Our global brand
The University of Oxford is one of the world’s leading academic institutions and one of the oldest, with a unique heritage that dates back to the 11th century. Today its reputation, like its longevity, reflects a deep and abiding commitment to excellence in every area of teaching and research. As a result of that commitment, the University enriches international, national and regional communities in countless ways: through the fruits of its research and the skills of its alumni, through sharing academic and cultural resources, and by publishing outstanding materials in many formats for learning and study.
The University is also an immensely diverse institution with 38 colleges and 6 permanent private halls. It boasts a remarkable range of centres of knowledge and expertise, with the Bodleian Library and the Ashmolean Museum among its many architectural and cultural treasures.
Oxford’s sheer diversity and dynamism present major challenges and rich opportunities when it comes to communicating to worldwide audiences its achievements and aspirations, its relevance and its rationale. It must do so in a rapidly changing and increasingly competitive global environment. So we need to innovate but we also need to be consistent, for those many audiences to have a clear and deepening sense of who we are and what we stand for. In visual terms a key element of that process is to use our well-established identity in a coherent and consistent manner.
Unique visual identity
The University of Oxford needs to present a consistent identity to ensure instant recognition of our global brand among a wide variety of audiences around the world.
Our visual identity is the graphic expression of who we are and what we represent. It has a major role to play in promoting a consistent and positive image of the University.
The concerted application of our unique visual identity has even greater significance in the modern world where communication systems have evolved to provide instant global messaging. Individuals now receive an extraordinary number of messages every day through a wide variety of media.
Our brand is who we are and what we represent, while our visual identity allows us to express our University brand and engage with a wide variety of audiences through effective communications.
Now more than ever it is essential that all our communications – whether in print, online or in any other graphic medium – conform to the same visual identity. Only then can we be assured of presenting a unified brand in keeping with the international standing of the University.
To be successful our messages must follow three key principles:
All our communications must be clear and consistent in terms of the visual and verbal messaging they convey. Such clarity and consistency ensures the instant recognition of Oxford University.
Strong visual icons such as the Oxford logo and our distinctive colour, Oxford blue, deliver great visual impact that we can enhance through dramatic imagery, dynamic design and powerful language.
Over the centuries, the University of Oxford has achieved widespread recognition for its many attributes. Today, we must continue to develop and promote the University’s academic and cultural standing as we seek to realise our potential and inspire a new generation.
Oxford Blue visual identity guidelines are available at:
Took place on 1 May 2014
Defining brand. The University brand. Visual cohesion. A discussion led by Paul Chinn, Head of the Design Studio. And, introducing Oxford Blue, the new visual Identity Guidelines.
Oxford blue: visual identity guidelines
Design & Publications Office
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Head of Brand and Design
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Senior Graphic Designer
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Graphic Designer (maternity cover)
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