Visual Language Guideline

See below for the transcript of this video.

Purdue University has an incredible story to tell. One story. Of one Purdue.

And now, it’s time to tell it purposefully, persistently and proudly. Together.

Over the past six months, we’ve studied the Purdue brand by talking to lots of people, and getting a variety of viewpoints and perspectives.

This is the next chapter. This is the next level. This is the next giant leap.

The next giant leap starts with a deeper understanding of who we are, what we stand for and why Purdue matters.

The next giant leap starts with a bold new voice, so the world will hear what we have to say.

The next giant leap starts with a unifying color palette, so that all of Purdue feels like all of Purdue.

The next giant leap starts with evocative imagery, to show the real human faces at the center of our work.

The next giant leap starts with innovative visuals, to give our stories a jolt of energy and a fresh new look.

The next giant leap starts with one powerful symbol. One instantly recognizable, enduring icon of all that we do.

And it starts right now. Right here. With the work we do every day.

Welcome to the next giant leap.

Our visual language sets the tone for how people initially see Purdue, and how they recognize us moving forward. It consists of typography, photography, graphic elements and color. More significantly, it’s the culmination of how all these pieces work together to convey and strengthen our overall brand message.

Colors

Beyond our logo, color is one of the most recognizable aspects of our brand identity. Using color appropriately is one of the easiest ways to make sure our materials reflect a cohesive Purdue University brand.

Color Palette

At our core we are Gold and Black. With that understanding, we express that in all its forms by expanding the flexibility of these two colors.

Our new color palette is about unifying the colors of the brand under the philosophy of what it means to be Purdue University.

boiler-gold
black
Primary
Supporting
TIP

When using color builds, always use the color values listed on the following pages. They have been adjusted for the best reproduction on screen and in print, and may not match Pantone® Color Bridge breakdowns. In general, the color code sources originated from official Pantone® Color Bridge coated and uncoated swatchbooks.

Primary Palette

Our primary palette consists of Boilermaker Gold and Smokestack Black. Our layouts lean heavily on these colors, mixing in the supporting palette to build color schemes that are complementary and balanced.

Rich Black

To achieve a darker black in large areas or on large typographic elements, use a CMYK formula that includes a percentage of the other process color pigments. Contact your preferred printer and ask if they have a go-to formula for achieving a richer black value, instead of printing only 100% black.

White Space

White is an indispensable color. Rather than viewing white space as a blank area, see it as a break. Don’t rush to fill it: It can focus attention on what is there, rather than drawing attention to what isn’t. Always balance color, typography and graphic elements with white space.

Coated Paper

Pantone 7502 C

When printing on most coated stocks (matte-, dull-, silk-finishes), on specially treated uncoated paper, or on UV presses, use the Pantone spot color or the CMYK formulas specified below.

Boilermaker Gold C

cmyk 13 20 45 3
rgb 207 185 145
hex CFB991

Smokestack Black

cmyk 0 0 0 100
rgb 00 00 00
hex 000000

White

cmyk 00 00 00 00
rgb 255 255 255
hex FFFFFF

Pantone 7502 C

Boilermaker Gold C

cmyk

rgb

hex

13 20 45 3

207 185 145

CFB991


Black

cmyk

rgb

hex

0 0 0 100

00 00 00

000000


White

cmyk

rgb

hex

00 00 00 00

255 255 255

FFFFFF

Uncoated Paper

Pantone 7502 U

When printing on most uncoated stocks, we adjust the spot color and CMYK formula of the color palette to achieve the best results. Use the specified formula below.

Boilermaker Gold U

cmyk 13 22 50 5

Pantone 7502 U

Boilermaker Gold U

cmyk

13 22 50 5

Gold-Supporting Palette

The expanded range of gold-inspired colors offers a variety of tones and brightnesses for layouts. Bold and energetic options can be contrasted with subtle or sophisticated approaches to controlling the tone and desired impression of communications.

Pantone 7562 C

Aged

cmyk

rgb

hex

14 29 62 12

142 111 62

8E6F3E

Pantone 7562 U

cmyk

14 28 57 10

Pantone 110 C

Rush

cmyk

rgb

hex

0 20 100 8

218 170 0

DAAA00

Pantone 110 U

cmyk

1 21 100 10

Pantone 4017 C

Field

cmyk

rgb

hex

5 18 81 4

221 185 69

DDB945

Pantone 4017 U

cmyk

3 20 81 4

Pantone 7402 C

Dust

cmyk

rgb

hex

3 8 43 0

235 217 159

EBD99F

Pantone 7402 U

cmyk

0 8 45 0

Black-Supporting Palette

The range of tones inspired by black are the hardest-working colors of the brand. They provide the support and flexibility behind the gold options, making them legible and vibrant. Without these neutral options, the other colors would be harder to use — making them indispensable to the practicality of the brand.

