Branding Standards Guide

Branding Overview

Frequently Asked Questions about the CSU Brand

1. Why is it important to follow the CSU branding standards guidelines?
The guidelines, applied correctly and consistently, enable the CSU to project a strong, coherent identity and help to prevent confusion among our audiences. Proper use of the CSU’s official signatures (wordmark, graphic signatures, seal and emblem) is an important part of the branding process, enhancing the CSU's image as a high–quality educational institution.

2. Do we have a new logo or icon to represent the CSU?
Instead of a logo or icon, a "wordmark" or logotype with the initial letters "CSU" in a rectangular box with the name “The California State University” has been designed to be used as the official mark representing the CSU. An example of the wordmark is at the top left-hand corner of this page.

3. What color is the CSU wordmark?
The official CSU wordmark colors are Pantone Matching System (PMS) 186 Red and PMS Warm Gray 11. The wordmark can also be reproduced in black or reversed out of black or other dark colors. The Chancellor's Office Communications Department can provide the correct wordmark for your use.

4. I'm in a hurry. Why can't I just recreate the wordmark?
Recreating the wordmark will not reproduce the wordmark accurately. The wordmark is created from characters designed specifically for the CSU, and the characters have specific spatial relationships and alignment. Selecting a similar font and colors will invariably produce differences that will detract from the design.

5. How has the CSU seal changed?
The CSU seal has been revised to make the CSU's historic founding date of 1857 more readable by using Arabic numerals and moving them to the outer circle of the seal. In addition, the seal’s original artwork has been restored, and enhancements have been made to the typography.

6. When can I use the CSU seal?
The seal is used primarily as a signal of authentication and should only be used on official CSU documents, such as diplomas, transcripts, certificates, contracts, formal stationery and invitations. The CSU wordmark should be used predominantly for all general promotion uses, such as marketing publications, CSU merchandise and annual reports. In order to maintain its integrity and effectiveness, the CSU seal should not be used for informal or routine materials.

7. May I still use the old logo or seal?
No. The new branding system replaces the old CSU seal and CSU wordmark. Those graphics are obsolete and may no longer be used, except in an historical context.

8. Where can I obtain an electronic version of the CSU wordmark or seal?
Please contact the Chancellor's Office Communications Department and let them know how the wordmark or seal is to be used. The appropriate electronic file can be downloaded from the resources area. Do not scan the CSU wordmark or seal from old documents or Web pages. It will result in poor quality reproduction.