don't use your department signature as a social media profile icon (we have a social media icon template for that).

2. Customize your department signature system

Once you know what how many and which levels of hierarchy you need to display, choose a template that is the closest fit.


It will be simplest to work with our pre-existing template files above but if you need to recreate one from scratch, you can use our technical reproduction notes.

Technical reproduction notes

These diagrams for academic signature configurations show element alignments, spacing and relative sizes. The point size specifications demonstrate both line spacing, leading and title size relationships. When signatures need to be either larger or smaller, the relative scale of elements should be observed. The configuration using all capital letters in Source Sans Pro semibold are reserved for our seven schools and a few select university-wide initiatives. Please contact us before using that option.

Signature configurations for schools and academic departments

First Tier
Logo size:15 points on the height of the “f” in Stanford.
First tier entities: 15 pt Source Sans Semibold, all capitals. Set kerning to optical.
Rules:0.60 point weight.
Second Tier
Logo size:15 points on the height of the “f” in Stanford.
First tier entities: 15 pt Source Sans Semibold, all capitals, Set kerning to optical.
Rules:0.60 point weight.
Second tier entities: 12 pt Source Sans Regular, capitals and lowercase, set kerning to optical.

Signature configurations for academic departments, administrative units, institutes and centers

First Tier – One line
Logo size:15 points on the height of the “f” in Stanford.
First tier entities: 12.75 pt Source Sans Regular, capitals and lowercase. Set kerning to optical.
Rules:0.60 point weight.
First Tier - Two Lines
Logo size:15 points on the height of the “f” in Stanford.
First tier entities: 10.5/11.25 pt Source Sans Regular, capitals and lowercase. Set kerning to optical.
Rules:0.60 point weight.
Second Tier – One Line
Logo size:15 points on the height of the “f” in Stanford.
First tier entities: 8.25 pt Source Sans Italic, capitals and lowercase. Set kerning to optical.
Rules:0.60 point weight.
Second tier entities: 10.5 pt Source Sans Regular, capitals and lowercase, set kerning to optical.
Second Tier – Two Lines
Logo size:15 points on the height of the “f” in Stanford.
First tier entities: 8.25 pt Source Sans Italic, capitals and lowercase. Set kerning to optical.
Rules:0.60 point weight.
Second tier entities: 10.5/11.25 pt Source Sans Regular, capitals and lowercase. Set kerning to optical.
Vertical Configuration
Logo size:15 points on the height of the “f” in Stanford.
First tier entities: 12.75 pt Source Sans Regular, capitals and lowercase. Set kerning to optical.
Rules:0.60 point weight.


Choose a horizontal layout


Unit (1 line)
EPS or PSD


Unit (2 lines)
EPS or PSD


Unit (2 lines, big/small)
EPS or PSD


Unit + Level (1 line)
EPS or PSD


Unit (2 lines) + Level
EPS or PSD


School + Unit (1 line)
EPS or PSD


Alt School + Unit (1 line)
EPS or PSD


School + Unit (2 lines)
EPS or PSD


School Only
EPS or PSD


School + Unit + Level
EPS or PSD


Multidisciplinary
EPS or PSD


Optional: choose a vertical layout


Unit
EPS or PSD


School
EPS or PSD


School + Unit
EPS or PSD


School + Unit + Level
EPS or PSD


You should have color and white versions


Color Version

White Version

The color version has the Stanford wordmark in Cardinal red with the pipe and unit name in cool grey, for use against light background colors. When putting in front of an image or a darker identity toolkit color, use the white version of your department signature.


Optional: vertical versions in color and white

While you will primarilly use the horizontal department signature, sometimes it will be too long for some mediums, such as on the mobile repsonsive version of your site. You may want to also have a vertical version developed as well.

3. You should end up with a full department signature system

Horizontal Color (.png & .eps)
Horizontal White (.png & .eps)
Optional Vertical Color (.png & .eps)
Optional Vertical White (.png & .eps)

You should have a full set of department signatures for a variety of applications - both color and white versions, saved for both digital and print. If you would like to keep them on your own department style guide, we can create one for you.

Yeah, but what about...

Individual unit uniqueness

At the request of the Office of the Provost, unless you use the department signature system, all logos and wordmarks developed by externally facing campus units require approval of the offices of University Communications and Trademarks & Licensing, with final approval by the Office of the Provost, as needed.

However, it is important and useful to balance recognition and consistency in a department signature with differentiation through other graphical elements such as color combination and image/visual asset choice.

Special events, initiatives & anniversaries

A logo may be created and used to mark special occasions such as annual events, campaigns and anniversaries. They should only be for a short-term duration to promote and identify that particular event or initiative.

These logos should not be used as primary branding for a unit, and should not incorporate Stanford emblems. However, they do not need to go through the same approval process as unit logos deviating from the department signature system.

Co-branding & sub-brands

Co-branding situations require specific context and approval, so let's talk through your situation to find the best way to proceed.

Whether pairing a Stanford emblem or department signature with another entity's brand or with one within your organization, it is essential to represent an appropriate and accurate relationship with Stanford.

For sub-branding situations, assess if a separate logo is best option - often it adds more confusion and busyness than it provides in benefit. If a sub-brand is essential, make sure that it retains an appropriate visual hierarchy underneath the parent organization's branding.

We are here to help

Branding situations can require extra context and you may not have access to or skill with the programs necessary to create a Department Signature. Please feel free to reach out to us for help with creating these.

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Department Style Guides

We are creating dedicated pages for individual units to archive helpful downloads for unit signatures and stationery files.

Request a Style Guide page for your department
Last updated: 8/29/16
  • 02/1/17 - Launched new website and reorganized content. Added Using a Department Signature, Creating a Department Signature and Department Style Guide sections.