The official graphic signature (logo) of the University consists of two elements:
The stylized words Washington State University set in the University’s official ITC Stone Serif typeface.
The letters W, S, and U arranged to form a cougar head, framed by a shield accented by a chevron.
Three variations of the signature (stacked, horizontal, single column) are available to maximize the ease and flexibility of applying it to various communications.
The logotype and mark are designed to be used as a single unit, as shown, for most communications. However, under certain conditions, the shield mark may be applied without the logotype.
The signature serves to identify the University in all forms of communications. The Cougar head embodies the tradition and spirit of Washington State University. The shield symbolizes academic excellence and higher education. Together, the elements represent the academic strengths, dignity, and reputation of the University as well as the Cougar spirit and the loyalty of its students, alumni, faculty, and staff.
Originally designed in 1936 by Randall Johnson, a 1937 WSU alumnus, the Cougar head is a widely recognized graphic symbol of Washington State University. Johnson modified the symbol in 1959 to reflect the change in the University's name from Washington State College to Washington State University.
The standard WSU signature is comprised of a white Cougar Head, a crimson (PMS 201 or CMYK/Hex equivalent) shield, and a gray (PMS 431 or CMYK/Hex equivalent) logotype and chevron.
The application specific variants of the signature may reproduce the components of the signature only in crimson, gray, black, or white.
Additional exceptions may be appropriate upon approval from University Communications.
Light background: Use the standard crimson and gray signature.
Dark background: Use the standard crimson and gray signature, or reverse out all of the components to white, or reproduce a crimson shield with white chevron and logotype.
Light background: Reproduce all components in either solid crimson, gray, or black. If printing in black, a black shield with a 60% screened logotype and chevron is allowed.
Dark background: Reverse out all of the components to white. A reversed (white) shield out of solid black with a 60% screened logotype and chevron is also allowed.
Crimson and black: Reproduce the shield in crimson (PMS 201 or the CMYK/Hex equivalent) and the logotype and chevron in 60% black.
Crimson and gray: Reproduce the shield in crimson (PMS 201) and the logotype and chevron in gray (PMS 431).
The signature must be surrounded by the specified clear space to separate it distinctly from any other graphic elements, preserving its integrity and impact.
Clear space is equal to the height of a small caps letter from the signature. The clear space varies with the size of the signature.
Academic departments, centers, institutes, and other units whose roles and activities are critical to the overall mission and success of the University are required to use the WSU signature system that emphasizes their unit name or college affiliation as their primary graphic representation.
Secondary graphic marks or graphic marks created to use as a substitute for the University’s identity system are almost never allowed. Exceptions may be allowed if a unit meets certain criteria:
- The unit’s basic role is not linked to Washington State University’s mission; AND/OR
- The unit must operate in a retail environment and have a storefront; AND/OR
- The unit has multiple funding sources and operates as part of a consortium.
Example of an approved secondary mark
event-specific secondary marks
Secondary marks also may be created to promote a specific event, such as an annual lecture or a special anniversary. Secondary marks must be used in conjunction with the WSU signature system.