Brand Policy: Trademarks, Logos, Colors, and Seal

Responsible Officer
Matt Kramer
Vice President for University Relations
Owner
Ann Aronson
Chief Marketing Officer
Primary Contact
Laura Johnson
Last Revised
Effective Date

Policy Statement

This policy governs the use of all University trademarks (see definition) for any purpose and applies to the entire University system. Consistency in the use of University trademarks strengthens their value and our ability to protect them from unauthorized use. The Office of University Relations should be consulted whenever it is not clear whether a proposed use is permissible.

General

Campuses, colleges, departments and individuals may only use University trademarks in strict accordance with this policy and the graphics requirements on the Brand website. In general:

  • No University trademark may be altered or combined with any other mark or element.
  • A unit may use its name with the University's wordmark only as outlined on the brand site.
  • The wordmark is required on all official internal and external communications, excluding individual email University colors and branded elements must appear prominently on all official communication and marketing materials. The use of official University letterhead and business cards is required in all matters of official University business.
  • The use of taglines, icons or graphics as logos or in logos for University units is prohibited. All umn.edu websites must use an official web template header and footer.
  • Use of University trademarks in print and electronic materials including email and social media must conform to brand requirements.
  • University trademarks may be used on commercial merchandise only by persons and entities licensed by the University’s exclusive licensing agent.
  • All official University content must provide equitable access to people with disabilities. See Accessibility of Information Technology policy.

Regents of the University of Minnesota Seal [Regents Seal]

The Regents Seal may be used only as authorized in Board of Regents Policy: Founding Date, Corporate Name and Seal, and University Marks. It is reserved for use on official documents bearing the signature of a regent, the president or a vice president, chancellor, or dean; on official University awards; and in connection with events or facilities that are frequently used by or have a unique connection to the Board of Regents or president. To request use of the seal, contact the Office of University Relations.

University Brand

Driven to Discover is the official brand of the University. All University Units should use Driven to Discover and brand elements available on the Our Brand site.

Use of University Trademarks and Logos

By University Colleges, Schools, Departments, Campus Life Programs and Other Units

Units are required to use the wordmark and may use the Block M, in connection with official University business. System campuses must use the appropriate wordmark and Block M combination for their campus in connection with official University business and in their official web headers. University units may also use the mascot marks as appropriate in less formal circumstances.

Each of the University's units has unique attributes that enrich the University brand. When developing individual marketing programs to highlight their unique attributes, units are encouraged to work with the Office of University Relations to assure the successful integration of such programs with the University brand.

By Student Organizations

Registered Student Organizations (RSO) on the Twin Cities campus are allowed the use of the Registered Student Organization Block M mark or Registered Student Organization Goldy mark. The RSO Block M mark, and RSO Goldy mark may not be altered or combined with other elements or graphics. More information on guidelines and best practices are available on the Student Group Policies page. RSOs on the other system campuses should consult their campus RSO rules to determine applicability.

Registered student organizations from any campus may not use any other University trademarks.

Campus Life Programs should refer to “By colleges, schools departments, Campus Life Programs, and other units” above for applicable policy.

By Faculty, Staff, and Students

  • No individual faculty, staff, student, or group may use any University trademark or the official web template header and footer, or refer to their affiliation with the University, to indicate support or endorsement of anything that is not official University Potential confusion should be dispelled by adding a disclaimer stating that the University is not involved in the subject of the statement. This is also addressed in Board of Regents Policy: Academic Freedom and Responsibility and Board of Regents Policy: Outside Consulting and Other Commitments.
  • Athletics Department staff may conduct summer camps and clinics as such activities are commonly understood.The use of the name of the University or any title which would imply University endorsement or sponsorship (e.g., "Gopher" or "Bulldogs") is specifically prohibited unless the camp or clinic is developed and operated as a University-sponsored program or the camp or clinic is held in a campus facility and the athletics director gives written permission for the use of specific identifying terms. This is addressed in the Administrative Procedure: Outside Consulting and Other Commitments.

By Persons and/or Entities Outside the University

University trademarks may be used by persons or entities outside the University only pursuant to a license, memorandum of understanding, or sponsorship agreement stating the terms and conditions of such use. All memoranda of understanding and sponsorship agreements are subject to the approval of the Office of General Counsel.

Prohibited Uses of University Trademarks

No Endorsements.

Neither the name of the University nor any University trademark, including University colors, may be used in any way that states or implies endorsement of a commercial product or service, gives a false impression, is misleading, or could cause confusion regarding the University’s relationship with any person or entity. Statements that the University is a user or purchaser of a product or program are permitted if true. Use of University trademarks are not allowed in third-party communications including vendor websites or other communications aimed at marketing their products or services.

General Prohibition.

Neither the name of the University nor any University trademark may be used in any manner that could adversely affect the University’s image or standing or would for any other reason be inappropriate for a public research university. Such proscribed uses include, but are not limited to, the use of University trademarks in connection with cigarettes or other tobacco products, sexually oriented products or services, religious products, political parties or organizations, gaming or games of chance, and firearms.

Violations

If a violation of this policy is identified, units will be required to work with the Office of University Relations to determine the action needed, which may include redesign of print and/or electronic materials. With respect to all violations of this policy, the University reserves its right to seek appropriate remedies under applicable federal or state law.

