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This graphics standards manual provides guidelines for proper UH identification on published materials online and in print. It identifies the seal and signature of the University of Hawaiʻi and includes guidelines their use as well as information for business cards and stationery. It also covers appropriate use of affiliated identity marks and considerations for photographs and video.

These graphics standards apply to all UH campuses, colleges, schools, departments, programs, offices, etc.

The UH brand promise is: We provide a balance of educational excellence and real world experience in a unique environment that is Hawaiʻi.

Contact UH Communications, or (808) 956-8856 for any questions.

The University of Hawaiʻi Seal and Signature

UH seal and signature downloads

Images are provided for official university use only and require log in with UH faculty/staff username and password.

By downloading the UH seal and signatures, the user agrees to comply with applicable federal and state laws, Hawai‘i ethics code and university licensing regulations and graphics standards.

Retailers and vendors should refer to Collegiate Licensing or contact the UH licensing administrator,

If you have problems, or need larger versions of the images, contact UH Communications, or (808) 956-8856.

The "official" and "updated" UH seals

The formal University of Hawaii seal

The “official” seal

The University of Hawaiʻi has two versions of the seal. The 1946 “official” version is reserved for very formal applications only (e.g., diplomas). Consult UH Communications on proposed use.

UH system seal

The “updated” seal

The 2006 “updated” seal should be included on any UH System or campus communication that reflects the university’s mission or administration, including printed materials, presentations, websites, merchandise items and signage.

This version was developed to modernize the seal in a manner that reflects its history, spirit and global perspective while providing a readable version for modern print, electronic and product applications. It returns to a single UH version of the seal paired with campus-unique colors and signatures.

History of the UH Seal

The UH seal was adopted by the Board of Regents on April 7, 1921 and amended March 29, 1946. It contains a torch and book titled Mālamalama—usually translated “light of knowledge,” also meaning clarity of thinking and enlightenment. The date the institution was established, 1907, appears below the torch. The state motto, “Ua mau ke ea o ka ʻāina I ka pono,” is inscribed on the bottom rim. Assigned by King Kamehameha III on the restoration of the monarchy by Great Britain in 1843 and adopted by the Territorial Legislature in 1959, it translates as “The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness” and reflects the Hawaiians’ reverence for the ʻāina, or land, from which first kalo (taro) and then the first human sprang.

UH seal use and restrictions

The seal may be used alone or in conjunction with the signature. If used alone, the seal can be

  • used in black or the respective system/campus color. (If another color is used for design reasons, avoid colors associated with other campuses.)
  • screened as a background element.
  • reversed.

The seal may not:

  • be stretched or distorted.
  • have any altered elements within the seal.
  • be smaller than 5/8 inch on publications or 1/4 inch on merchandise.
  • enlarged to a size that compromises graphic integrity.

Contact UH Communications for assistance.

UH signature use and restrictions

The University of Hawaiʻi System signature is used for system administration offices and systemwide programs. Campus-based or administered schools, departments and programs should use the signature of the home campus. UH Centers should use the signature of the administering campus.

The UH Community Colleges signature is for collective marketing and recruitment materials only. The Office of the Vice President for Community Colleges and reporting units use the UH System signature for business cards and stationery.

When using the UH signature system, only the underscore and seal in its entirety should be used in the specified two-color scheme. When using the signature alone, only the underscore should appear in its specified color.

Do not:

  • alter the signature artwork, colors or font.
  • alter the placement or proportion of the seal respective to the nameplate.
  • stretch, distort or rotate the signature.
  • box or frame the signature or use over a complex background.
  • screen the signature or run type over it.
  • introduce drop shadows or other filters.

The seal may be centered below or above the nameplate or to the left of the nameplate. The “safe zone” indicates the appropriate amount of space between the two elements. This space reflects the “rim,” the area from the outer edge of the seal to the edge of the globe. Consult UH Communications or (808) 956-8856 with questions or requests for exceptions.

The UH seals, signatures and official campus colors

Examples of the signatures for UH System and the 10 campuses

Sample of the University of Hawaii signature with seal and nameplate with marked areas for the safe zone space, seal and nameplate with underscoreThe signature is a graphic element comprised of two elements—a nameplate (typographic rendition) of the university/campus name and an underscore accompanied by the UH seal. Both vertical and horizontal formats of the signature are provided. The signature may also be used without the seal on communications where the seal cannot be clearly reproduced, space is limited or there is another compelling reason to omit the seal.

Business Cards and Stationery

Business card and stationery design

The UH stationery system and business card design incorporates the department, program or office information with the respective system or campus signature, and only the official design can be produced at university expense. Individual use of the university name, seal or signature on stationery or business cards is prohibited unless authorized and designed according to the university’s procurement procedures.

Stationery and business cards can be produced in black or two-color (black plus the designated campus or system color). Units are not restricted to campus signature colors, but are encouraged to adopt them as appropriate. For official campus spot colors and Pantone® recommended HTML equivalent, see “UH Signature” above.Optima and Zapf Humanist fonts are recommended to designers because they work well with the nameplate type in printed communication materials. Their use provides continuity to university publications.

