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Brand Guide


Photography is a key component to representing the brand visually. Images should be inspirational, diverse and engaging — highlighting UD's unique spirit. They should reflect UD's beautiful campus as well as support our campaign priorities. All images should be well lit, thoughtfully composed and high resolution.

To protect the University from liability and adhere to copyright laws, it is important that you follow certain guidelines when selecting and using photos, graphics and other art for your marketing and communications pieces. These guidelines apply whether the piece is print or digital — and whether it's intended for an internal or external audience.

Guidelines and Resources

University Photo and Asset Library

University Marketing and Communications maintains a photo and asset library, which is available to all UD employees and students. Authorized users may request to download any of the images in the library, as long as they are used for non-commercial University purposes. This is the safest and preferred method for obtaining and using photos, as we have clear rights to use them.

As part of best practices to ensure images are accurate, authentic and recent, student photos more than three years old are removed from the library. New images that reflect UD's beautiful campus, academics and research, real-world learning, and commitments to diversity and student success are added throughout the year.

View the user guide (.pdf) for directions on accessing the site, searching for images and requesting downloads.

Departmental Images

If your office or program hosts a University-sponsored event, you may use images taken by a staff member or student as long as you obtain his/her written permission (email is fine). You should also pay attention to the image quality (lighting, composition, file size, etc.), as photos obtained from these sources may not be high enough quality to use in certain publications.

When possible, the photos you take should represent the natural diversity of your event and be authentic to the people served by your area. Consider composition to ensure diversity is not only represented but also prominently featured, as appropriate.

Stock Images

Stock imagery should be avoided if possible, as these images can be seen as cheesy, unprofessional and fake. In addition, stock photography often depicts gender or racial stereotypes. If there is a case where you need to use a stock image, it should only be purchased through a reputable site, and you should critically evaluate the photo from multiple perspectives to avoid using images that perpetuate stereotypes. In addition, you must diligently follow the limits of the license you purchase. Terms of the license will be found on the photo website, and breaching the licensing terms can make you liable for damages in federal court.

Other Images

You should not use photos you find elsewhere on the internet (e.g., through a Google Images search or on a social media account), as all images on the web are copyrighted, and usage can put the University at risk. If you find an image you want to use, you must obtain written permission from the original author/creator to use or reproduce it. (This rule applies even if you want to use an image of a movie cover, book, etc., that is the topic of an event.) Be aware that while some sites offer "free" licenses, this only means they are free of cost - not free of obligation - and may come with lengthy terms of use. Use of such photos requires careful adherence to the stated terms, and you should diligently keep records that support your compliance.

Representation of diversity should feel contemporary and have a strong alignment with the brand. Across materials, photos should represent diversity at an appropriately aspirational level, and diversity among people of color should be highlighted, as well. Consider pacing and composition to ensure diversity is not only represented but also prominently featured. Current campus demographics can be found on the institutional reporting site.

When selecting photos, be mindful of what the images may be inadvertently communicating. For example, images used to talk about financial aid and scholarships should feature students of all races to convey that all students may need — and have access to — financial support.

Publications, including all webpages, should be reviewed and updated on an annual basis. To remain current, and avoid overuse of images, photos of students should be no more than two years old.

Several design treatments can be applied to photos to add additional visual interest:

  • Angled Corner: A 45-degree angle can be added to one corner of a photo to complement the other graphic elements in the campaign.
  • Motion Blur: The motion blur graphic element can be layered on top of photography. The effect should be faded or masked to allow the subject to remain readable.
  • Diagonal Container: A diagonal container can be used to hold a photo in various aspect ratios and always used at a 45-degree angle.

All elements are available in the brand toolkit, which can be downloaded from the photo and asset library. If you have questions, please contact

Swipes of 3 photos with angled overlays

The light leaks overlay can be used as a filter to give consistency in tones and feeling across multiple photos and varying photographers. The overlay brings out the blue hues in photos, which complements the overall color scheme of the campaign.

Use this asset by layering the overlay image over the photo and setting the blending mode to overlay and the opacity to 50-70% in the effects panel in Adobe applications.

The overlay is available in the brand toolkit, which can be downloaded from the photo and asset library. If you have questions, please contact

Photos Without Overlay

3 photos without light leaks overlay

Photos With Overlay

3 photos with light leaks overlay

The following photography disclaimer appears on the University Marketing and Communications website and in the Student Handbook:

Any photographs or video taken under the direction of the Division of University Marketing and Communications, or any other University sponsored program, may be used in news stories, on the web or in University publications. Photos may be used in publicly disseminated promotional materials. Your name will not be listed in the caption or accompanying text without your permission. If you prefer not to be photographed, simply inform the photographer at the time photos are taken.


University Marketing and Communications

300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 1303