More than a logo

The identity of the university and its programs is much more than a logo, colors, or a typeface. And while the goal of CWU’s brand identity standards is to align hundreds of individual units with its core brand, it is important to highlight what makes a program unique. A logo isn’t it. Audiences will choose programs based more on strong messaging and reputation.

The Department of Public Affairs can help clients create marketing materials that express their identity and deliver strong messaging while complying with CWU’s identity standards. Collaborate with us. Consider Public Affairs your creative agency formed to work with you to develop and produce your projects. Our professional staff is made up of skilled writers, editors, marketers, designers, video producers, photographers, and web specialists.

Logo Policy

University offices, programs, units, departments, buildings, colleges, and schools should not create or adopt their own logo. Masses of individual logos and marks confuse and compete with the CWU brand. Logos or marks created and/or adopted by individual units* are not approved for publication or merchandise use. Marks representing professional affiliation of an area may be used with approval of the Department of Public Affairs, but separately from the university, school or college, or department name, which should be aligned with the Central Washington University name whenever possible. For information on CWU’s review and approval process click here.

* Units refers to any CWU program, office, unit, department, building, college, school, institute, event, or initiative.

Custom Logos

There are a few specific groups that are allowed to have a custom logo. All must go through a review and approval process by the Department of Public Affairs prior to use. Public Affairs and/or its designee, working with each group, will design the logo.

Open Market Retail Organization

Certain CWU organizations that need to compete in the open retail marketplace and/or market heavily to off-campus customers may use an approved custom logo.

Student Groups

Student groups or clubs that can prove a compelling need for a custom logo. After the logo has been reviewed and approved it can be used for marketing, merchandise, or temporary signage. It must be used with the CWU logo or the full name of the university.

Special Event Logos

A logo may be created that will be used only for a specific purpose (such as an annual lecture, or anniversary) during a specific timeframe (such as one year). These logos must be used in a secondary manner to complement the institutional signature system. Public Affairs, working with the group, will design the logo.

Use of CWU Brandmarks by Student Groups

Generally, student groups are not required to apply CWU’s brand identity elements to their communications. But they are encouraged to do so when communicating to external audiences in an official capacity on behalf of the university. In other instances student groups are encouraged to use the university’s Wildcat spirit mark rather than CWU’s official medallion or signature. Contact the Department of Public Affairs for assistance with presenting the university’s brand.

Endorsed Brand

(such as University Advancement and Athletics)

Units eligible for an endorsed brand are:
• Units that have independent public identities.
• High-impact, pan-university institutes and initiatives.

Areas that are not primary academic units may use an endorsed brand with permission of the vice president of their primary unit, and the prior approval of the Department of Public Affairs. Once an endorsed brand is approved, it may be used in place of the CWU logo. Only one logo should be used on a publication or webpage to represent a unit of the university. If two or more university units are represented in the same publication, the university logo should be used in place of the two individual unit logos. Two or more
endorsed logos should never be used in a single publication.


A small number of entities at the university operate under the auspices of, or in conjunction with, external entities such as the state and federal government, international accreditation organizations, or grants. Those that do may use the external entity’s logo in conjunction with the university logo or wordmark, as approved by the Department of Public Affairs.


The branding of CWU is of paramount importance. All official CWU units are required to follow the brand identity standards. The brand equity for programs, offices, units, departments, schools, and colleges rests in their affiliation with CWU and its locations. Subidentities (including secondary logos, wordmarks, typefaces, and alternate design elements other than those officially approved) detract from the university’s ability to project a consistent, coordinated identity. Therefore, logos, wordmarks, and alternate identities that deviate from the approved identity standards detailed in this manual are prohibited.

Department, division, program, or university location names can be combined with elements of the CWU medallion and signature to create a subidentity mark. Contact the Department of Public Affairs for assistance. Subidentity marks can act as the primary mark. Individual units should not create their own logo or mark.

Subidentity marks may be used on web pages, but must not replace the institutional CWU mark in the primary header of web templates. Subidentity marks are not to be used on letterhead, business cards, or envelopes. The same color and clear-space requirements that apply to CWU’s primary marks also apply to subidentity marks.

Only one mark should be used on a publication or webpage to represent a unit of the university. If two or more university units are represented in the same publication, the university logo should be used in place of the two individual unit marks.

Review and Approval Process

A review and approval process is used by CWU to help ensure the university’s brand is maintained in marketing and promotional materials. All CWU marketing and promotional materials—including print and digital—must be reviewed and approved by the Department of Public Affairs and/or its designees. Send a PDF (.pdf) or JPEG (.jpg) file to Within five working days you will receive an approval, or a request for changes. Allow sufficient time for this process, including time to make changes, and resubmit for final approval if necessary. No rush or after-the-fact approvals will be given.

Trademark Licensing Program

The purpose of the Trademark Licensing Program at CWU is to protect the name and trademarks of the university such as the Wildcat head, while enhancing the institution’s image in a resale situation. This is ensured through the approval of the use of the
trademarks on high quality, tasteful merchandise.

IMG College Licensing is the licensing representative for CWU. As CWU’s representative, IMG College Licensing is responsible for administering the licensing program, including processing applications, collecting royalties, approving usage of trademarks and enforcing proper usage. If someone is interested in obtaining a license to produce CWU merchandise, they must contact IMG College Licensing to obtain an application.

For additional information concerning CWU’s Trademark Licensing Program, contact the Department of Public Affairs.