Frequently asked questions

  1. What is a “graphic identity” and why do we need one?

    A graphic identity is a system of logos, fonts, colors and other design specifications that provide a consistent and engaging look for our printed and electronic materials. It has two main purposes:

    • To tie together all our activities, so that a seemingly disparate set of achievements and qualities begin to reinforce each other and create an impact that is greater than the sum of its parts;
    • To provide guidelines, templates and graphic files that make it easier for faculty, staff and students to produce compelling publications.

    Achieving these goals is a foundational step as the engineering school and its departments seek to raise their collective profile. Conveying Princeton’s message about engineering teaching and research is particularly important as we build support for substantial expansion and fundraising.

  2. How did we get this system? who authorized it?

    The process of creating our new graphic identity began in 2006 when, with consultation and approval from a working group and the Dean’s Executive Committee, the Office of Engineering Communications issued a Request for Proposals to design firms. Based on bids, interviews, past work and a strong recommendation and offer of financial support from the Office of Development, we chose the design firm Pentagram.

    Pentagram designer Michael Bierut and colleagues held multiple meetings on campus to assess our needs and goals and presented an initial concept. In the meantime, the University conducted its own search for a design firm and hired Pentagram to create a new overall identity system for Princeton. This confluence of events allowed for a highly integrated process of refining and approving the engineering school’s system. Final review and approval came from the Dean’s Executive Committee and the Dean.

  3. How do i get letterhead and business cards?

    For electronic letterhead, please contact Steve Schultz in the Office of Engineering Communications to have a personalized letterhead template made in Word.

    For printed letterhead and business cards, contact the University office of Printing & Mailing, which has the necessary files and can fill in your personalized information.

  4. First, please read the included “Graphic Identity Guidelines.” This document is an essential reference point in making the system a success. It explains and specifies the mechanics of the system and provides examples.We’re providing jpg image files that are sized appropriately for typical simple web and print uses. Professional designers and those familiar with design software may want to use the “vector” (scalable) graphics, identified by the .eps extension. Please do not enlarge the jpg files — they would look fuzzy and diminish the effectiveness of the system. Similarly, please do not stretch any of the graphic files to make them taller or wider.When in doubt, call us. If you’re having trouble making the system work in a particular instance or just want a quick check of what you’ve done, we’ll respond quickly.
  5. Where do i get the fonts i need and the university seal?

    For access to Princeton University’s overall identity system, including the seal, go to The University’s new font, Monticello, is available through that site and from your departmental SCAD. This system also requires having the fonts Franklin Gothic and Franklin Gothic Demi, which are standard fonts on University computers.

  6. are there any restrictions on how i may use these files?

    Again, please refer to the Guidelines. A key part of that document is examples of ways not to use the system. It is important to follow these guidelines because any graphic identity system derives much of its power and recognition from consistent use. Modifying, recoloring or attempting to re-create the included files can result in reduced overall impact. Please call us with questions.

    When it comes to providing the logo of the school or the University to an outside group for use on a poster or official sponsorship, please copy Steve Schultz ( on the communication.

  7. I like the posters and websites shown in the guidelines. are you providing templates so i can make them myself?

    For simple projects, Steve Schultz in the Engineering Communications can help you get started. For professionally produced posters like the examples in the Guidelines, the best resource is a professional designer and we encourage you to contact Matilda Luk in the University’s Office of Communications ( Because each project (and each person’s software and skill level) is different there is no foolproof template.

    Regarding websites, please contact Neil Adelantar, web developer/designer, in the Office of Engineering Communications. He will be able to consult on options for creating or updating a site that is associated with the engineering school.

  8. Isn’t the e ambiguous? how will people know it stands for engineering?

    The system is designed to be flexible, making the denotation of the E more or less explicit depending on the familiarity of the audience. In its most explicit form, the words “School of Engineering and Applied Science” are placed in line with the E. Groups of people (from second graders to grad students) who have been shown the system with little or no explanation have consistently interpreted the E correctly.

    A bold and well implemented graphic identity system has enormous power to grow and become recognizable with very little context. Witness Nike’s swoosh. Our E is a logical focal point as we already have some “brand equity” in our use of EQuad and EQuad News. Nonetheless, the system is designed to allow our Princeton-E wordmark to be used as a non-essential supplement to a design — as when it appears in a black bar at the bottom of some posters — so that it can only add meaning to the design.

  9. Why is the identity not based on the acronym seas?

    We have moved away from using the SEAS acronym because its meaning is unclear to outside audiences (for example, the Southeast Asia Society has this URL: Except in certain transcendent uses, such as IBM Corp., the use of acronyms conveys a closed, inward-oriented viewpoint. Our logo and our general emphasis on the words Princeton and Engineering present us in an engaging way and project the standard of excellence that Princeton defines for engineering research and education.