Logo basics

Ohio State’s particular model of brand architecture is known as “monolithic,” or a “branded house,” where the university’s logo is the primary identifier in all communications.

The consistent and proper use of the university logo not only strengthens recognition for Ohio State but also projects the university’s established reputation onto all of the many individual entities that make up our university.

To reinforce the university logo – and thereby the university itself – as our foundation, our identity system prohibits the use of any additional iconography, marks or artwork in conjunction with the university logo or any supplemental signature. Approved secondary identity elements may be used as supporting art, but they should always be clearly separated from our official marks.

The ® mark

When the logo appears on merchandise or apparel, it should always have a registration mark (®). The registration mark is not needed on stationery, marketing collateral or interactive communications.

Logo elements

The university logo pictured above anchors the entire visual identity system. It is used on all communications, and its effectiveness relies on consistent presentation.

By adhering to a standardized use of our logo elements, we reinforce the image of Ohio State as a cohesive, powerful entity and amplify the impact of our visual communications.

  1. Block O
    Ohio State’s Block O is the visual identifier of the university and all of its colleges, offices, libraries, schools, centers, departments, programs, and other units. The Block O should be displayed with the wordmark at all times, and never used alone to identify the university or its units. 
  2. The wordmark
    The wordmark is an adjusted letterform version of the name “The Ohio State University” combined with the baseline, which anchors and protects the integrity of the wordmark. It cannot be replicated through typesetting.
  3. The logo
    Together the Block O and wordmark are known as the logo.

Always use official electronic artwork. The spacing and positioning of the logo elements should not be recreated or altered for any reason.

Configurations and clear space

There are three approved configurations of the logo, of which horizontal (1) is the preferred. The vertical and stacked versions are distinct versions and should not be recreated. 

  1. Horizontal logo (preferred)
  2. Vertical logo (second choice)
    The vertical configuration may be used in circumstances where it is impractical to use the preferred horizontal version.
  3. Stacked logo (limited use)
    The stacked logo is for use in restricted spaces where neither the horizontal nor the vertical version is feasible, such as one-column ads, podium signs, or certain merchandise or apparel.

“Clear space” is the protected area around the logo that maximizes its impact. This space must be kept free of all other graphics and text, including other logos. It is also the minimum distance the logo can be from the edges of an electronic document or printed piece.

To preserve the university logo’s prominence, no additional iconography, marks or artwork may be used in conjunction with it or any secondary signature.

Approved secondary identity elements may be used as supporting art, but they should always be clearly separated from the logo.

The logos must not be altered in any way, and additional configurations are not permitted. Do not recreate the logo.

The minimum required amount of clear space is defined by the width of the Block O.

Minimum size

The Block O should not appear smaller than 0.375 inches tall in print. The minimum size of the Block O on screen is 32 pixels tall, but 50 pixels tall is preferred if possible. The proportions of the Block O in relation to the wordmark and baseline should not be changed.

Special circumstances such as favicons and app icons require alternate logos that you can find in logo resources. If additional exception cases arise, email identity@osu.edu.

Color variations

The preferred use of the logo is scarlet and gray (1) on a white or light background. This version should be used whenever possible. When the preferred use is not feasible, the following variations (and only these variations) may be used:

  1. Scarlet and gray (preferred)
  2. Scarlet and black
    For use when the background requires a darker representation of the wordmark.
  3. Black
    For use when ink colors are restricted or the use of scarlet creates a design conflict. (However, remember to always incorporate a presence of scarlet in your design.)
  4. Scarlet
    For use when ink colors are restricted, to achieve a particular design effect.
  5. Gray
    For use when ink colors are restricted, to achieve a particular design effect.

There are two versions of the logo designed to maximize its impact when it appears on scarlet, black, or some other dark background.

  1. One-color full reverse (preferred reverse version)
  2. Two-color reverse
    When a presence of scarlet is needed in a reverse logo situation, use the two-color reverse version.

Logo placement

Logo placement is important, especially when paired with a unit identifier.

Appropriate placements for each logo configuration are illustrated below. Although there is flexibility for alignment within these areas, the placements shown are optimal. The highlighted quadrants show the preferred position for each configuration.

These placements also apply to secondary signatures.

Other Marks

University seal

The university's official seal has been edited to include the iconic Block O. As in the past, use of the seal is limited to the president's office and the board of trustees. The seal is not available for download, and special permission must be obtained for use. Contact identity@osu.edu.

Athletics logo

The athletics logo, which includes our iconic Block O, has been updated for greater legibility in digital media. Use of the athletics logo is limited to sports teams, athletics marketing communications, and trademarked merchandise. The athletics logo is not available for download. Contact athletics creative services director Andy DeVito or trademark and licensing for more information. 

Logo resources

  • Horizontal, vertical and stacked configurations
  • All available color variations
  • Horizontal and stacked word marks
  • Logo and wordmark with ®
Extended color palette