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Branding Guidelines

As a community of creative makers we are continually producing materials connected with our activities, programs, exhibitions, classes, and presentations. Stamps benefits from the diversity of graphic communication styles that target its many audiences. But without unifying visual guidelines, the materials we produce can appear disconnected, making us less recognizable as a school and confusing our audiences about who we are and what we do.

We have a common interest in reinforcing our reputation for institutional excellence and increasing our visibility as a school. In order to this, we must be disciplined about our visual identity.

The following materials present not just a visual mark to unify our activities but a means for collectively communicating who we are to all our audiences —internal and external. At the same time, these guidelines allow considerable discretion in expressing the unique qualities of Stamps and its various creative activities.

This document, prepared by the Stamps communications team, provides guidelines for using the key graphic elements of the Stamps visual identity: the Stamps logo and wordmark, the Stamps typeface, and Stamps colors.

It focuses on print publications, with general guidelines for the web, and provides resources and downloads to ensure consistent usage. It also provides guidelines for use of the Stamps School name in text.

Together, these materials provide a foundation for organizational visual identity—along with a strong connection to the University of Michigan—without constraining the range of graphic possibilities.

PDF Icon Download Stamps School Brand Guidelines 2013 (PDF)

Logo Images

The Stamps logo is designed to achieve a number of goals: 1) to support a visual identity that marks us as bold, confident, and creative. 2) to work well with the new visual identity that has just been adopted by the majority of UM units 3) to place us in the same visual family as many of the schools with whom we compete. The Stamps logo features a bold and confident “Stamps” name, set in the Hoefler & Frere-Jones typeface Gotham. The accompanying “University of Michigan” text is set in the Hoefler & Frere-Jones typeface Mercury Display Bold. It is carefully proportioned to work at small and moderate sizes in all publications—web and print. Please follow guidelines in the style guide for use to ensure that the logo retains its impact as the official mark of the school.


  1. The Stamps logo should be used in all situations that call for the official mark of the School. For example, it should be used as the mark of the school in publications, print materials, websites and at public events that visually represent Stamps as a sponsor.
  2. Only with the approval of the Stamps School Director of Communications may the Stamps logo or wordmarks be used in non-Stamps publications or event displays.


Here’s our friendly legal reminder that these graphics are proprietary and protected under intellectual property laws, so please use them correctly.

Please don’t:

  • Display these graphics in a way that implies a relationship, affiliation, or endorsement by Stamps of a non-Stamps product, service, or business.
  • Alter these graphics in any way, or combine them with any other graphics, without written consent from Stamps.


Download ready-to-use images of the Stamps logo.

If you need additional images, please contact the Communications team.

Email Signature

Use the following instructions to create/edit your signature in GMail.

  1. Open GMail: http://email.umich.edu.
  2. Click the gear icon ( in the upper right, then select Settings.
  3. Enter your new signature text in the box at the bottom of the page next to the Signature option. Use the Rich Formatting buttons above the box to format your text, if desired. Recommended formatting is as follows:

    Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design
    University of Michigan

  4. To add an image of our new logo, place your cursor after your signature text, then click the Insert Image Rich Formatting button.
  5. In the next window’s Image URL field, copy and paste the following URL: https://stamps.umich.edu/images/uploads/stamps/Stamps_email_logo_2013.png
  6. Click Save Changes.

If you're editing your signature and only have an option to create a plain text signature, this is due to your current compose message settings. Click Compose to create a new message, then click the Rich Formatting option in the message. Once this change is made, you'll be able to create a rich text signature.

Templates / Letterhead

Templates will be provided to streamline the workflow of faculty, staff, and students of the Stamps School, as well as to create consistency in all materials representing the Stamps School. Please contact the Communications team if you have specific needs not addressed here.

Before downloading the template files below, please download and install the free Merriweather font (see instructions).

Microsoft Word Templates

Follow these instructions to save and install .dotx files as templates in Microsoft Word.

  1. Download the appropriate Word template below:
    Stamps School Letterhead - General Use (Word): This is a general Stamps School letterhead appropriate for color printing and digital distribution.
    Temporary Signage (Word) : This document can be used to make temporary signs for posting information about scheduling of classrooms, class cancellations, etc.
  2. Double-click the resulting .dotx file to open it in Word.
  3. To save the file as a reusable template, after it opens in Word choose File > Save As... The file should be saved to your "My Templates" folder by default. Click the "Save" button to save the template, then close the template. You'll need to open each .dotx file that you downloaded in step 1, then repeat this step for each template file.
  4. To create a new file based on a template you installed, choose File > New from Template.... Click My Templates in the resulting window’s left column, select the template you'd like to use, and click the "Choose" button.
  5. Word should create a new document based on the template you selected. Start editing to create your customized document.

