Our Brand

The power of many, succeeding as one

The Ohio State University is a special place — a large, multifaceted institution with countless elements that together make up our One University.

Having many dynamic moving parts requires coordination to move in the same direction. To move from excellence to eminence as we intend, we must amplify our efforts as One University as never before.

This is why our brand is important.

A brand is more than a logo. It is the voice we use to tell our stories. It is the experience people have with our university. Our brand guidelines are the tools we use to create those stories and reinforce those experiences; they are the operating manual for looking, speaking, and acting as One University.

We all play a role in strengthening our brand. You can help by incorporating these guidelines into the marketing and communications materials you create. The tools are flexible enough to help you create a full range of expression for your specific audience, while still allowing our shared strengths and aspirations to shine.

Through consistent use, these guidelines will amplify the impact of our brand in an increasingly competitive academic marketplace. Thousands of stories, one voice. That is the power of Ohio State.

What is brand?

A brand is a construct, a type of shorthand, that people hold in their minds and hearts when thinking about an institution. A brand at its core is a promise of what the institution stands for and what it offers to those who engage with it.

A brand is earned rather than owned. It is the cumulative result of every experience, communication, and reference made by or about our institution over time as experienced by others. Simply put, a brand is not something we buy; a brand is something we build.


The basis of our brand

More than 150 years ago, the enactment of the Morrill Act changed education in the United States forever. Across the country, state-sponsored institutions were created that “promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in the several pursuits and professions in life.” Educating our citizens to help them succeed in life became a tenet of our country, a responsibility toward our citizens.

This is the noble intention from which The Ohio State University was born.

Since its founding in 1870, Ohio State has educated more than 1 million bold and inquisitive thinkers. Today, with more than 100 land-grant universities in the United States, Ohio State has grown into one of the largest and most comprehensive public research universities in the nation and ranks among the top 100 universities in the world.

The Ohio State brand is rooted in our history, our identity, and our achievements, all of which are inextricably linked to our core mission: To advance the well-being of the people of Ohio and the global community through the creation and dissemination of knowledge. Our brand looks to the future, too, ready for tomorrow's challenges and opportunities.

The articulation of our brand was based on extensive qualitative and quantitative research that examined how our key audiences — students, parents, alumni, faculty, staff, Ohioans, friends, corporations, foundations — and outside observers respond when they see and hear the words and symbols of Ohio State. It was also shaped by the collaborative input of teams assembled from throughout the university. Through this combination of data, expert opinions, spirited debates, and moments of revelation, the expression of our brand emerged.

Who we are

Ohio State is a dynamic community where opportunity thrives. Through our far-reaching network of diverse resources and perspectives, we foster the incisive thinking, spirit of collaboration, and depth of character you need to transform yourself and your world.

This is our institutional position statement — what we stand for. It represents our brand promise, or what people can expect from us. It is not an overt external message itself but rather a guide for us internally; every communication we create should convey the essence of this statement.

There are a lot of universities in the world, but none like Ohio State. It's the combination of attributes people associate with Ohio State that makes us different:

Size and breadth
Our abilities and strength derive from our vastness of resources, including our people.

Collaborative opportunities
Within our academic, research, social, and civic-minded community, the ways we connect and intersect with each other create a thriving environment for learning and growing.

Personal pathways
Ohio State supports and encourages individuals to pursue their own path to fulfillment through knowledge. It is a gateway to immense personal and professional opportunities for those with the initiative to seize them.

A Midwest sensibility
While we weren't all born Buckeyes, the Midwest mindset is a big part of our culture and something we come to share.

Our personality— Ohio forged, globally minded

Our Buckeye personality should come through in every communication we create.

Open and sincere
We welcome anyone who is curious and willing to work hard. Even as we compete to be the best, we think being friendly is just good manners.

Big and bold
For those who want to transform the ways our society thinks and lives, opportunity and a lifelong badge of distinction await at Ohio State. We push boundaries.

Creative and inquisitive
Buckeyes are interested in why things are the way they are. We question. We explore.

At Ohio State, we learn through experience and generate knowledge with real-life application. Our pursuit of excellence is imbued with a Midwestern sense of pragmatism.

We Buckeyes are energetic and proud of who we are, but our pride is not limited to history or sports. We bring vitality to everything we do.

Brand team

Meet the brand team

Unit marketing communicators

Your marketing communications office can answer questions about transition plans for visual identity within your area of the university. If you would like to add your unit's marketing communications contact to this list, email identity@osu.edu.

Extended color palette