Skip to main content

Brand Style Guide


Since 2003, the visual identity system explained in this site has helped to create a strong image for Vanderbilt University.

One of the most commonly used elements of our visual identity appears at the top of this page. The V symbol, incorporating the well-known oak leaf and acorn, is the nucleus of the visual identity for Vanderbilt. When combined with the wordmark "Vanderbilt" or "Vanderbilt University," the logo is formed.

This strong and distinctive identity clearly expresses the Vanderbilt of today. It is the primary visual representation of the institution, conveying the values and attributes that distinguish the Vanderbilt brand as one of excellence and leadership in research, teaching, and service.

The symbol is part of a comprehensive identity program and was created after more than two years of research, consultation, study, and review involving faculty, students, staff, and alumni. It was developed by the renowned firm of Malcolm Grear Designers. They have designed visual identity programs for other institutions as well, including Harvard, Emory, Presbyterian Church U.S.A., and the Guggenheim Museum, for international events including the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games, and for agencies and businesses such as the Veterans Administration and Sonesta International Hotels.

Over the first decade of the visual identity program, the Vanderbilt signatures became the standard on everything from stationery to cornerstones for new buildings. It is gratifying to see the success of the visual identity program, as it was the first effort ever that the university had undertaken to shape its visual identity into a cohesive whole. This initiative brought consistency to what had been a confusing accumulation of symbols, logos, and marks developed prior to 2003, often without much direction or rationale.

This site includes all art files and guidelines to enable you to incorporate the correct symbols and logos into your projects. If you need further assistance, please go to the contacts page. We are delighted that you share our enthusiasm for building the Vanderbilt brand, both in your everyday work, and in choosing to appropriately incorporate the university's symbols.