Brand Style Guide

csusm brand style guide - logos

Logos & Brand Standards

The young campus of CSUSM needed guidelines to follow while using the university marks, so I established the following brand style guide. This style guide is to be used as a reference by any campus representative creating publications or promo materials.

I categorized the different marks used across campus by their respective target audiences. For instance, some core identities can be used for any audience, while sub-identities should be used for specific organizations embedded within the university. Our goal is to be a branded house, not a house of brands.

CSUSM brand style guide - fonts and colors

Color & Typography

In addition to the official logo marks, color and typography are key in establishing a branded identity. The following are guidelines that I have our design team in the Office of Communications follow when creating media. I published online a detailed chart of the university’s colors and links to download fonts in order to help guide the campus community while building their own media.

Because our official colors are shades of blue, one challenge while establishing an official palette was to include complimentary or secondary colors that would add life to a piece of media without straying too far from the established brand. I broke down the different palettes by voice. The “official voice” (a more restrictive color palette) is used for public-facing media, while the “casual voice” (a liberal variety of colors) is used for communicating with an on-campus audience.

CSUSM brand style guide - stock photography

Campus Stock Photos

Beyond the logos, colors and fonts used in CSUSM’s brand style guide lies the emotions, memories and perceptions people have about the university. There is no truer way to visually communicate those moments than through photography. A key part to strengthening the brand of CSUSM has been building a photo library that can be shared by the campus.

It has been my focus to unify the photo style across a team of over 10 photographers and to train incoming photographers, to shoot with a specific quality and aesthetic that focuses on the university’s strengths. We always aim to communicate its core values and mission statement. Whether shooting live events or directing student models, my goal is to capture images that genuinely boast of the diversity, accessibility, positive energy and pioneering spirit the campus community shares.

Reimagined Mascot

The “makeover” of CSUSM’s beloved mascot, Crash, was a passion project of mine. First-generation Crash was a generic lion costume anyone could by on Amazon. As a creative tasked with building the brand, it was painful to watch the docile and sometimes ragged-looking lion costume stumble around at campus events and basketball games. I researched various mascot creation companies and explored what Crash could and should look like. He should have claws, teeth and muscles! He should be worn by trained gymnastic athletes. He should represent CSUSM with the bright “cougar blue” (a phrase I am proud has become a part of the vocabulary of students, staff, faculty and alumni). To see Crash strengthened by his fresh identity was a huge win for the branding of CSUSM and the whole university.

 

 

Training Facility

Athletics: Uniforms, Fans & Competition Facilities

The refreshed brand extended its reach to the Athletics department. The various teams finally achieving the long sought after NCAA classification ushered in a new era of fan enthusiasm for the Cougars. The spirit team that lead fans through chants and songs, appropriately named themselves the “Blue Crew.” We stocked the book store with great swag for fans and made each of the sport’s uniforms and training facilities align to unmistakably be CSUSM. The numbers of sports fans have multiplied in the following years and their and pride is palpable!

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