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Graphic Identity Standards

About Graphic Identity Standards

This section provides standards for use of many of the specific communications components that represent the South Dakota State University brand including our name, trademarks, logos and other marks. Only official university entities and commercial enterprises that enter into a licensing agreement with the university may use these components. These graphic standards are designed to ensure accurate, consistent and responsible use of these components.

Student Groups

Name. Vision. Mission. Design style of university publications. Logo usage. Colors. While these elements are all vital to upholding the university’s brand, they are only part of the equation. Sophisticated brands involve much more than a visual identity and an insightful mission statement.

South Dakota State University’s brand is the emotional and psychological relationship we have with our stakeholders. Strong brands elicit thoughts, emotions and sometimes physiological responses from constituents. Branding the university yields both internal and external benefits. Externally, we create an identity that resonates with stakeholders. We form emotional relationships with them.

Within a university, the brand serves as an internal compass of focus. If the institution is clearly branded, we have a collective understanding of what we are about. We have a self-awareness that dictates our actions. All decisions, not just marketing, are made in alignment with the brand. By keeping within our brand, over time, we will build a stronger university identity.

The strongest brands build an emotional bond with stakeholders, creating a sense of loyalty and ultimately influencing how constituents interact with you now and well into the future.

Consistency, good visibility and legibility are key elements to ensure proper use. Do not modify or distort the South Dakota State University logo, Wordmark, mascot or external marketing mark in any way. The logos and Wordmark should only be reproduced using official university downloadable files.

Note: This guide is meant to be used as a reference tool to show the proper uses of the university marks. It is not intended to turn every person on campus into a graphic designer or brand expert but merely explain how and why certain marks are used when and where.

All graphic files in this manual are available from University Marketing and Communications, which also has several graphic designers on staff to assist with your specific needs.

**Approval is required for any and all use of university trademarks. University faculty and staff can submit materials (saved as a PDF) to University Marketing and Communications for review.

To achieve the goal of consistent communication, all SDSU communications are subject to review by University Marketing and Communications prior to production.

The trademarks policy applies to all official SDSU print publications as well as specialty items, banners, advertisements, and Web/electronic, audio and video communications targeted for any level of external distribution.

Elements of this review include:

  • Adherence to university graphic standards.
  • Proper use of copyright, trademark and service marks and verbiage.
  • Consistency with university marketing and brand platform, and production quality improvement recommendations.

University Marketing and Communications will assist with each review in as expeditious a manner as possible.

As per South Dakota purchasing regulations (policy No. 12-9-1), the SDSU Print Lab should be the first source for your printing needs. If the Print Lab is unable to accommodate your request, they will direct you on the required use of environmentally preferred products. University Marketing and Communications staff and the Print Lab staff can decide what jobs should be included on the state’s bid letting schedule.

In addition, University Marketing and Communications has several graphic designers on staff who can assist in our publication needs. Visit Creative Services and Branding to view the different services offered as well as the fee structure. The office can also assist with finding cost-effective printing prices.

The South Dakota State University brand can be thought of as the basic assumptions our constituents associate with our institution. It is made up of definitions of who we are, what we do and how we go about doing it.

SDSU's mission is to offer a rich academic experience in an environment of inclusion and access through inspired, student-centered education, creative activities and research, innovation and engagement that improve the quality of life in South Dakota, the region, the nation and the world.

  • Achieve excellence through transformative education.
  • Cultivate and strengthen community engagement.
  • Foster innovation and increase research, scholarship and creative activity (RSCA).
  • Be a growing, high-performing and healthy university.

South Dakota State University will be a premier land-grant university recognized for high value, innovation and bold impact.

The words within each element of the SDSU brand are not meant for literal, repetitive application in communications. Nor are they “tag lines.” Rather, they are meant to serve as a strategic guide for university actions and communications and as a guide for evaluation in order to help assure long-term focus, consistency and brand development.

Newspaper or Magazine Advertisements

All advertisements placed in print media, with the exception of classified ads, should always contain the appropriate university logo and be approved by University Marketing and Communications.

Video or Electronic Media Applications

The appropriate university logo should be used as a signature in any video production and should be included in any advertisements, public service announcements or any production credits. They should be approved by University Marketing and Communications and should include the line "All rights reserved for SDSU." In all other instances the same guidelines governing publications apply.

Exhibits and Displays

Exhibits and displays representing the university should prominently display the appropriate university logo. Please obtain approval from University Marketing and Communications prior to final production and display.

Radio Advertisements

The university should be identified as either South Dakota State University or South Dakota State.

When we incorporate South Dakota State University’s brand messages consistently in our communications—through print and online marketing materials, news releases, educational delivery, outreach programs—we continue to improve our reputation. By adhering to the brand, we prove to the public that we can be trusted to deliver what we promise. We show our strength and integrity.

Each time constituents come in contact with an SDSU brochure, event, social media platform, web page or even a faculty or staff member, they naturally form and reshape their opinions of our institution. When they encounter consistent approaches and delivery of services, stakeholders feel a sense of familiarity and confidence. The end result is increased credibility and university standing.

Upholding the university brand does not start and stop with the marketing department. All employees shape the SDSU brand through their actions, comments and messages to stakeholders.