Note: if you don't want to use the file as a template, you don't have to - you can just open the .dotx file in Microsoft Word or Pages, edit and print or save.

Saving & Sending Files

When you're finished with your new Word document, you should be able to easily print it out for mailing or distribution. If, however, you're planning on distributing the file electronically (via email/etc), we recommend that you first save the file as a PDF. In PDF form, the fonts used in our templates will be preserved, even if they aren't installed on other’s computers. Additionally, the document won't be easily editable by recipients.

To save your Word document as a PDF, follow these steps:

  1. Choose File > Save As... . In the resulting window, choose the location you'd like to save the file and edit the file name as needed. Then, change the Format: dropdown to PDF.
  2. Click the "Save" button to save your file.

Slide Presentation Templates

Click the link below to download basic Powerpoint and Keynote files that can be used as templates for slide presentations.

Posters & Flyers

Click the links below to download poster templates for use in Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. Please keep in mind that all public posters must be approved by the Stamps Communication team.

The Stamps Wordmark (the large "STAMPS" at the top of the templates) is optional, and its color can be changed - but the smaller Stamps "Stamp" logo at the bottom of the templates must be included in your design, and can not be changed without approval from the Stamps Communications team.


The Merriweather typeface is a free open source font that is available to anyone. Merriweather will be used online and as the Stamps Administrative font. It is to be used in day-to-day use—letterhead copy, memos, and all in-house communication. Stamps employees, students, and authorized contractors for Stamps, are asked to use Merriweather in publications, communications, and academic work relating to Stamps.

  1. Click the following link: Link Icon Merriweather on Google Fonts
  2. On the Google Fonts page, make sure all of the Merriweather font styles are checked, then click the "arrow" button on the upper right to download.

  3. In the resulting dialog box, click the ".zip file" link to finish your download.

  4. Double-click the .zip file you have downloaded - this should expand into a folder containing several .ttf font files. Double-click each .ttf font to open it in Font Book, then click the Install Font button in Font Book to complete the installation.
Use of the School Name in Text

Always use the Ampersand

The name of the school should always include the ampersand, not the word “and.”

Example: When Bob was first admitted to the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design....

First use of Name should be the full name

When using the name of the school in text, the first usage should always be the school’s full name, the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design. Subsequent uses can be shortened: Subsequent uses of the school name in the same text can be “the Stamps School of Art & Design,” “Stamps School,” or “Stamps.”

Example: The Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design is a small tight knit creative community surrounded by the resources of a top 10 University. Stamps students can ......... or At the Stamps School... or At Stamps, students can expect...

Use of “art and design”

Please use the phrase “art and design” to refer to the practice of art and design or to art and design students. Use an “and” and not an ampersand.

Example: When art and design students come to the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design, they are...

Use of the Name in Interviews

Please, when you are being interviewed, ALWAYS include a reference to Stamps. Ideally, you would say, “I am currently a ________ at Stamps School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan.” But saying the “Stamps School at the University of Michigan” is acceptable. And even “Stamps” is better than not including any mention of the School’s name. Please... try to never only say “I’m at the University of Michigan.”

Use of the Name in Publications, Email Signature, and Résumés

Please use the school’s full name:
Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan
Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design
University of Michigan


Truly Render
Communications & Marketing Director
Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design
University of Michigan

Creative Kickoff Form

Have an upcoming event, initiative, campaign, or project that you need help promoting? The Creative Kickoff form is the best way to initiate a conversation with the Stamps Communications Team about your project-specific communications goals. 

General Waiver and Permission Release

The general waiver permits the University of Michigan to create materials to capture, record, otherwise document you or your works of authorship in programs and activities at the U-M Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design.

Style Guide

The Stamps School of Art & Design utilizes the Chicago Manual of Style for editorial consistency. This includes use of the serial (or Oxford) comma and spelling out whole numbers from zero through one hundred.

One area where Stamps diverges from Chicago Manual is the spacing between em dashes. We do this to aid in digital legibility, as this is one of our primary distribution channels.

  • Example: When the car was finally delivered — nearly three months after it was ordered — she’d already grown fond of riding the bus.
  • Instead of: When the car was finally delivered—nearly three months after it was ordered—she’d already grown fond of riding the bus.

