CU Boulder branding

What is branding?

Branding is the process of strategically presenting the university through messages and visual images to help shape perceptions among key constituencies. However, it is more than images, messages and logos. It is the promise of who we are, what we aspire to be and how our constituencies perceive us.

Why does the University of Colorado need to brand itself?

The way CU presents itself in messages and visual images is fragmented, ineffective and inefficient. The university competes statewide, nationally and internationally for resources, students and attention. Higher education in the past five to 10 years has become increasingly competitive as evidenced by the heavy use of branding and marketing by peer institutions in state and out of state. Sending mixed messages, confusing images or a fragmented view of the university puts the university at a disadvantage in that competition. 

What was the process?

CU engaged Landor Associates, an internationally known branding firm, to assist with the process. A CU team composed of the president, chancellors, CU Foundation leadership, and lead communication staff from campuses, system administration and the CU Foundation worked with Landor on the project. The firm conducted a peer analysis and quantitative and qualitative research (some 12,000 quantitative surveys among faculty, staff, students, alumni and donors; nearly 50 focused interviews with key people inside and outside the university). The CU team and Landor used the research to develop key messages and visual images.

What is the university's official name?

Our official first and second references are as follows:

  • First reference: University of Colorado Boulder (deleting the "at" previously included as part of our name)
  • Second reference: CU Boulder (not UCB in material for external audiences, except in campus box numbers)

For external audiences, spell out the complete name of the campus the first time you refer to it, unless the context and nature of the document require an abbreviation (for example, in an advertisement). No commas, hyphens or dashes are allowed in the full names of campuses.

  • Not the University of Colorado, Boulder (do not use a comma)
  • Not the University of Colorado-Boulder (do not hyphenate)
  • Not CU-Boulder (do not hyphenate)
How do I get the graphics?

Use the downloads form on this site to acquire the new logos and digital assets. You will be asked for a few details about your project(s) and to confirm your willingness to comply with the university’s messaging and visual identity standards.

Is there a brand policy?

Yes, there is a CU System policy on university brand identity and trademarks.

How do I get the font?

For more information on Helvetica Neue, please read Monotype Imaging’s Helvetica: Old and Neue.

Two sets of fonts are needed for the Be Boulder “Be” statements and modifier lines. They are Helvetica Neue Roman (55) and Helvetica Neue Extra Black Condensed (107). The fonts can be purchased from several websites, including at $35 per license, which is good for use on up to five workstations. Unfortunately, this does not include other variations such as light, bold or italic. The full family can be purchased as a set for more money. We recognize that the cost can be problematic for units with large staffs and recommend limiting purchase to a small number of users who truly need them. 

To purchase the font, please visit or

In the absence of Helvetica Neue, the Arial type family is an acceptable substitute.

How do I get letterhead and business cards?

Imaging Services on the Boulder campus has new letterhead and business card templates and is ready to print business collateral featuring the new CU Boulder visual identity. Order materials on their website or contact them at 303-492-2679 or to get started.

Where can I get a custom logo specific to my college, school or unit to use in my print communications and other applications?

Use the downloads form on this site to request a unit-specific lockup or logo. You will be asked for the desired wording for your college, school or unit, and you'll receive guidelines on naming conventions. Unit lockups are provided in a variety of treatments for use in print publications, merchandise, presentations and videos. Note: The full package of files takes two to three business days to produce.