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Frequently asked questions

Brand guidelines questions

As an employee of an academic institution, why should I care about branding? Isn’t that for commercial enterprises?
“Branding” is just the popularized term for building a strong identity. Every organization needs an identity that represents the desirable characteristics and personality traits that people associate with the institution. A strong identity gives the public a set of instant positive images that build confidence, trust, and respect. One very important way to build a strong identity is through consistent use of visual images, and a recognizable look and feel to published materials.

Have our mission, vision, and values changed?
No, they remain the same for the university and medical center. Our institutional position statement was crafted specifically to support them.

Do these guidelines apply to me?
Yes. This is a university-wide commitment, from our colleges and campuses to our medical center, offices, institutes and centers—everyone.

Will everything need to be changed immediately?
We need to be fiscally responsible and will change things in a phased approach, including signs and other “big-ticket” updates. Our goal is to have everything updated by June 2014.

Should I start ordering new materials now?
Every college, unit and office will create specific implementation plans, and update materials when it is time to reorder or when budgets allow. For more information, contact your communications office.

Is there a new approval process for printed materials under the new brand?
If you are developing a printed piece using the Ohio State logo, please email a PDF of it to the university’s brand team before it goes to print. The team will approve it or provide feedback within 48 business hours.

Logo questions

Why are we changing our logo?
We are One University; therefore, it is important that we share one identity. Unifying the university’s areas of excellence under a common identity amplifies the strength of our institution locally, regionally and nationally.

Can I create a logo with the Block O and my department or unit name?
No. Identification of any college, office, or other unit within Ohio State must follow guidelines for secondary signatures or unit identifiers. Pairing the Block O with text in any fashion is not permitted.

Should we throw away all our letterhead, business cards, notepads, recruiting materials, and other items with the old logo?
To remain fiscally responsible, departments, offices, units and centers are expected to update their printed materials, uniforms, building and vehicle signage, websites and other items with the new visual identity when it is time to reorder or when budgets allow.

Didn’t we just change some logos not long ago?
A handful of logos have been created or updated in the past year for special circumstances such as the Wexner Medical Center naming and the But for Ohio State campaign. However, since we knew we would implement a new overarching logo soon, we held off on long-term and expensive changes like ID badges and signage, and we intentionally produced other materials in limited quantities.

Why not keep separate logos for hospitals, centers, etc.?
As individual elements of Ohio State, we are stronger together than separate, and we need to communicate that visually. While we may have different hospitals, campuses, colleges, etc., we want everyone to know that we are one organization, and that they can count on having the same high-quality experience no matter how or where they come into contact with us.

Why should my academic unit adopt the Block O in its logo—isn’t it an athletic mark?
We learned through research that the Block O is one of our most accepted and recognizable symbols. While internally we associate it more with athletics than academics, we found that people outside the organization associate it with Ohio State, period. Thus, it is as powerful an identifier for non-athletic aspects of Ohio State as it is for athletics.

My department wants to create a unique mark of our own. Is that OK?
No. The Block O and the Ohio State name have proven to evoke feelings of hope, promise, quality, confidence, trust, and respect. By using both in a consistent manner, you strengthen their impact, value and influence, and in turn elevate your department. In contrast, having multiple competing logos for departments and programs creates confusion and dilutes the university’s identity, visual and otherwise.

May I create an official logo or wordmark by typing “The Ohio State University” or my unit’s name in university fonts?
No. The Ohio State logo, including the wordmark, and secondary signatures have been carefully and uniquely designed. To preserve our marks’ integrity, only official graphics files should be used.

How do I get my unit's secondary signature files?
Contact your communications office.

Brand tool questions

Why do I have to use templates?
To maintain the integrity of our brand, it is essential we use our brand voice and key messages in every communications piece we produce. Using a standard format shows professionalism and consistency. This applies to letters, business cards, envelopes and even agendas and fax cover sheets. Templates have been created to make it easy for you to develop pieces that comply with our brand guidelines, and to save you time.

Are the approved typefaces (Capita, Proxima Nova, Snell Roundhand) available for free?
Licensing restrictions prevent us from distributing the typefaces for free; however, UniPrint has negotiated special, super-economical pricing for Ohio State users. Visit for more on how to order.

Do I need the new fonts for business and email correspondence?
No. Arial is Ohio State’s official font for business and email correspondence.

How do I order letterhead, envelopes, and business cards?
UniPrint is the only approved vendor for stationery; visit for more on ordering stationery products.

Are there pre-approved photos I can use?
Our downloads section does include images approved and available for general use. If you need a photo that is not in the image bank, email us.

Extended color palette