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


Testing has shown that the use of prestigious rankings and comparatives from notable sources improve the performance of marketing and promotional campaigns. Rankings suggested for use for ASU are reviewed monthly by the university rankings committee which consists of Academic Enterprise Communications, Enterprise Brand Strategy and Management, Enterprise Partners’ Outreach Hub, Office of the University Provost and EdPlus. All rankings are selected based on methodology, reputation of the authority providing the ranking and the meaning behind the ranking.


Using rankings in communications

Use the following guidelines when citing rankings: 

  • Use approved rankings sources
  • Include full ranking details: 
    • The ranking authority and year awarded should be cited when using a ranking.
    • Message testing has shown that ranking accolades that showcase ASU's high-level excellence when compared to other universities are more meaningful and perform better than the rankings alone. When using approved rankings in your paid advertising and promotions, you should include the three comparable schools, wherever space allows, as follows:  
      • ASU ranks No. 1 for best graduate homeland security programs by U.S. News & World Report, 2023, ahead of Columbia, Harvard and University of Texas.
      • Comparables are approved by the Office of the University Provost and can be found in the University Rankings and Accolades spreadsheet
    • See how to abbreviate ranking authority and comparables in digital channels where space and character counts are limited. 
  • Use “No.” instead of “#” (per AP style) in text
    • Exceptions can be made for channels with limited space or character counts. See below
  • Use either ASU or the specific school or college as the subject in a ranking. 
    • For example, for “No. 2 for best undergraduate supply chain management/logistics programs” you can use “ASU is ranked ... ” or “W. P. Carey School of Business is ranked … ” because the program is offered through the W. P. Carey School of Business.   
  • Use the approved verbiage as the wording must align with how the ranking is presented by the ranking authority. 
    • For example, “No. 6 for best online bachelor’s programs,” is the correct verbiage, whereas “No. 6 best online university” is incorrect. 
  • Cite the ranking authority. Include the year awarded or a badge where one is available. The ranking badge used should directly correlate with the ranking accolade being referenced. Do not use a badge in connection with a ranking that has not been awarded. Always include the most current ranking, noting that if the ranking authority has not published a new one then the last ranking is still valid. 
    • For example, use “... by U.S. News & World Report, 2022.” Rankings more than two years old should be reviewed and approved by the rankings committee for continued use.
  • Use “top 5,” “top 10” or “top 20” if your ranking is closest to the “top” number.
    • For example, if the ranking is #19 you can use “ASU ranks in the top 20 nationally … ”
  • Use rankings based on all universities, both public and private.
    • If you prefer to use the ranking for only public universities, you will need to have this approved by the rankings committee. Research has shown that using “public” to highlight a higher ranking does not always result in greater affinity for the brand.
  • Retire older, out-of-date rankings.
    • If the ranking authority has not reassessed a ranking in at least two years, it is highly recommended that it be retired or reevaluated. If you would like the ranking to be reevaluated, you may reach out to the rankings committee.

Examples of properly written rankings for communications:

  • ASU ranks No. 1 for best graduate homeland security programs by U.S. News & World Report, 2023, ahead of Columbia, Harvard and University of Texas.
  • Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions ranks No. 1 for best graduate homeland security programs by U.S. News & World Report, 2023, ahead of Columbia, Harvard and University of Texas. 

Examples of properly written rankings for communications in the form of a lockup:

1 in innovation

Ranking example 1

Ranking example 3

Abbreviated rankings for channels with limited space or character counts:


Accolades and proof points can be abbreviated for use in channels where characters are limited by ad specs, such as social media and web ads. Here are some examples of approved abbreviations with associated character counts in parenthesis:

  • ASU is ranked #1 in innovation ahead of MIT and Stanford for 8 consecutive years (80).
  • ASU is ranked #1 in innovation ahead of MIT and Stanford (56).
  • ASU is ranked #1 in innovation for 8 consecutive years (54).
  • Leading the country in innovation (33)
  • ASU is ranked #1 in innovation (30)
  • #1 university for innovation (28)
  • Ranked #1 in innovation (23)
  • #1 in innovation (16)

When abbreviating comparable institution names, use the abbreviations approved by the Office of the University Provost.  

For digital assets in positions with limited space, where it is not possible to display the ranking authority within the creative materials, the URL to which the asset is linked must take the viewer to a page that clearly displays the full ranking details.

Ranking lockups

1 in innovation

No. 1 in innovation lockups can be downloaded from Canto, our digital asset management system.

Download ranking lockups



Approved rankings sources

National and International rankings that we recognize:

  • U.S. News & World Report
    • U.S. News & World Report rankings are announced three times during the academic year: 
      • September — university and undergraduate rankings
      • January — online college rankings, including online bachelor's degree, graduate program rankings and veteran/military rankings
      • March — graduate program rankings
    • All current U.S. News & World Report rankings for ASU schools, colleges and programs can be found in the University Rankings and Accolades spreadsheet. Each row provides useful information including the ranking title and year, approved verbiage, comparable universities, the date the ranking was issued, the date it expires and a link to cite the source.
  • QS World University Rankings
  • ShanghaiRanking
  • Times Higher Education
  • Wall Street Journal
  • Washington Monthly

These are the approved ranking authorities for use in communications and advertising. 

Other ranking sources are individually vetted by the ASU rankings committee. Find all current rankings approved for use on the ASU rankings page.

Request to use a ranking from a nonapproved source:

To request use of a ranking that is neither listed as approved on the university rankings and accolades sheet nor listed on ASU’s ranking webpage, please submit a request to the rankings committee for review.