En dashes may also adopt spaces in design contexts where extra padding allows for greater legibility. In text though, en dashes should not have spaces:

  • June 6-June 8 (Not June 6 - June 8)

Additionally, there are a few “Stamps-specific” text items that we should all be aware of and use in tandem.

Program Names

Don’t use ampersand within program names - (i.e., art & design).

  • Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art and Design
  • BFA in Art and Design
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interarts Performance
  • BFA in Interarts Performance
  • Bachelor of Arts in Art and Design
  • BA in Art and Design
  • Master of Design in Integrative Design
  • MDes in Integrative Design
  • Master of Fine Arts in Art
  • MFA in Art
  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Master’s degree
  • Roman J. Witt Visiting Artists Programs
  • Roman J. Witt Residency
  • Roman J. Witt Visitors
Position Names, Position Titles

Capitalization of Position Titles:

Title references immediately preceding a person’s name are capitalized:

  • “Associate Dean Elona Van Gent works long hours…”

References to job positions should not be capitalized:

  • “Elona Van Gent, associate dean, works long hours”

This also holds true for position references that precede a person’s name:

  • “We realized that being associate dean for academic programs is more fun than anyone could imagine.”
  • “The associate dean for academic programs is Elona Van Gent.”
  • Dean Nadarajan
  • …the dean… (not capitzlized)
  • Provost Pollack; Provost Martha E. Pollack
  • …the provost…
  • Associate Dean for Academic Programs, Proper Name…
  • …the associate dean…
  • Associate Dean for Creative Practice, Research and Strategic Initiatives, Proper Name…
  • …the associate dean…
  • Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Programs, Proper Name…
  • …the assistant dean…

The same capitalization rules from above apply to the following:

  • The career development coordinator…
  • The chief administrative officer…
  • The chief of staff…
  • The course cohort leader(s)…
  • The director of communications and marketing…
  • The director of international study programs…
  • The director of visitors programs…
  • The foundation director…
  • The gallery director…
  • The graduate program coordinator…
  • The graduate program director…
  • The interarts program director…
  • The IP coordinator…
  • The lecturer(s) (not part-time faculty; not contingent faculty; not adjunct faculty)
  • The MDes program director…
  • The MFA program director…
  • The recruiting and admissions coordinator…
  • The second-year studio coordinator…
  • The social engagement coordinator…
  • The studio coordinator…
  • The tenured and tenure-track faculty (not capitalized) (not “full-time faculty”)
  • The t/tt faculty…
  • The undergraduate co-director…
Institution Names

When introducing the school, please use our full name: Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan. Once you’ve introduced the school properly, text can use any of the following informal names:

  • Stamps School of Art & Design (not …Stamps School of Art and Design)
  • Stamps School
  • Stamps (never STAMPS in all caps)
  • …the school… (not capitalized)
  • “art and design” when referring to the disciplines - do not use art & design when referring to the two disciplines.

University of Michigan

  • …the university… (not capitalized)
  • U-M (not UM)
Groups of People, Teams

Capitalize when used as proper nouns but not when used as a group of people:

  • Executive leadership: dean, associate deans, chief administrative officer, chief of staff.
  • The senior staff: dean; chief administrative officer; chief of staff; and heads of: academic programs, academic services, admissions, facilities, development, and communications.
  • Faculty Council – this is a proper name.
  • FTE faculty (full-time equivalents) – does not include dean and associate deans

Standing Committees

  • Executive Committee
  • Graduate Committee (not Graduate Program Committee)
  • Programs Committee
  • Undergraduate Committee (not Undergraduate Program Committee)
  • Exhibitions, Performances and Visitors Committee
  • Creative Practice and Research Committee
  • Rules and Nominations Committee
  • Faculty Awards Committee

Advisory Committees

  • Student Appeals and Grievances Committee
  • Academic Resources Committee
  • International Engagement Committee
  • National Engagement Committee
  • Lecturer Review Committee
  • Graduate Review Committee (GRC) (ad-hoc)

When referring to the individuals who work in Stamps offices, please use individual names/titles or a unifying noun such as “Team” or “Department.”

  • Admissions Department or Admissions Team (not Admissions Office, as there are individuals housed in different offices)
  • Communications Department or Communications Team
  • Development Department or Development Team
  • Finance Department or Finance Team
  • HR Department or HR Team

Offices refer to geographical locations within our school that are either shared open spaces or where the “department” is a team of one.