Pantone 425 C

Steel

cmyk

rgb

hex

63 51 45 33

85 89 96

555960

Pantone 425 U

cmyk

46 35 32 28

Pantone Cool Gray 9 C

Cool Gray

cmyk

rgb

hex

50 40 34 17

111 114 123

6F727B

Pantone Cool Gray 9 U

cmyk

41 31 26 18

Pantone 402 C

Railway Gray

cmyk

rgb

hex

34 30 33 8

157 151 149

9D9795

Pantone 402 U

cmyk

29 26 30 11

Pantone 400 C

Steam

cmyk

rgb

hex

20 17 19 0

196 191 192

C4BFC0

Pantone 400 U

cmyk

17 16 20 1

Digital Color Palette

Like printed colors, screen-based colors should be consistent across multiple pages and sites, and a limited color palette is well-suited for digital applications.

All communications should follow the brand color palette outlined here. These hexadecimal values have been optimized for accessibility on light or dark backgrounds.

Color Consistency

Hexadecimal values are derived from the Pantone® Color Bridge system to ensure that colors are consistent from their original color selection, to print, and to screen. 

*Adjusted for AA Normal Text Compliance (tested on webaim.org color contrast checker). These colors do not use the formulas recommended by Pantone Color Bridge.

AA Compliance Color Formulas for Screen Applications

Adequate contrast in text and visual media can assist people with visual impairments navigate content.

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) provide an international set of guidelines developed by the Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C), the governing body of the web. 

AA Level compliancy is an important aim of contrast for background and foreground display of text and images. The goal of these accommodations is to help ensure online content is equally accessible and user-friendly to all users.

Passes AA on Light Backgrounds

These colors are more useful on white backgrounds.

Aged*

rgb

hex

142 111 62

8E6F3E

Black

rgb

hex

00 00 00

000000

Steel

rgb

hex

85 89 96

555960

Cool Gray*

rgb

hex

111 114 123

6F727B

Passes AA on Dark Backgrounds

Most of these colors should be used on dark backgrounds.

Boilermaker Gold

rgb

hex

207 185 145

CFB991

Rush

rgb

hex

218 170 0

DAAA00

Field

rgb

hex

221 185 69

DDB945

Dust

rgb

hex

235 217 159

EBD99F

Railway Gray

rgb

hex

157 151 149

9D9795

Steam

rgb

hex

196 191 192

C4BFC0

For a complete breakdown of proper color contrast to meet Level AA compliance, download the Digital Brand Colors chart below.

Digital Brand Colors Level AA contrast compliance chart

Color Spectrum

Using color is an easy way to evoke energy and emotion within our communications. These spectrums can be a helpful guide for using color to convey a mood in a communication piece, based on four basic interpretations.

The use of all the colors is not required but illustrates proportional adjustments throughout a designed piece.

TIP

There is no mathematical formula to determine where colors are plotted on this chart. Interpretations of colors are highly subjective. Use these connotations as an introductory guide and customize based on your audience, intent or medium.

Fonts

When it’s used thoughtfully, typography becomes a powerful brand tool that can add visual meaning to what we say. Purdue’s typography communicates clearly and cleanly, with enough flexibility for a wide range of situations.

Font Families

Typography is a robust vehicle for our brand voice. It contributes to how our messages are read and communicated. Acumin Pro is our sans-serif family and a workhorse for our communications. United Sans adds a rigid and collegiate accent. Source Serif Pro, our serif family, performs well at small sizes, in longer-form text and in more sophisticated applications. Used together, these three typefaces create a clear hierarchy and keep our content legible and engaging.

Acumin Pro

Acumin Pro is a sans-serif font that works well for large, expressive headlines, subheads, callouts and even body copy. The typeface has a modern but friendly appeal and is the workhorse of the brand with its many weights and widths.

Acumin Pro SemiCondensed

Acumin Pro SemiCondensed offers a subtle change in width that adds flexibility to content.

Acumin Pro Condensed

Acumin Pro Condensed provides contrast and even more flexibility for controlling dense copy in limited layout spaces. 

Acumin Pro ExtraCondensed

Acumin Pro ExtraCondensed is primarily used in all-caps headlines and subheads.

United Sans

United Sans is a display font, appropriate for brief callouts, factoids and numerals, and adding special emphasis. Its appeal comes from its rigid, engineered structure and extreme character. 

