The Ohio State University is a large, multifaceted institution with countless elements that together make up One University. That is why having a unified brand is so important. By optimizing its usage within our campus environment, we can leverage our brand through our physical space and make the experience of being at Ohio State – across all campuses – a unique and cohesive one.

There are many visual elements that come together to reinforce our brand. Those elements include everything from colors and fonts to merchandise and mobile apps. The more pieces and parts that adhere to brand guidelines, the stronger the message. The stronger the message, the more memorable the experience. Our physical environment is one of the best ways to utilize visual elements and reinforce our brand.

These environmental brand guidelines are to be incorporated into our campus physical spaces. From the smallest room to the largest arena, every place at Ohio State has the potential to not only reinforce our brand, but also showcase the creativity that lives inside, and outside, our walls.

Our brand environment

The university’s architecture is wonderfully diverse. At Ohio State, there is a freedom to construct spaces that best fit the intended uses – and best suit those who will use those spaces. The result is eclectic and inspiring.

The environmental brand guidelines allow you to continue to be creative. Tools and guidance has been provided to keep the guidelines from being overly limiting. Feel free to push the limits to make each space shine.The Ohio Union is a perfect example of how to use our environmental brand guidelines to the extreme. Every design choice, from the mosaic inlay in the restrooms to the paint on the walls to the custom carpet, conveys our brand. When you’re in this building, you know you’re not at any other university.

Other good examples of our brand translated around campus include:

Veterinary Hospital

CBEC Lobby

Veterinary Hospital

Newton Hall

Fry Hall

Fry Hall

Digital Union

FDC lobby, Enarson Hall

Hitchcock Hall

FDC conference room, Enarson Hall

Ohio Union lobby

Ohio Union

Ohio Union Restroom

Postal Hall

Postle Hall

Postle Hall

Stillman Hall Classroom

Stillman Hall Classroom

Student Academic Services Building

Gerlach Hall

Have a question about interior or exterior campus signage? Find out more, or submit a signage request, at FOD signage.

Adding or updating door signage? Download entry door guidelines here.

Unify your office with branded cube signs. Download templates

Environmental Brand Review Board

The environmental brand review board has the authority regarding environmental esthetics on our campuses. Their job is to help you translate the principles of our brand into the university environment. The board is made up of representatives from marketing, interior design, architecture, signage, exteriors and landscaping. They are available to help you determine how to adhere to the brand principles, while still customizing for the needs of the project. Email identity@osu.edu with questions for the Environmental Brand Review Board.

Denise Beard – Facilities Operations and Development, Interiors Projects Manager

Bernard Costantino – Planning and Real Estate, University Architect

Stephen Malone – Facilities Operations and Development, University Signage Coordinator

Stephen Volkmann – Facilities Operations and Development, University Landscape Architect

Jacquie Aberegg – University Marketing

Ryan Sosnowski – University Marketing

Our Brand Principles

Embrace scarlet and gray

While every space should have something we’re calling “a presence of scarlet,” it doesn’t mean everything needs to be covered in red. Even a hint will do.

Scarlet and gray are as well known as our name. They are the colors which identify us as Ohio State. Use of these colors is the easiest way to tap into that powerful recognition and connect each space with the brand. To ensure consistency, be sure to use the proper specifications below, and consider that a generous use of neutral allows our colors, and any others, to stand out.

A secondary palette of approved colors, for use in paint, fabrics, tiles and many other materials and applications is provided. Remember, these colors should be used in a secondary way, letting our iconic scarlet and gray shine.

Cherish university icons

Use the university’s signature art elements to their full advantage: The block O; buckeye leaf and nut graphics; and the state of Ohio silhouette. Use this collection of graphics to enhance and enliven your designs.

For more recommendations on how best to utilize these graphics, see Buckeye Art.

Love the logo

The university’s logo is the primary identifier in all communications – and it should be well represented in our physical environment.

By adhering to a standardized use of the university’s logo, the image of Ohio State is reinforced as a cohesive, powerful entity and it amplifies the impact of our visual communications and our environment.

For more information on logo usage, see Logo Basics.

Download the environmental color quick reference sheet, including the primary and neutral palette. 

Download color reference

Approved Colors

A wide environmental palette has been established to help brand spaces. Neutrals have been selected to highlight the core university colors, and a secondary palette was established with flexibility in mind. There is plenty of room for differentiation and personality.

Remember, we are Ohio State and our spaces should reflect our iconic scarlet and gray first. Always include a presence of scarlet when designing spaces.

There is a full palette of colors from Sherwin Williams (SW) available. To understand the numbers in the list below, please refer to this example:

PMS 000 This is the Pantone Matching System ID number.
PMS ENV 00-0000 This is the Pantone Fashion and Home ID for fabrics and other non-paint materials.
SW-0000 This is Sherwin Williams’ paint color ID.
Tint not recommended If a tint or shade of the color is permitted, a SW number will be listed. Unless listed here, tints are not recommended.

Primary brand palette

  • PMS 200 PMS ENV 17-1654 SW 6868 Real Red Tint not recommended
  • PMS 424PMS ENV 18-4005SW 7075Web Gray
  • BlackPMS ENV 17-1654SW 6258Tricorn Black
  • WhitePMS ENV 17-1654SW 7006Extra White


    • SW 7004Snowbound
    • SW 7005Pure White
    • SW 7008Alabaster
    • SW 6385Dover White
    • SW 7012Creamy
    • SW 7011Natural Choice
    • SW 7070Site White
    • SW 7071Gray Screen
    • SW 7072Online
    • SW 7073Network Gray
    • SW 7074Software
    • SW 7075Web Gray

Secondary brand palette

Want to explore the secondary palette in environments? Consult the office of Facilities Design and Construction for assistance.

Extended color palette