ASU Brand Guide - Elements of the Brand
Elements of the ASU brand

Core design principles

ASU is a branded house with one brand versus a house of brands or a collection of brands.

ASU’s creative tools are part of our “branded house,” within which all elements are based on and related to the cornerstone of the core brand. This cohesive approach creates a consistent presence in the marketplace. 

We have simple clear systems for audiences to easily understand, reducing visual noise and creating harmony among designed pieces from many departments. Our design moves carry meaning, reinforcing overall messages of excellence.

While we may design items in different departments, our audiences often experience our materials all together —  in their mailboxes, in their inboxes, in tours on campus and more. When the creative decisions of different departments veer from the brand guidelines, it creates extra noise in the experience for the user, undermining the goals of engagement.

Core Design Principles


Icons are symbols that help users see different groupings of items or help navigate different types of information. ASU uses FontAwesome as its primary icon set — any style (solid, regular, light) can be used. Both FontAwesome Free and FontAwesome Pro may be used; however, units will need to purchase individual licenses for FontAwesome Pro. The standards for (and the UDS UI kit) include FontAwesome (free) regular icons.

In collaboration with staff from many units, ASU student designers have helped develop a new brand typeface that adds ASU-specific icons, or dingbats, to the brand palette, supporting all communicators in digital and print materials.

Learn more about the new brand typeface, ASU Awesome.

Core principles in our brand designs

We are bold and bright, in headlines, colors and use of photography. ASU says and does bold things in the world and our design materials should behave in the same way. There are some instances where a more reserved version is appropriate, like graduation, but on the whole we are bold.

ASU Brand Guide Core Design Bold And Bright graphic

We use gold and our other core brand colors to stand out in the noisy college and enterprise arenas. When our materials are seen in the state of Arizona, gold is the primary differentiator that sets ASU apart from the other universities. When comparing ASU to other enterprises nationally, gold reinforces the brightness and boldness of what we are doing. The subtle wink that we have lots of sunshine also sets us apart.

ASU Brand Guide Core Design Use of Gold graphic

We employ strong contrast in color, size and the relationships of type and images. This contrast reinforces our boldness and makes for easier reading in a fast and noisy world. When a stack of ASU materials are on the table in the home of a prospective student on top of material from other universities, it will stand out.

ASU Brand Guide Core Design Strong Contrast graphic

We use size hierarchy in type and photos reinforcing boldness and easy reading. For example, when designing a poster or rack card, one piece of type can be very large for fast reading from far away; a handful of elements may be medium-sized for more detailed reading; and body text can be smaller for reading up close. This hierarchy reinforces the voice of the university and also allows for fast skimming.

Grids can be an enormously helpful tool in building text hierarchy into your designs while still keeping things orderly and harmonious.

ASU Brand Guide Core Design Hierarchy graphic

Text highlights with blocks of color behind key words help apply further emphasis reinforcing the boldness and hierarchy of the design.

Always use an ASU logo, maroon and gold in most instances. We are at our best when we tie every piece of communication we make back to the powerhouse organization that made it possible by including either the ASU university logo or the ASU unit logo that includes the name of the university. 

Part of the way that we all increase the recognition of the enterprise is by always including the name to build on its strength and lift ASU up in the eyes of audiences. We do not cut off the name of the university in unit logos.

ASU Brand Guide Core Design Brand in Action graphic


See the brand at work

There are different ways of using the design tools of type, color, icons, photos and graphics. The diversity of creative deliveries makes the brand strong when all core elements are aligned.

See examples of the brand in action.