  • Communications Office
  • ECHO (Equipment Check Out Office)
  • Facilities Office
  • Office of the Provost
  • Stamps Gallery — not The Stamps Gallery, not Penny Stamps Gallery. Just Stamps Gallery.

Stamps Office (a term to direct visitors to the building to the “glowing sign” and check-in desk. The Stamps Office houses individual offices, plus the following spaces that use the “office” terminology):

  • Dean’s Office
  • SWAPC – Smucker Wagstaff Academic Programs Center
  • International Engagement Office
Place Names
  • Art & Architecture Building
  • Faculty and Graduate Studios
  • North Campus
  • South Campus
  • Stamps Gallery
  • US (not U.S.)
  • Work Commons (not Student Commons, never Slusser)
Studio Names
  • Ceramics
  • Computational Media
  • Design
  • Drawing
  • Digital Fabrication
  • Digital Print Lab
  • Equipment Checkout Office (ECHO)
  • Fibers
  • Maskell Metals Studio
  • Metalsmithing/Jewelry Design Studio
  • Medium-Specific Instructional Studios
  • Multipurpose Instructional Studios
  • Painting
  • Print Media
  • Sculpture Studio
  • Stamps Senior Studios
  • Video Classroom
  • Video Studio
  • Woodshop
Curriculum Component Names
  • Corridor Display Venues
  • Curriculum Designer – NOT: Curriculum Navigator; Course Navigator; Curriculum Pathways Tool; Stamps Course Tool
  • Dual Degree
  • First-Year Review (MDes and MFA)
  • First-Year Report (FYR)
  • International Experience – BFA, BA milestone (capitalize when referring to this specific milestone, do not capitalize when referring to experiences that are international).
  • International Project – MFA milestone (capitalize when referring to this specific milestone, do not capitalize when referring to experiences that are international).
  • Social Engagement (not National Engagement)
Events, Shows, Exhibitions
  • Graduate Thesis Exhibition
  • Penny Stamps Distinguished Speakers Series (once introduced fully, can be shortened to Penny Stamps Speaker Series)
  • Undergraduate Juried Exhibition (fall)
  • Stamps Senior Show (spring)
  • First Year MFA Exhibition
Exhibition / Public Programs Usage
  • Stamps exhibitions should be italicized in copy.
  • Reach: A Stamps Faculty Exhibition

Stamps exhibitions are on view during a specific date range (they aren’t “available” or “running from” or “up”).

  • Reach: A Stamps Faculty Exhibition, on view Tuesday, May 16-Saturday July 8, 2017 in the Stamps Gallery (201 S. Division St., Ann Arbor).

When writing about exhibitions, please avoid verbs and nouns that may minimize scholarly / social relevance or have consumer implications. “Showcasing / showcase / display / displaying” are words that commonly come up.

  • CORRECT USAGE: Reach: A Stamps Faculty Exhibition brings together a cross-section of rigorous and research-based works that highlight the range and diversity of creative practices emerging from the University of Michigan’s Stamps School of Art & Design.
  • INCORRECT USAGE: Reach: A Stamps Faculty Exhibition showcases a cross-section of rigorous and research-based works that highlight the range and diversity of creative practices emerging from the University of Michigan’s Stamps School of Art & Design.

The Stamps Gallery is treated as a Stamps School venue, not a stand-alone presenter.

  • CORRECT USAGE: The University of Michigan Stamps School of Art & Design is pleased to announce Reach: A Stamps Faculty Exhibition, on view Tuesday, May 16-Saturday July 8, 2017 in the new downtown Ann Arbor Stamps Gallery
  • INCORRECT USAGE: The Stamps Gallery presents Reach: A Stamps Faculty Exhibition.

Similarly, the Speaker Series is treated as a Stamps program in text, not as a stand-alone venture.

  • CORRECT USAGE: The Stamps School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan is pleased to announce the Penny Stamps Distinguished Speakers Series fall 2016 lineup.
  • INCORRECT USAGE: The Penny Stamps Distinguished Speakers Series announces speakers for fall 2016.
  • CORRECT USAGE: The Stamps School of Art & Design presents the Penny Stamps Distinguished Speaker Series, featuring visual artist Sanford Biggers on September 16, 2016.
  • INCORRECT USAGE: The Penny Stamps Distinguished Speakers Series presents Sanford Biggers on September 16, 2016.