Source Serif Pro

Source Serif Pro is our supporting serif typeface. Its sophisticated tone and high legibility make it extremely versatile. Because it’s easy to read at a variety of weights, it works great for sophisticated headlines, subheads and body copy. It creates a textural contrast to Acumin Pro and United Sans.

Alternate System Fonts

Our brand typefaces may not always be available to everyone for use in Word documents, PowerPoint presentations and other digital applications.

In these situations, use the alternate fonts listed here, which are freely available on all computers. 

TIP

Please note that our approved brand typefaces don’t include the full range of weights from these font families. Although they are available, our brand does not and should not use any font weights other than those listed here.

TIPS — Leading

Using type thoughtfully is crucial to making our designs look professional. Follow these tips to make sure our typography is consistent. 

Line spacing, called leading, is critical to setting professional-looking type that’s easy to read. Leading should be set tight, but not too tight. With our typefaces, text generally looks best with the leading set slightly looser than the default. 

TIP

Start with leading that’s two points higher than the point size of the text. This won’t always be right, but leading can be adjusted most easily from there. Smaller blocks of text may need settings that are slightly more open. 

TIPS — Tracking 

Correct letter spacing, called tracking, also makes the type easier to read. Outside of headlines, text should always be tracked slightly tighter than the default setting, and optical kerning should be used when it’s available. 

When working with type, always take the time to make these adjustments. These details make us look professional and greatly improve the readability of our type. 

TIP

Trust your eye. The tracking that works for one typeface may not work for another. The size and weight of the text can also influence how much tracking is necessary. Smaller sizes and heavier weights may need a higher setting. 

Using Typography

The following pages illustrate suggested type combinations that work well together and where they fall on the same framework we used for color expression. The traits on the chart serve as a guide.

TIP

Specifications for headline and subhead examples on this page may change depending on the format of the piece. The measurements shown are encouraged but could be scaled-up accordingly. 

Graphic Elements

Our graphic elements are inspired by what’s next. Structured and expressive, these visual components move us to the next step of our discovery. In this way, they reflect the work we are doing at Purdue University.

Compositional Grid

Think of grids as the foundation for our design structures. They anchor all the elements on each individual page and give our diverse range of communication pieces a common backbone. 

The grid system provides you with tools to create infinite combinations of text and images. We use it to create layouts that are aligned and balanced, ensuring that all our communication pieces look refined and professional. 

Column Options 

There are four standard column grids to choose from: 2-column, 3-column, 4-column and 6-column. The content and layout of each piece will decide which grid works best in a given situation. 

image of four standard column grids example

In Practice 

image of examples
TIP

Not everything will fit perfectly in the grid; that’s OK. Grids are meant to serve as the foundation on which to build our designs, and they allow for some flexibility. 

Vertical Rules

Our type and images make up most of our visual hierarchy, but to anchor them to the compositional grid and create balance and unity among additional compositional elements, vertical strokes can be used in three different manners to create dynamic and orderly presentations.

Sequential

Similar to the measuring elements used to calculate speed and time, vertical lines can be spaced horizontally in various widths to segment a composition into various “slivers.” This allows for a horizontal sense of movement, as well as anchor content over a wide compositional field.

example images

Wrap

To create depth and energy, vertical lines can go behind or overtop of elements within an image or graphic element. By “wrapping” around an object, it not only links content and imagery, but creates interesting interplays.

Linking

Simply put, various levels of content can be broken up in size, type treatment or application and then made cohesive with the inclusion of a vertical stroke connecting them.

Emphasis Box

To help build hierarchy and flexibility in how we communicate our voiced content, these emphasis boxes can house short, pointed callouts or captions. They work best housing one to two lines of content, but can be too limiting for long-form content, so thoughtful consideration should be given to their application within a composition.

Filled

For use over imagery, or to create a stronger contrast within compositional elements, the filled emphasis box should be leveraged. 

Outlined

For more nuanced and subtle application, the outlined emphasis box works best.

Border Frames 

Color is a dynamic link for our brand language, and when the compositional need warrants a visual lead of photography, adding a simple border allows for a unified application of color on compositions, without detracting from the main visual. The border color should always be Boilermaker Gold. 

example images of border frames

Diagonal Bands and Offsets 

The persistent pursuit speaks to the constant motion and energy our community spends on refining the next small step, and to help visually convey that “fervor,” the following graphic elements accent some of our core assets of photography, typography and color. 

Image Color Offset 

On dynamic, motion-focused images, a dutotone color highlight can be applied overtop of the image to convey movement and create visual vibrancy. 

