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Elements of the ASU brand

Fonts and typography

We are bold and bright, in headlines, quotes and other text elements. ASU says and does bold, clear things in the world and our fonts behave in the same way.

Primary print font: Akzidenz Grotesk Standard

Type

Akzidenz Grotesk Standard is the primary typeface for ASU-branded marketing and communications. We do not recommend any secondary fonts. Akzidenz Grotesk is a classic sans-serif typeface designed in 1896. It was the first sans-serif to be widely used and influenced many later typefaces. It is for these reasons that this font was selected, as it was the originator from which many were inspired. It conveys strength, clarity, originality, influence and authority.

How to use the font in your materials

  • Bold is the primary font weight to create recognizable ASU materials and is recommended for all titles, headlines and other large type uses.
  • Regular and Light: recommended for use in body text.
  • Medium: recommended for use where variation is needed in smaller supporting text.
  • Regular Italic and Medium Italic: recommended for use only in limited scenarios as needed in paragraphs of text to note titles of works or other text where the italic is used to add meaning or aid understanding. Not intended for use in headlines or large type.
  • Condensed: recommended for use only in limited scenarios where space and clarity necessitate use, as in the labelling of numbers in infographics and charts. Not intended for use in headlines or large type.

Super, Heavy and Extended: Although they are currently licensed for some media, Akzidenz Grotesk Std Super, Heavy and Extended have been retired from brand use and are no longer approved.

Usage rights and limitations for specific weights of the font in specific media

Please review the specific usage rights and limitations for Akzidenz Grotesk Standard based on the licensing for ASU in this PDF.

Detailed licensing for commercials and digital signage is included.


Request access to Akzidenz Grotesk

PDF images

System font for everyday use: Arial

When working in Microsoft Office, Google documents, email and routine communications, please use Arial. This font does not require additional licenses and is considered a system font that is loaded on a variety of systems. By using this font, you can be assured that it will render accurately with exchanging documents with colleagues, students and other stakeholders.

BrandGuide-Image-Arial

Webfont for asu.edu: Arial

The chosen webfont for ASU websites is Arial. When developing websites, use Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif as your font stack.

Athletics: Sun Devil Bold

Sun Devil Bold is for use only in Sun Devil Athletics materials. Please see Athletics brand guidelines here.


Typesetting tips

How to work with headlines

Font sizes

Although there are no specific requirements for the sizing of fonts used in headlines or mastheads, use judgment when considering what size font to use. Remember, being big and bold represents the attributes of the brand.

Capitalization

All expressions of headlines should be in title or sentence case. For more on capitalization rules, please see the Writing style guide here.

All caps

Using all caps is not part of ASU's core brand execution. In particular, all caps should not be used in full sentences, titles or headlines. In very limited cases, they may be used to differentiate between smaller headline treatments in documents with complex structures. They should indicate meaning or clarify direction, not act as a style move. More on capitalization in the writing guide here.

 

Alignment

Left-aligned body type in headlines and paragraphs is the easiest for readers, but is not mandated. Copy alignment that is significantly different from left aligned (centered, justified, right aligned) can distract the reader from the content of a project. Left alignment is suggested based on readability studies in user-centered design. Alignment is a variable that will be determined by your project requirements.

Font color in headlines

In most instances, black on white background or white on dark colors or photos should be used as the primary color choices for headlines. ASU Gold and ASU Maroon are the only other colors that should be used in headlines. These colors are considered part of the primary color palette and their usage should be strictly adhered to.

 

What not to do with headline formatting

The following items are examples of things we do NOT do with our brand fonts.

 

Never scale type horizontally or vertically.
Never scale type horizontally or vertically.
Never apply a stroke or rule to type.
Never apply a stroke or rule to type.
Never use a strong drop shadow.
Never use a strong drop shadow.
Never stylize type in any manner including glowing colors.
Never stylize type in any manner including glowing colors.
Never stylize type in any manner with filled textures or styles.
Never stylize type in any manner with filled textures or styles.

Body copy

ASU is first and foremost an educational institution. We are expected to use proper grammar, punctuation, letter case sizing and other standard rules of the English language. Emphasized body copy (bold, a different color, etc.) will retain all body-copy style, even though it has a different graphic treatment from surrounding body copy.

Bold and regular weights are used together in this highlighted paragraph from the Year in review.
Bold and regular weights are used together in this highlighted paragraph from the Year in review.
Akzidenz Grotesk Regular or Light are the preferred font weight choices for body copy.
Akzidenz Grotesk Regular or Light are the preferred font weight choices for body copy.
Bold and light weights used together in a by-the-numbers item in the Year in review.
Bold and light weights used together in a by-the-numbers item in the Year in review.

Font size for body copy

Font sizing from 8–14 pts. is acceptable. 8.75pt type on 12pt leading is a great place to start for easily readable body copy. Consider your intended audience when determining the appropriate size to use. Large font size (12–14 pts.) is more appropriate for older audiences. Smaller font size (8–10 pts.) is more appropriate for younger audiences. Consideration of your audience will aid the effectiveness of your project.

kerning
Tracking and kerning
Tracking refers to the total spacing of a block of copy. Kerning refers to the space between individual letterforms. Overall, tight tracking for headlines is recommended as part of our brand and is intended to be tight to help convey strength. However, attention to spacing between letterforms needs to be taken into consideration. The rule of thumb for the spacing of letterforms should be tight but not touching.
The optical settings now available in all Adobe Creative Cloud software are recommended for use in headlines.
drop shadow
Drop shadows
Drop shadows are NOT preferred as part of the brand expression. However, in some instances where legibility is an issue, a very subtle shadow or outer glow effect can be used, depending on the background. Examples of this can be a photograph containing uneven color values or textures.

Leading

Leading is the space between lines of text and is measured from baseline to baseline of each sentence. This is a variable that will largely depend on your project requirements. 

A general rule is that the leading should be between 2–3pt above the font size. For example, 10pt Akzidenz Grotesk Regular type is most readable with 12, 13, or 15pts leading. 

For reference to readable leading examples, refer to the usage examples in the Lookbooks page or contact the ASU Hub Marketing design team.

Column width

In Western language typesetting, the guiding principle for maximum readability is a line of type that is less than two alphabets long. Keeping our column width in print publications to fewer than 52 characters makes for easy reading for our audiences.

Narrower columns are recommended to help audiences read text quickly and begin acting on the messaging. When setting wide columns, a few points of additional leading makes the long line easy to read. Column widths on the web are variable using responsive design standards and are guided by Web Standards.

Things to consider

  • The looser the leading, the harder the copy can be to read. The same holds true for tight leading. 
  • Tighter leading has the unintended consequence of adding tension to a large body of copy. 
  • Is the body copy intended to be more decorative? Loose leading is less of a consideration. 
  • Is the copy intended to be more instructional? Optimum legibility is then a consideration.