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The UMBC Wordmark

The UMBC wordmark is an important tool for conveying the University’s image. It should appear often and on a complete range of communications, such as brochures, stationery, advertisements, web sites, apparel, and signs. It is through frequent repetition that the wordmark gains power and is of greatest value to the university.

Wordmark Variations | Sizing the Wordmark | Incorrect Use

The elements of the wordmark

horizontal color logo

The wordmark combines two elements: the university acronym and the tagline, “An Honors University in Maryland.”

The four-letter acronym, UMBC, is how we want to be known. Our full name—University of Maryland, Baltimore County—will also appear on brochures and stationery, when there is a need to be explicit about the name of the institution. When the full name appears it should be visually subordinate to the acronym. Generally the full name should be typeset smaller than the acronym, in whatever font is being used for the body of the text. The letterhead is a good example of the proper relationship between the wordmark and the full name of the institution.

The positioning line, “An Honors University in Maryland,” was adopted in 1995 to convey to the public the high calibre of UMBC faculty, students, and staff and to generate enthusiasm for the great strides UMBC has made and will make in the future.

The acronym is set in the typeface Trajan. This is a modern font based on the model of ancient Roman incised letters. The tagline is set in Franklin Gothic, a somewhat modernized version of a 19th century sans-serif typeface. The design derives its energy from the tension between the classical feeling of the large letters and the modern feeling of the tagline. This tension reflects the dynamism of UMBC itself—at once measuring itself against the timeless standards of the earliest universities while striving to make a difference in the contemporary world.

When to use the wordmark

The basic rule for whether the wordmark needs to appear on a publication is whether it is intended for audiences beyond the immediate campus boundaries. A flyer posted by a student group on a bulletin board does not need to include the wordmark. A brochure sent to prospective students, or an advertisement placed in a newspaper, does.

Generally, the wordmark should be placed on the outside front and/or back of all brochures. It should be prominently placed and unobscured so that it can be quickly seen at a glance.

The strength of the UMBC identity system comes through frequent repetition of the same image. Alterations of the image detract from that strength. This is true even if the alterations are so slight or subtle that they escape notice by the untrained eye. Indeed, these are often the most damaging alterations, since they create a sort of “brand creep” that, over time, leads to an unprofessional and inconsistent appearance.

For this reason, individual offices planning to use the university wordmark should always use the approved art included with this manual, or obtain electronic files directly from Creative Services. They should never try to reconstruct the wordmark, or rebuild it themselves from its various text elements, to avoid inadvertently introducing small alterations.

Because there is a wide range of contexts in which the wordmark must be applied, it has been produced in a number of variations. Thus, designers and desktop publishers should be able to find a version of the wordmark that works well with their design, whatever its parameters.

Wordmark Variations

The offset wordmark


This variation is the preferred option for online communications and stationery (letterhead, business cards, envelopes, etc.). The scale of the positioning line is increased relative to the university acronym in order to preserve legibility at small sizes.

This variant can be used in a wide variety of design contexts and comes in two variations, in which the acronym is aligned either to the left or right of the tagline.

The vertical wordmark

UMBS vertical logo

The vertical wordmark sets the tagline in three lines under the acronym. This variation is supplied for settings in which a more compact treatment of the university wordmark is desired.

In situations that require a small version of the wordmark, designers may employ either the offset or vertical variations.

The horizontal wordmark

horizontal color logo

The horizontal form of the wordmark has the positioning line centered under the acronym.

This form of the wordmark cannot be used in small contexts (generally under 1”) because at smaller heights the words in the tagline are illegible (especially in online applications). Designers should use their best judgment about the precise size at which this form of the wordmark is no longer appropriate.

Designers should leave adequate and even free space (equal at minimum to one tenth of the total height) around the wordmark so that no part of it is obscured. The wordmark should never be cropped or “bled” off a page.

Note: All forms of the wordmark may be printed in one color. When using two colors, PMS 032 and PMS Black should be used. When the logo is reversed out of a solid field of color, the edges of the field must extend far enough so there is adequate and even free space around the logo. [Click here] for further discussion of university colors.

The Creative Services department is always available to offer a professional opinion if there is some question about which wordmark should be used for a particular project.

Promo/online wordmark

Designers should make every attempt to use a version of the wordmark that includes the tagline. The tagline can have legibility issues at smaller sizes (generally under 1/2”) on some promotional items and in low-resolution online environments. In those cases, the promo/online wordmark may be used. This version removes the tagline and adds more weight to the acronym.

UMBC web only logo

Sizing the Wordmark

Offset logo (primary mark)

The offset logo has a permitted minimum height of 3/4 (0.75) inches.

sizing offset logo

Horizontal logo

The horizontal logo has a permitted minimum height of 1 1/8 (1.125) inches.
sizing horizontal logo

Vertical logo

The vertical logo has a permitted minimum height of 1 inch.
sizing vertical
Designers should strive for readability of both elements (the acronym and honors tagline) when using these logos in their work.

Examples of incorrect uses of the university wordmark include:

Rendering the wordmark using variant typefaces
Do not do this

Electronically condensing or stretching the wordmark

Repositioning elements of the wordmark

Using alternate wording in place of the positioning line

No old logos or previous forms of the university wordmark should be placed on new publications.

The athletics and recreation program at UMBC uses an alternate identity system, which is based on the athletic mascot. The athletics identity should only be used for athletics-related and/or spirit-related materials. Academic programs should use the “Honors University” wordmark.

Special exceptions:

In very special instances (e.g., in the case of signage or apparel) department names may be added to the UMBC wordmark. Typography for such additions needs to be selected so that the department name is linked to but distinguished from the wordmark itself. In this example, the university font (Avenir Next) is used.

UMBC department logo example

The Creative Services department should always be contacted to assist with this type of wordmark.