Steps: 
  1. In Photoshop, change the image to grayscale.
  2. Adjust contrast to eliminate midtones and highlights. (Some details may need to be erased manually.)
  3. Import the file into InDesign.
  4. Offset image over the original photo.
  5. Choose a vibrant color from the brand palette and select the Effects palette to Multiply.
example of image color offset

Impact Type Offset 

On oversized headlines, an outlined-type highlight can be applied. Thoughtful consideration should be given to when this is applied, especially at smaller point sizes. The highlight should never impede the legibility of the primary type. The outline thickness will be determined by the scale of the text. Generally, the line-weight will be .5 or 1.0 points. 

Diagonal Bands 

In the absence of imagery, color blocking can be used to convey movement, when used in a diagonal swipe. Colors can be used singularly or paired. 

For most diagonal band applications, we recommend an angle of 77˚, which matches the incline of the italic style of Acumin Pro. 

Photography

Photography is a powerful asset for visual storytelling. It helps us show who Purdue is more fully and richly. By aligning our photography style and usage, we can create a look and feel that’s distinctly ours. In organizing our photo library, we group images in three categories.

Locations

Photos in this category should express a sense of community that can only happen at Purdue. This is the chance to capture the culture of Purdue as it happens during student and alumni events — on campus and in the region. 

TIP

When shooting events, try to photograph as wide as possible to encapsulate the entire story as well as close details. Always capture unique personalities in pairs and small groups. We are surrounded by amazing facilities in a state bursting with energy; document all of its character.

Portraits

These are the students, teachers, faculty, alumni and friends who form our community. It’s important to show them authentically, so these shots should always feel natural and in the moment. Subjects are generally shown in their own workspaces.

Another style, editorial, places the subject in a more controlled and isolated environment that focuses in on the subject’s own personality. 

Personality-Driven Portraits 

Editorial-Driven Portraits 

TIPS

Subjects should have genuine expressions that feel natural in the moment. Finding the humanity in our stories helps us connect to our audience in a powerful way. This approach to portrait photography focuses on how the people look and feel every day without any manipulation or obvious stylization and in the subject’s natural environment.

Moments

This category is all about the people. Candid photos should capture the Purdue community in their natural element.

This photographic style should capture moments of real emotion, spirit and achievement. This can include smiles, laughter and other positive expressions, as well as introspection and hopeful reflection.

To show the diversity of our people and our programs, use overhead perspectives to capture the real work environments of our students. 

Candid

TIP

These images should be in the moment, never posed, showcasing the amazing things our people are doing. 

Overhead

TIP

When scouting for these photos, look for desktops, workspaces, common areas, gathering spaces and other types of work stations to help convey the wide range of studies that the Purdue community explores every day.

Video Brand Guideline

Video produced for or by official Purdue University colleges, departments and institutes should follow consistent visual elements as laid out in this brand style guide.

All videos should:

  • Be visually interesting.
  • Have clear, understandable audio.
  • Follow the university brand standards, creating videos while keeping our Purdue “voice” in mind, and use the brand visual identity guidelines found on this website including logos, fonts, colors, crafting a story, and photography tips.
  • Video published across our channels reflects the brand. The use of the Purdue signature logo closing animation ensures all colleges and units across the university are marketing to constituents in a cohesive and consistent way. We want social media followers to immediately recognize a message from or about the university. (Link to downloadable closing animation file)
  • Meet ADA digital accessibility standards (closed captioning, etc)
    *To add captions: You can upload an .srt file to YouTube or Facebook, and captions will automatically be provided (.srt files are available for purchase from vendors such as: Rev.com)
  • Please use Sprout Social’s Video Specs for Social Media for guidance on social media channels.

Tips

Lower third graphic: All of the elements of the lower third should work together to add to the visuals of the video, not distract from them.

When creating lower third graphics for Interview-type program/ on camera speaking moments, keep the lower third design “on brand.” Make sure your font style is in line with the project’s tone and look. It needs to be readable and as least distracting as possible. Also, avoid lengthy text — keep it short and to the point. Use the brand’s font and color choices found on this website. Acumin Pro options are best for text over video, especially for viewing final product on small screens (like phones.) You can also animate any of the elements.

Only leave a lower third graphic up for 2-4 seconds. Two lines are suggested when putting a lower third graphic up to identify the speaker. A best practice and industry standard is the top line/name/words are in a larger text than the second line. The second line identifies who they are, or their purpose/expertise on why they are talking. You only need to put the lower third up the first time you see the individual within a video. As far as size and position, location really depends where your subject is on the screen. Make sure your graphic is in a title-safe area. The lower third graphic should never be blocking something that the viewer needs to see.

Lower Third Templates:

Lower Third Template Previews: