General Brand Guide Questions

What is the Brand Guide? How was it developed?

The Brand Guide supports the U of G community in presenting our brand in a consistent, attractive and professional way. The Brand Guide was developed by a core group of communications professionals from various U of G units, with input from the broader campus community and in consultation with an award-winning external communications firm. The updated Brand Guide helps us tell U of G’s Improve Life story; audiences know who we are, what we do, and why.

Who needs to follow the Brand Guide?

All members of the University community, including faculty, staff and students, must follow the Brand Guide. It also applies to external vendors, who must obtain permission to use U of G logos and follow the guidelines.

As an academic institution, why should we care about branding?

Branding is an integral part of a university’s reputation. Improve Life helps people understand our goals as an institution and what they can expect from us. It showcases our uniqueness and purpose, and inspires. Reinforcing a powerful and consistent brand helps with student recruitment, fundraising and building external relationships.

We have been working hard to brand our unit. What is wrong with having multiple strong brands within the University community?

The University of Guelph is one institution, with one common goal: to Improve Life. Although there are various sub-brands within the University, U of G is the most recognizable brand overall. Building a strong and well-known brand takes time and extensive resources. By combining efforts, we will enhance the U of G brand collectively, and, in turn, enhance the reputation of all of the University’s units.

Logos, Lock-ups and Labels

Why were the Cornerstone and University tagline changed?

The Strategic Framework process revealed that we need to do a better job telling the University’s story. One way to do that is by sharpening the focus of our message. The updated Improve Life tagline is a call to action. It’s easy to remember, powerful and speaks to everyone who works, studies and learns at U of G. No matter what you do at the University, Improve Life defines why we are all here.

The elongated Cornerstone and “Changing Lives, Improving Life” tagline was introduced in 2005. The U of G brand is strong and distinctive, so it made sense to build upon it.

When should I start using the new logo? Do I need to stop using my stationery, brochures and other communication materials that include the old logo?

The next academic year will be a period of transition. All communications, including print materials, should incorporate the refreshed brand by September 2018. You need not discard existing communication products, but be sure to update the brand when you reorder or update content.

When do I use the U of G Cornerstone and when do I use the Identifier?

The Cornerstone (a black square containing the University of Guelph Identifier) with the Improve Life tagline is the preferred logo for use on all external communications. The Identifier (logotype of the words University of Guelph) may be used in instances where the space provided is too small for the Cornerstone or the Cornerstone would be unsuitable. Read our logo usage guidelines.

Is it okay to use the University Crest or Seal instead of the logo?


  • The Crest is a ceremonial mark reserved for high-profile events such as convocation, citations and degrees, as well as specific materials from the Office of the President. Questions concerning the use of the Crest should be directedthe Brand Team.
  • Use of the University’s Common Seal is limited to authorized employees or officers such as the University secretary. Direct all questions concerning use of the Seal to the University Secretariat.

Our unit has a logo, may I continue using it?

In order to present a unified, consistent face to the world, all U of G sub-brands (any brand associated with or operating under the University of Guelph parent-brand) should use a sub-brand lock-up instead of an individual logo. This includes colleges, departments and schools, institutes and centres, campuses, initiatives and networks, and internal and external services.

How do I create a sub-brand Lock-up for my unit?

A member of the U of G Brand Guide team will develop a customized Lock-up for your unit. Please contact the Brand Team to get started.

When do I use a “Label” vs. a “Lock-up” ?

  • The Label (a red bar with the unit’s name in white) is the primary identifying graphic device for units on external communications, where format and space allow. Labels are best suited for advertisements, brochure covers, posters and banners. Read our label usage guidelines.
  • Lock-ups are used in applications where a Label is not appropriate. For example, in documents without bleed (prints to the very edge of the paper) such as letterhead, or where the layout is not suitable.

What logos should I use for my social media account avatars and profile images?

Best practices and guidelines for U of G social accounts will be released in Summer 2017. If you have questions in the meantime, please contact

I am hosting an event and want to create a logo. What do I do?

Do not create special logos for events hosted by the University. The University of Guelph is the parent brand so its logo must be used on event materials. A visual “brand” for your event can be created through the consistent use of imagery, fonts and design elements.

My website uses the old Cornerstone, how do I update it?

Please fill out the Web Update Request Form and a member of our web team will be happy to assist you.

Additional Help

How do I access the fonts listed in the Brand Guide?

Employees of the University of Guelph who need a copy of the University’s font suites Helvetica Neue or Bembo (for exclusive use on University of Guelph communication materials) should contact the Brand Team.

I don’t have images that match the imagery guidelines listed in the guide. What are my options?

Photos available for use by University of Guelph staff, students and faculty are located on:

Need further help sourcing images? Please contact the Brand Team.

Are there templates available?

A listing of available templates may be found on our Print and Digital Templates page. We are developing additional templates and examples for reference, which will be added. If you don’t see a template you need, please contact the Brand Team.

I need to design communications materials and don’t know where to start. Who should I contact for more information?

Start by connecting with the communications contact for your college or unit. If your unit does not have a communications contact, please contact the Brand Team.

How do I make my communications AODA compliant?

All people communicating on behalf of the University of Guelph must produce communications materials that comply with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).

Do I need to have my external communications approved by someone?

Yes, in most cases. The Director of Marketing & Digital Engagement, Communications & Public Affairs, must approve all external communications intended for broad audiences. Communication pieces such as advertisements, videos and banners must be approved before being finalized. Please contact the Brand Team early in your development process.