Procedures for ordering stationery or business cards

The Curriculum Research and Development Group and Honolulu Community College are within the UH system, so bids are not necessary.

Curriculum Research and Development Group (CRDG)

   (808) 956-4969 or (800) 799-8111

Honolulu Community College Design Center

   (808) 845-9460

The seal and signature will be used in the design for all stationery and business cards, in accordance with University of Hawaiʻi Graphics Standards.

Alternate printing options

Contact Hawaiʻi Correctional Industries (HCI) directly for university stationery (letterheads, memos, envelopes) and business cards, as well as additional information or questions on pricing.

Fred Mateo

Hawaiʻi Correctional Industries

   (808) 485-5173

Download and read through the State Procurement Office Price List Contract No. 01-15 (PDF). Be sure to include an email address with other contact information (fax and phone numbers) when ordering stationery and business cards with HCI.

The seal and signature will be used in the design for all stationery and business cards, in accordance with University of Hawaiʻi Graphics Standards.


Sample letterhead, envelopes, business cards (PDF)

Campus colors and seals (PDF)

Electronic letterhead files

Electronic letterhead files are available at no cost. Electronic letterheads must conform to official university stationery design.

To obtain an electronic letterhead template file, send a requesting memo signed by the respective dean, director or chair. Include a sample of existing letterhead (or correct content information) and the receiving email address to Bachman Annex 2. The file will be emailed about 2 weeks from receipt of memo and information. For questions about electronic letterhead, contact UH Communications, (808) 956-7514 or

Alternate and Secondary Marks

Criteria for alternate marks

Requests to use alternate signatures or logos must be made in writing and transmitted via the respective chancellor. Any questions about alternate marks can be addressed to UH Office of Communications, The request must state the exceptional circumstances that warrant deviation from the university signature system. The following criteria will be considered:

  • Does the entity constitute an independent public attraction and/or and commercial operation that has established historical equity in its insignia? This exception does not apply to units whose primary purpose is delivery of credit or non-credit training.
  • Is the entity a non–degree-granting, independent research unit that has historical equity in and widespread recognition of its identity mark?
  • Is the unit named for a major benefactor whose gift stipulates provisions for an identity program?
  • Is the unit a major programmatic entity administered jointly with another institution or agency? This exception does not apply to centers established to pursue specific investigations nor those funded, but not jointly operated by extramural agencies.
  • Is the entity a campus NCAA athletic program?

Although excepted from using the official signature, these units must identify themselves as part of the University of Hawaiʻi on all printed and electronic materials. Units not specifically identified here as exceptions must request permission from the associate vice president for external affairs and university relations before establishing a joint or alternate identity mark and must submit the mark for review before using it.

Exceptions and secondary identity marks

Independent but UH-affiliated organizations develop their own signatures (e.g., UH Foundation, UH Alumni Association, Research Corporation of the University of Hawaiʻi).

Individual unit logos are not allowed. Although the drive to “have our own identity” is pervasive, proliferation of such marks dilutes the university’s integrity and creates confusion on the part of the public.

This doesn’t mean everything has to look alike. Schools, colleges, departments and programs may develop design themes and elements, including use of color and graphic images, to provide continuity to their print and electronic communication. UH Communications, or (808) 956-8856, can assist units in developing and implementing appropriate design elements in conjunction with the official seal and/or signature.

Permitted alternate and affiliated identity marks

Use of the following marks is governed by the respective units or agencies and should be used only in relation to, and with the permission of, those entities. (E.g., the athletics mark is not appropriate on materials related to academic programs.) All alternate marks are subject to licensing regulations.

  • Quasi-commercial operations: ʻImiloa Astronomy Center | Lyon Arboretum | UH Press | Rain*Bow*Tique | Waikīkī Aquarium
  • Independent research organizations: UH Cancer Center | Institute for Astronomy
  • Benefactor directed: Shidler College of Business
  • Jointly administered programs: Hawaiʻi State Center for Nursing | International Pacific Research Center | Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research
  • NCAA athletics programs: UH Hilo Athletics | UH Mānoa Athletics
  • Related but independent organizations: Research Corporation of UH | UH Foundation | UH Alumni Association

Photographs and Video

General considerations

Good photographs and video enhance the look and improve the communication value of many publications. Fuzzy, gray, out-of-focus photographs do not. For print documents, UH Communications can advise you on the reproducibility of photographs, (808) 956-8856,

Every photograph should have a caption with people correctly identified.

Photo or video attribution

If you did not take the photo or video yourself, be sure to have permission from the photographer or videographer. Many professionals require visible credit when their work is published, so make sure you know how they would like to be credited for their work. If you plan to publish such photographs, provide the appropriate credit.

Photo or video subject permission

In some situations you may need to have written permission to use a person’s image:

  • subject is a minor, in which case, a parent or legal guardian will need to give permission
  • photo or video will be used specifically for marketing purposes
  • subject has a reasonable expectation of privacy

If you are unsure if you need written permission to use a photo or video, or for an example of a photo/video release form, contact UH Communications (808) 956-8856,

Last modified: March 13, 2018
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