Frequently asked questions
Is every campus unit required to follow these guidelines?
Yes, to the extent possible. While we understand that many campus units have developed their own visual identity over the years, it’s important to comply in a way that connects every unit with UW–Madison in some way — using the institutional logo on a printed piece, for example, or using institutional colors and the university’s name on websites. The foremost goal of any brand and visual identity project is consistency, which increases recognition and clearly communicates that individual entities are part of the larger institution.
Should my unit throw away our existing supply of letterhead and other printed materials and start over?
No. We encourage campus units to use up their existing supplies of such materials as soon as possible, and then order materials that reflect the new visual identity. Doing so supports one of our campus strategic priorities: being responsible stewards of our resources. We also encourage units to incorporate the visual identity when they begin to update or redesign their websites.
If our campus unit follows the guidelines, won’t every publication or website look the same? How can our unit stand out from the crowd?
University Communications is happy to advise units on how to implement “co-branding” — using both the institutional identity and your unit’s identity in a way that is aesthetically pleasing and leaves plenty of options for communicating your unit’s unique characteristics through text, photographs, and other content. These guidelines are intended to more closely align hundreds of individual identities with a powerful core brand: the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
Our campus unit wants a new logo to use on our letterhead, website, and other products. Where can we get the logo and what will it cost?
University Communications will create logos that follow the new visual identity free of charge. Send us the request, including the exact name of your unit, and we’ll create logo files that will work for both print and electronic products. Campus units should not attempt to re-create logos on their own.
Does every website for a campus unit need to look like the university’s home page?
The overall goal is to achieve visual consistency so that any UW–Madison unit is quickly identified as having a connection to the university. Units should download the approved web template, which includes the official logo and colors, search function, etc., at the top. But a unit can then create the content and appearance of its website below these top elements in whatever way it would like. Units that would like more detailed design options may download additional sample templates.
I’m a student who will soon be graduating and seeking a job. May I order business cards with the university’s logo or use the university’s logo on my website?
Yes, if you are in good academic standing, you may order and pay for business cards with the university’s institutional logo through StudentPrint. You may also use the logo on your website, provided that the site is informational — essentially an online version of your resume — and not designed for commercial gain.
Our campus unit wants to create a logo for a special event. Is that okay?
Yes, you may create a logo that will be used only for a specific purpose (such as an anniversary) during a specific timeframe (such as one year). However, if your unit wants to create a new logo to identify itself on all of your materials (printed or online) indefinitely, we strongly encourage you to ask University Communications to create a logo that reflects the official visual identity guidelines. A logo that reflects the university’s identity is free and it already enjoys strong awareness and positive recognition from the campus community and beyond.
I’d like to use the W crest logo or the Bucky Badger mark, but I’d like to change them to set them apart on our materials. Is that okay?
No, for two primary reasons: First, the value of official marks is diminished each time they are altered; consistency leads to awareness and recognition. Second, these official marks are protected by registered trademarks, so changing them in any way violates trademark law.
I’d like to use the Motion W with materials related to my research project. Is that okay?
No, the Motion W is reserved for use with materials related specifically to UW–Madison Athletics.
Sometimes I’ve seen giveaway items (pens, for example) that use just the W crest or just the name of the university without the W crest. Is that okay?
Yes, in limited circumstances. While the institutional logo should be used as a full graphic (with the W crest and the name of the university in an official typeface) whenever possible, sometimes the format of a specific item makes it difficult to reproduce the logo effectively. If you have questions about using only the W crest or only the university’s name, please check with University Communications for guidance. More formal uses — such as a department’s letterhead or website — must always use an official logo in full.
Our unit used an approved vendor for some materials and the vendor now wants to use UW–Madison’s logo on its sales brochure and website. Is that okay?
No. Exernal organizations are not allowed to use the university’s official logo to market their services. But we do understand that we have an important relationship with approved vendors. They are allowed to name the university as a client and provide a factual description of the relationship. See the advertising policy for more information.