Exceptions

Units may submit a request for a special exception to University Relations for consideration.

Reason for Policy

To implement Board of Regents Policy: Founding Date, Corporate Name and Seal, and University Marks. The University is a complex institution that is known for many things, including excellence in research and scholarship; the advancement of learning; the fostering of creativity; and the further sharing of these things among diverse constituencies through outreach and public service. A key aspect of representing the University's diverse body of work successfully to the larger world is the continued development and maintenance of a consistent visual and brand identity - a consistent use of University trademarks.

A consistent use of the University's brand brings together the efforts of all who constitute the University; it unifies and strengthens the University’s reputation; and it distinguishes the University of Minnesota from other institutions of higher learning, enhancing its relationships with all constituencies, public and private.

Procedures

Forms/Instructions

Appendices

Frequently Asked Questions

Contacts

Subject Contact Phone Email
Primary Contact(s) Laura Johnson 612-626-3527 [email protected]
General Information University Relations 612-624-6868 [email protected]

Definitions

Block M
The logo that consists of the capital letter "M" in the distinctive graphic design that is unique to the University. See "Block M" on the Our Brand website. Note that the Block M is a graphic design, not a font or a style of type. There are three versions of the block m: solid, single outline, and double outline. Official versions in the approved color combinations are available on the Our Brand website.
Brand Elements
The basic components of the University's brand, which include the following:
  •  Block M
  • Driven to Discover and brand elements
  • Mascot marks
  • University colors
  • Wordmark
Mascot Mark
A University mark that features the mascot of one of the system campuses. Official versions of the mascot marks in the approved color combinations are available from the Office of University Relations on each system campus and, for the Twin Cities campus, on the Our Brand website.
The Mascot Marks are as follows:
  • Crookston campus: the golden eagle (Regal the Eagle)
  • Duluth campus: the bulldog (Champ the Bulldog)
  • Morris campus: the cougar (Pounce the Cougar)
  • Rochester campus: the raptor (Rockie the Raptor)
  • Twin Cities campus: the gopher (Goldy Gopher; there are two forms, known as "Running Goldy" and "Leaning Goldy.")
Official University Business
Work that supports the University’s mission of teaching, research, and public service including programs and events sponsored by the University and activities conducted in the ordinary and regular course of business of the University.
Regents Seal
The corporate seal of the University of Minnesota.
Sponsorship Agreements
Agreements documenting the provision of financial or other support for the University and the manner in which it will be publicly acknowledged.
University Brand
Driven to Discover and related creative elements. See Brand website for use guidelines.
University Colors
Maroon and gold, in the specifications given on the Brand site. No similar color, regardless of its specifications, may be used in a way that could cause confusion with a University Trademark.
University Trademarks
All words, logos, or symbols used to identify or distinguish goods or services as coming from or being affiliated with the University, whether or not they have been registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office or any other authority. University trademarks include the Regents Seal, Driven to Discover, the wordmark, the block m, and the mascot marks. The term also includes the University colors, though not every use of one or both of those colors constitutes use of a University trademark. Contact the Office of University Relations with any question about the proper use of University trademarks.
University Unit
All campuses, colleges, institutes, schools, departments, offices, and centers that are a part of the University.
Wordmark
The logo that consists of the words “UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA” as a distinctive graphic design that is unique to the University and cannot be replicated in type.
Unit Wordmark Combination
A version of the wordmark that includes the name of a college, department, institute, or other University entity and is created as explained on the Our Brand website.

Responsibilities

Office of University Relations
Responsible for communicating, interpreting, and enforcing this policy.
University Communicators
Responsible for knowing and understanding this policy and complying with it in all communication and marketing materials, print or electronic.
Office of the General Counsel
Responsible for reviewing and acting on memoranda of understanding and sponsorship agreements, and communicating with University Relations when such documents include marketing or branding considerations.

History

Amended:
May 2021 - Comprehensive Review, minor revisions. Updates are focused on adding clarity related to Registered Student Organization use of trademarks, promoting digital accessibility principles, aligning language with the updates to the Outside Consulting and Other Commitments policy, and clarifying language in the “No endorsements” section to address common questions or concerns University Relations has received related to it.
Amended:
February 2021 - Removed prohibition of alcohol to align with Board of Regents Policy.
Amended:
May 2017 - Comprehensive Review, Minor Revision. 1. Clarifies language throughout the policy. 2. Updates senior leader, responsible University office, and Policy owner information.
Amended:
December 2015 - Replaced the term "vendor" with "supplier" in Policy Statement and FAQ.
Amended:
June 2013 - Minor Revision, Comprehensive Review. Clarified that use of University Trademarks is prohibited on commercial merchandise unless produced through an appropriately licensed vendor. Added reference to email and social media to branding requirements for printed and electronic materials. Clarified when use of the Regents Seal is appropriate. Clarified when University Trademarks may be used by persons or entities outside the University. Contacts, definitions and responsibilities also updated.
Amended:
November 2010 - Clarified workmark requirements for mass email. Language now reads: "The Wordmark is required on all official internal and external communications, excluding individual email messages. The Wordmark is required on mass email messages that include a HTML message part. 
Effective:
May 2009

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