Icons & supporting graphics

Select communications and marketing tactics may require the inclusion of special graphics, symbols or iconography to help convey complex information and/or improve the user experience. 

Care must always be exercised to ensure these additional elements serve to increase viewer retention and clarity, while remaining separate and distinct from our approved logos and campus brand identity elements.

Logo vs. icon vs. supporting graphic


Logos are for identification. They tell the viewer who and what you are, and how you are connected to your campus and the University of Colorado system. Think of the logo as the stamp of approval or certificate of authenticity for your designs, marketing and visual expressions.

An approved logo is a mandatory element in all university-related collateral and visual communications. Learn more about applying and using logos in the Logos section of this website.



Icons are simple visual symbols, used to draw attention to important messages, content and elements without dominating the design.

Icons are not for unit identification. They may not be combined or “locked up” with the name of schools or units, and may not incorporate any of CU’s approved marks, symbols or names (e.g., the CU icon, university seal, mascot, unit names or acronyms, etc.) into their design. 

Icons should never be displayed using off-brand or competitor colors.

Click the Icon set tab below to learn more about the university's recommended icon family.


Supporting graphics

Supporting graphics are design elements used to add clarity to subjects, content or themes that may not be immediately clear to viewers. A supporting graphic may manifest as an image, symbol or design. 

Supporting graphics are not for unit identification. They may not include any of CU’s approved marks, symbols (e.g., the CU icon, unit logos, university seal, spirit marks, etc.) as part of their design. Special care must be observed at all times to ensure viewers do not mistake them for a logo.



Using icons & supporting graphics

  1. As a stand-alone element on a page, panel or design
  2. To highlight specific sections or areas of content (e.g., paragraphs, sections, bulleted lists)
  3. To indicate importance or priority (e.g., alerts, downtime, construction)
  4. As a background element or pattern
  5. To recognize a milestone event or anniversary


  1. As a primary identifier (AKA logo) for CU units, groups or initiatives
  2. As a replacement for our campus, school or unit logos
  3. Combined or “locked up” with CU campus, school or unit names
  4. Combined or “locked up” with CU campus, school or unit logos
  5. Using off-brand or competitor colors

example - incorrect useexample - incorrect use

Best practices

  • Never use icons or supporting graphics for identification, or as a replacement for CU campus, school or unit logos.
  • Avoid inflammatory, offensive or unethical content in icons and supporting graphics, to comply with CU’s Code of Conduct.
  • Whenever possible, use brand colors for your icons and supporting graphics
    • Exceptions include action-specific colors (green = yes/go/approved; red = no/stop/denied; orange = caution/construction, etc.
  • Never use competitor colors in icons or supporting graphics
  • When creating supporting graphics, use the brand typeface whenever possible for any text areas

Icon set

example_iconSetThe university recommends FontAwesome for all icon needs across print, digital and online media. It provides access to more than 900 high-quality, accessible and scalable icons, and is 100% free to use for both commercial and personal projects.

download iconDownload FontAwesome


For more information on using icons and supporting graphics in your communications and designs, contact University Communications.