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Identity Resources website offers guidelines for designers and editors

| 24 September 2003


When campus designers first undertook the task of identifying the official University Seal, they collected more than 20 versions that were in use, all adapted over the years from the original version designed in 1895 by Tiffany & Co. Through careful research
— and skilled design and illustration — the original seal was recreated for the electronic age, and is available for download at the new Identity Resources website.

What’s in a name? Are we Berkeley or Cal? UC or U.C.? UCB? California? And what colors are blue and gold anyway?

If you spend your day pondering mysteries such as these, a new website will come to your aid. Identity Resources, at identity.berkeley.edu, offers design and editorial guidelines for campus communications.

“Projecting a strong and coherent identity for our great university is one important way we can communicate the excellence of Berkeley to the world,” said Chancellor Robert Berdahl in his endorsement of the new guidelines.

Defining that coherent identity for a large, decentralized, and fiercely independent university like Berkeley is not an easy task, however. Several years ago, campus designers — led by now-retired Greg Young in Development Communications and John Hickey in Public Affairs — began to define and refine some common elements in Berkeley’s identity: name, seal, colors, and typeface.

“We looked at the elements that have traditionally reflected our identity to see how they could be used more effectively,” says Mary Keegan, director of Development Communications.

The designers standardized the University Seal (dozens of doctored versions have been in use), selected specific colors of blue and gold, recommended ways to use the campus name, and had the traditional campus typeface digitized. The goal was to make these elements adaptable to meet varied needs, but also to project a more unified campus image.

“The campus has such a rich history to draw on — our seal was designed by Tiffany & Co. and our typeface by Frederic Goudy, especially for UC,” said Hickey.

“University Old Style, designed by Goudy in 1938 and now digitized, offers us a wonderful way to communicate our identity through typography,” says Michelle Frey-Schutters, design director for Development Communications. The font can be downloaded at the new website, and the guidelines suggest other typefaces to complement it.

In addition to the identity elements, the site offers such design resources as downloadable University Seals, campus photographs, and templates for standard publication sizes. The site also has a menu of campus stationery that departments can order from UC Printing Services.

“Resources on campus are not increasing,” notes Keegan. “We need to help each other continue to do a first-rate job with less.”

Editors will also find a helpful guide to usage of campus terms and titles, as well as a reference for basic style preferences and grammatical bugaboos. The downloadable PDF can be printed out to create a desktop reference.

Designers and editors can also take advantage of informal professional networking groups on campus. The Editors Roundtable, formed last spring, meets at lunchtime every two months on the third Wednesday of the month; for details, send e-mail to owner-editnetlist@ listlink.berkeley.edu. The Design Alliance meets monthly; for information, contact identity@dev.urel.berkeley.edu.