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Creating Good Design for Your University Every Time

Incorporating high-quality design into your marketing strategy for your college or university should be EMPHASIZED (we say that with emphasis). Seriously, we can’t stress good design enough, especially because we live in a world where showing carries more weight when it comes to delivering a message than telling.

Great design builds trust, attracts potential students and faculty, has the power to make a statement, and the potential to show who you are as a university.

That’s why we’ve dedicated this post to the very basics for what you need to know when it comes to brand guidelines for your university’s design.

Basics of university design

The key to truly good design is simplicity. Keeping this in mind as you or your team creates in-house design, you can do this in two ways: 1.) taking advantage of white space and 2.) removing anything that isn’t necessary, whether that be an extra image, text, unnecessary color etc., always keep in mind: what does my viewer want to see?

Let’s jump into the basics of design:

  • Colors: Colors obviously add a lot to any design, not only does color grab the attention you want, but the color pallet connects to the emotions of your viewer while communicating your messaging, setting the tone, and guiding your viewer’s eye.
  • Composition: The arrangement of your visuals alone is enough to direct students towards your page or steer them away. Composition includes things like finding your focal point of the design, paying attention to visual paths and where you want your viewer’s attention to go, and balance.
  • Imagery: What does the current state of your university’s imagery reflect? Remember, students want to see authenticity, meaning “real people” and real students and professors who attend your university. Your target audience will be quick to abandon your site if it’s low quality, so make sure you aren’t stretching or pixilating your images to fit a page, and ALWAYS test your imagery to make sure it’s mobile-friendly.
  • Typography: Never use more than 2-3 font families—or fonts defined by commonly shared design styles—on a design page and even less for overlaying images. Other things to consider is making sure the text has the correct weight, size, and doesn’t exceed over 10 words per line.

What’s the goal of your design?
Ask yourself this every time you are creating content for your university: what’s its purpose? Does it represent your institution? Does it appeal to the target audience?

Especially with how competitive the university landscape has become, a successful approach to design has become pivotal in getting a leg up in in the higher education world.


· Know your student’s preferences

· Simplicity is key

· Understand the basics of design

· Know your design’s purpose

Want to learn more about design principles? We’d be happy to help. Connect with us at [email protected].