Frequently Asked Questions

Identity

Q: What are the standards related to use of the University logo?

A: The Visual Identity section includes guidance on use of the Institutional Mark, which is the shield and signature (University of Pittsburgh). The seal is still an important part of the University identity; however, its use is reserved for official institutional documents, ceremonies, and commemorative plaques. Any exceptions to these criteria should be approved by the Office of University Communications.

 

Q: My unit has an existing logo. Can we continue to use it?

The University identity system offers on-brand solutions for all University entities. The shield and signature is a recognizable symbol of the University and consistent alignment strengthens its influence. One-off logos can contribute to confusion and dilution of the University's identity. Before you commit to using an existing logo, we recommend that you reach out to the Office of University Communications and ask to see the on-brand solution for your school, institute, department, etc. Simply submit a marketing project request form and a member of the University marketing team will connect with you.

 

Q: Will the Office of University Communications design a new logo for my program, initiative, or research study?

A: Most often, programs that are being communicated externally benefit from being identified with the University of Pittsburgh brand and identity rather than with one-off logos. These types of marks don’t build or reflect upon Pitt’s strength. Programs that are event-specific and of limited duration, for example, the Year of Creativity, may warrant creation of a logo. The Office of University Communications can provide guidance on a case-by-case basis. The Office of University Communications does not develop research study logos.

 

Q: I already have a logo. Will the Office of University Communications use it in my marketing materials?

The Office of University Communications does not commit to use pre-existing logos on newly generated materials. Older files that are being reprinted will be updated to include the new visual identity, as appropriate.

 

Q: Is “Script Pitt” still primarily for Athletics or can we use it for academic programs, too?

A: “Script Pitt” continues to be the spirit mark for the University and is approved for non-academic use. Additional guidance is available online and questions can be directed to the Office of University Communications.

 

Q: Do we have to use the bright blue and yellow?

A: The new branding includes multiple palettes with various color options and guidance on application. We do lean heavily on our primary colors, Pitt Royal and Pitt Gold. The legacy colors of Dark Blue, Medium Blue, and Dark Gold are more conservative and appropriate for formal communications. Neutral and accent colors have been identified as well.

 

Q: Can I add a University logo to my E-mail signature block?

A: Adding quotes or logos — or even the University mark — is discouraged. Our new branding system includes a template for E-mail signatures.

 

Q: We have a new University logo. Why do I need to wait to get the name of my school added to it? That would seem to be a pretty simple thing to do.

A: The Office of University Communications is developing suites of marks for schools, institutes, offices, departments, centers, and other University organizations. However, it will take time and your patience is appreciated. If you have an immediate need to add a logo to a piece with a firm near-term deadline, submit a marketing project request form and a member of the University marketing team will connect with you.

 

Branding

Q: We have serviceable materials with the old colors and University seal and signature. Do we need to throw them out or can we use them until they run out and then develop new print materials?

A: Your materials with former colors and logo are not wrong. We encourage you not to waste good materials. It is perfectly acceptable to use what you have before producing materials with new branding and identity.

 

Q: What tools and training will be provided to help us apply the new branding to print and web?

Office of University Communications marketing team members are available to answer questions about our new branding and identity. In addition, a series of Brand Briefings are scheduled for the fall term. Faculty and staff members are welcome to attend. For the longer term, we’re developing online training and testing a design templating system that will help to drive the brand organically.

 

Q: Our unit has an established look that is very different from the new brand. What advice do you have for us?

A: The brand is a master brand that will become more visible throughout campuses. There is flexibility for each unit to use distinct parts of the brand platform and retain some individuality. We’re happy to work with you on developing this. Understanding the research that was conducted to inform the new look and feel and seeing the consistent and repetitive use is helpful. The Office of University Communications will be conducting Brand Briefings during the fall term. Faculty and staff members are welcome to attend.

 

Q: How will you assess the effectiveness of the new branding? What metrics are in place?

A: The goals of launching the brand initiative were to raise awareness and strengthen the reputation of the University of Pittsburgh. Success will be reflected in improvements across rankings, enrollment, giving, faculty and staff recruitment, digital traffic, and a stronger platform for advocating on Pitt’s behalf. Our goal is to conduct more market studies and polling in the future.

 

Q: Should we use the tagline, “Forge Ahead “on our materials?

A: While our brand does not have an official tagline, “Forge Ahead” is an important hook that conveys the ethos of who we are as an institution. When used effectively, it can turn into a powerful call to action. Be careful, however, not to lead with this phrase in every instance. Read more about crafting messaging for your unit.

 

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