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Branding Standards Guide

Branding Overview

CSU Identity Timeline

CSU names, symbols and identifiers have undergone a number of changes over the decades. In developing the current branding program, considerable attention was paid to ensure that its elements were aligned with and maintained the integrity of the CSU identity as it has evolved.

    CSU seal 1962
    Circa 1962
    CSU seal 1972
    Circa 1972
    CSU seal 1982
    Circa 1982
    CSU seal 1985
    Circa 1985
    CSU seal 1986
    Circa 1986
    CSU seal 2006
    Circa 2006
  • 1961 California State Colleges (CSC)
    CSC was established as a system.

  • 1962 Official CSC Seal
    The CSC Board of Trustees approved the official seal and motto for the California State Colleges.The seal was designed by artist and Fresno State Professor Emeritus Darwin Musselman (1916-2001), and it portrayed the ideals of education in a democracy, essentially the freedom for all to learn. A geographic image of California was depicted along with a lighted lamp representing learning and a book of knowledge.The year 1857, inscribed in Roman numerals, was the founding date of the first campus, San Jose State College. The motto on the seal was “Vir Veritas Vox” (“man truth voice”), which meant “man, the truth, and the voice to speak it.” The seal is a mark of authentication and institutional sanction.

  • 1972 The California State University and Colleges (CSUC)

  • 1982 The California State University (CSU)

  • 1985 Latin Motto Revised
    Chancellor Ann Reynolds recommended and received approval from the CSU Board of Trustees for the Latin motto to be revised from “Vir Veritas Vox” (“man truth voice”) to “Vox Veritas Vita” (“voice truth life”).

  • 1986 CSU Wordmark
    The university recognized the value of its initials as a cornerstone of a visual identity program. The wordmark “CSU” was designed with a black bar above it by Landor & Associates. The first official graphic identity system, which included the CSU wordmark, an official color and typography guidelines, was also developed.

  • 2006 CSU Branding Program
    The rollout of a new branding and identity program introduced designs for:

    • The CSU seal, restoring some of the original detail of the 1962 seal and improving typography and design to include readable Arabic numerals for the 1857 founding date

    • A new CSU wordmark

    • Branding guidelines that include a CSU color palette, typography, graphic signatures and other elements
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      Wordmark 2006.jpg
      Circa 2006