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Academic department/program logo color selection

Clear logo visibility is important for ensuring its integrity. All academic department or program logo components must be easily discernible from the background on which they are displayed. The gray-scale diagram below demonstrates how the visibility of each logo color option is affected by the color value of its background. Additionally, avoid displaying the logo on background areas with a high degree of contrast and/or distracting visual activity. Generally, positive logos provide optimum contrast on light- to medium-value backgrounds and reverse logos provide optimum contrast on medium- to dark-value backgrounds. Using MSU Denver, Department of Psychology as an example, these guidelines apply to each academic department or program logo.

How to use the Department/Program logo on a gradient scale.

Important note about the Roadrunner Symbol

To best ensure clear legibility and maintain brand integrity, it is important to select the correct color version of any of our logos that include the Roadrunner Symbol. To this point, there are two important design features:

  1. The Roadrunner Symbol artwork is available with and without a white silhouette behind the symbol. The white silhouette ensures clear legibility regardless of the background color value on which it is displayed. However, the white silhouette is not always practical in certain reproduction techniques. In scenarios such as small imprint or two-color reproduction limitations on colored backgrounds, it is preferred to use a one-color logo to avoid diminished visibility of the red logo components caused by close color boundary between the red components and the background.
  2. When selecting a one-color logo, be sure to select the one-color positive art for light- to mid-value backgrounds and the one-color reverse art for mid- to dark-value backgrounds. These two one-color versions are NOT interchangeable. The rendering of the Roadrunner Symbol is different between the positive and reverse versions so that the eye “reads correctly.” If the one-color positive logo is inadvertently displayed in white on a dark-value background, it will appear incorrect because of the misread of the eye. Likewise, displaying a one-color reverse logo in MSU Denver Blue or black on a light-value background will result in the same undesirable effect.

MSU Denver logo notes reverse Roadrunner symbol color selection.

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