Why is brand important?

A brand is much more than a logo. It’s the voice we use to tell our stories. It’s the experience our students, alumni, campus visitors, and others have with WSU. Our brand guidelines are the tools we can all use to look, speak, and act as one university.

Each of us has a role to play in strengthening WSU’s brand, no matter what position. You can help by incorporating these guidelines into the communications you create, the way you answer the phone, or the way you interact with a student or a visitor to campus. There is flexibility in the tools presented on this website to help you create a message tailored specifically for your target audience while simultaneously highlighting our institutional strengths.

Working together to consistently apply WSU’s brand standards will help ensure growing awareness, recognition, and support of the university and its mission.

What is the brand narrative and why do we need to pay attention to it?

The brand narrative is a tool used to share the verbal expression of the brand and to demonstrate the use of our new voice and tone. It helps to articulate the brand platform but isn’t meant to be used verbatim for communications. The narrative should be used as inspiration, while certain words and phrases will likely be used in communications.

What do the “tone” words have to do with branding?

The tone words bring our messaging to life through a consistent voice and tone. Just like we do with people, we develop personality traits for our brand to help our audiences have an emotional and rational connection with how they think and feel about WSU.

Should I use the brand narrative and tone words in press releases, news stories, and other informational communications?

Informational and special-purpose communications, such as media advisories and press releases, should be drafted in a style most likely to achieve the primary goal or purpose with the target audience. These types of communications aren’t required to always follow the brand narrative guidelines.

Is “Unlocking Possibilities” our new tagline?

No, the phrase is not a tagline. It is a succinct way to express the core concept of the WSU brand. The phrase itself should not be used in every piece, but the spirit of this idea should come to life in all our communications.

There are several variations of the main WSU logo. Which one should I use?

Use the one that works best in the space available in the particular type of communication you are creating. Both vertical and horizontal lockups of the logo are available, and color variations are provided as well to ensure applications of the core logo have the same visual fidelity anywhere someone encounters the WSU logo.

How do I use the logo and signature?

The logo may be used on its own or in combination with the authorized signature. It should not be placed in configuration with any other words, symbols, or other elements in a manner that appears to be an alternate logo configuration. Please see additional specifics in the logos section of the brand guidelines.

Where can I get a copy of the WSU logo?

Downloadable files are available on the downloads page of this website.

Can I create my own logo?

No. It’s important that you or your vendors do not attempt to create a WSU logo yourselves. Logos will be made available for all WSU campuses and colleges. Design and Printing Services will be able to assist you in creating your unit’s unique logo.

My center uses a logo/artwork that is not part of the new visual identity system. Can I still use it?

The logo system is intended to visually tie WSU’s many areas together and, as such, we expect that you will use only the official WSU logo or approved unit logo moving forward.

Are there specific shades of WSU crimson and gray specified?

Yes, and the WSU crimson and gray must be rendered accurately. Please review the University colors page for specifics.

How do I get access to WSU’s new typefaces?

The typefaces are readily available to the University community. For specifics on how to obtain them, please see the typography section of this website.

My office has letterhead with the old WSU logo. Can we still use it?

Yes. We encourage you to use up your current supply of letterhead so as not to waste materials. When your inventory of letterhead is gone, simply order updated letterhead from Design and Printing Services.

I noticed a sign or banner with the old logo. Will those be changed?

WSU is taking a phased approach to updating major signage. New signs and posters should use the branding outlined on this website.

How can I order promotional items with the correct branding?

You can order promotional items by contacting Design and Printing Services or by working with one of the approved vendors listed on the Trademarks & Licensing website.

I am not a designer. Can someone help me with my project?

Please contact Design and Printing Services about your project ideas and requests.

Who do I direct questions to?

For general questions related to the WSU brand, please email brand@lists.wsu.edu.  For project-specific needs, please contact Design and Printing Services. For questions regarding apparel, please visit the Trademark and Licensing website.

What are the guidelines for using logos on a promotional item?

When determining which logo to use on a promotional item, it is best to ‘brand up’ as much as possible. Trademark Licensing can work with you to help determine which logo might work best for the specific item, but generally it is recommended to keep it as simple as possible.

Especially with embroidery, there will be times when the full name of a college, program or unit cannot be used in its entirety due to space constraints. Shortening names will be assessed in partnership with the branding team on a case-by-case basis.