Graphic Style

One of the great challenges of higher education today is for institutions to convey effectively who they are in a clear, concise, and consistent manner to each of their stakeholders. In a world that is cluttered with noise and information, it becomes increasingly important for organizations to break through that clutter with consistent, articulate, and easy-to-recognize images and messages.

The logo and its elements

logoThe strength of the logo for St. Olaf College is derived from the sense of stability provided by the overall shape of the graphic element. The logo balances a sense of history and tradition (through the use of classic design elements) with a sense of vision and optimism (through the use of the arc running through the logo). The logo is distinctive, eye-catching, and memorable. It also will “wear well” and provide a look that will have staying power for years into the future. The logo and graphic identity system offer St. Olaf a professional, exemplary look reflective of the high-quality educational experience provided by this revered institution.

The white arc

The white arc is filled with symbolism. It reflects the hill of Manitou Heights; it speaks to the global perspective through its sense of dimension; it expresses the enlightenment provided here through the exemplary liberal arts experience; it exhibits the sense of spirit and hope — the light of the world — offered through this college of the church. The white arc also provides the sense of movement and dynamism that invokes excitement for the future. It suggests that new horizons await you at St. Olaf and that when you leave the Hill you are bound for new horizons in the global community.

The black and gold colors

The colors reflect the spirit and heritage of the college’s past, bridging a sense of history with a color style for the future that has been well-received by our diverse target audiences. The St. Olaf colors also reflect a warm and caring atmosphere reflective of the St. Olaf community. With the black “ground” and gold “sky,” the logo provides a look that exemplifies the fertile ground for learning and the dawning of a new day and new ideas.

The typeface

The typeface, Trajan, was chosen because of its legibility and its strong, classic look. It was selected to remind us of the rich heritage of St. Olaf College and the long-standing legacy of an unsurpassed commitment to quality education. Trajan reflects traditional and educational values, serving an effective counterbalance to the progressive look provided by the white arc.

The key to success

We are asking all involved in the mission of St. Olaf College to follow the guidelines established for implementation as a means of reinforcing the quality image of St. Olaf across divisions and departments.

The Office of Marketing and Communications will be happy to assist you in using the college logo properly by providing digital art for your project. You may download the St. Olaf College logo here. Some graphics, as well as camera-ready art in the form of high-resolution laser prints, are only available upon request. Please contact us with questions.

The colors of the graphIc identIty system

As noted before, the primary colors used in the St. Olaf graphic identity system are black and gold, colors that reflect the spirit and heritage of the college’s past. While black is a fairly straightforward color, there are many colors that might be recognized as “gold.” In order to achieve a consistency of appearance among St. Olaf communications, the color “gold” is defined in the St. Olaf graphic identity system as the color consonant with PMS 131 as formulated in the 2001 Pantone Matching System®, the standard used by printers throughout the nation.

The palette of additional approved colors below should be used when colors other than black and gold are needed to communicate the St. Olaf message effectively.

Two-color printing

stolaf_logos2PMS 131 (gold) and black

Four-color printing

Gold is converted to C:3 M:36 Y:100 K:6
If the logo is used on a printed color background, you must use the artwork with an arc in white and a .5 pt. rule in white around the box.

One-color printing

stolaflogos3The logo may be printed in one color either as a solid or outlined version.

The preferred option is the solid version if the paper stock is white (or cream) and the ink color is black.

With colored papers and/or inks, the preferred option is the outline version. The logo may be reversed out to white as an outlined version.

The consistent use of color is a critical component of the graphic identity system. Always adhere to the official color breaks (shown below) when using the St. Olaf logo.


It is preferred that the arc appear white whenever possible. If this is not an option (such as when printing on colored paper) it may also appear as solid black or printed in the darkest color selected from the approved palette.


Logo considerations

If materials are printed without the use of black there are two options for printing the logo:

  1. The logo may appear as a one-color logo and printed with the darkest of the colors being used.
  2. If printed on white paper, the logo may be reversed out of any of the approved colors.

Logo components, sIze, and staging

Use of components

Do not list the web site, office name, address, phone numbers, or email address beneath the logo. Do not use “Ideals to Action” above the logo.

Logo size specifications

For the logo to create a consistent impact on printed and electronic materials, it is critical for it to be sized appropriately and for it and related information to be surrounded by ample white space. The following examples provide the guidelines for sizes and staging for the St. Olaf logo and graphic identity system.


 Staging (the space around the logo)


What not to do

A few things not to do: change the color, change the orientation, alter type size, stretch, bevel the edges, rotate, or modify the logo in any way. Here are a few examples of what not to do:

  • Do not skew vertically.
  • Do not skew horizontally.
  • Do not alter the color.
  • Logo type should never appear white in a two-color application.
  • Never omit the arc. The arc should always appear within the logo.
  • When the logo appears on a color background, always use the reversed-to-white logo so the arc appears white.
  • In a two-color application (gold and black), the base of the logo is never all gold. The base should always appear with the top gold and the bottom black.
  • Do not alter the logotype to read as anything other than ST. OLAF COLLEGE.
  • The outlined logo should always appear as white on a solid color background and never as a color on a white background.
  • Do not “flip flop” the color scheme. In a two-color logo, ST. OLAF is always black on a gold background and COLLEGE is always gold on a black background.
  • Do not use “Ideals to Action” or “” with the logo.
  • Do not use other text beneath the logo.

The lion and the official college seal

The lion

The graphic identity system uses one lion that is based on the St. Olaf College official seal. It is not part of the core identity but is used as a part of the look for intercollegiate athletics of the college and for special circumstances.

The offical St. Olaf College seal

The seal is used only for official college business (e.g., transcripts, Commencement materials, certificates, etc.).


Primary typefaces

To maintain a consistent look, the following three families of type are strongly recommended for use in all St. Olaf materials, from stationery to signage:

  • Serif typefaces: Trajan, Sabon (Trajan should be used for headlines only— never for body — and it should never be italicized. Sabon may be used for both headlines and body copy.)
  • Sans serif typeface: Myriad (Myriad may be used for both headlines and body copy.)

These fonts may be purchased for both PCs and Macintosh computers; go to

Secondary typefaces

The following fonts are recommended by the Office of Marketing and Communications for secondary uses:

  • Serif typefaces: Minion, Bembo, AGaramond
  • Sans serif typeface: Arial, Franklin Gothic

If you have a limited selection of fonts at your disposal, Times New Roman and Helvetica can be used but never in logo typography. Times New Roman is suitable for use in the body of letters and printed materials when Sabon, Minion, Bembo, or AGaramond are not available.