Branding Standards

Carleton.edu is a primary communications channel for Carleton College. It’s essential that our website reflects the college’s brand identity and presents our institution clearly, consistently, and professionally. Carleton’s identity guidelines are developed by College Communications with the approval of college leadership. When planning to use an outside vendor for website work, please contact Julie Anderson or Jaye Lawrence so we can help ensure that branding requirements are met.

We recommend a three-tiered approach to branding and content requirements, based on the degree to which the web content officially represents Carleton as an institution:

Tier I: Official Institutional Content (fully branded)

Tier I is for sites with content that represents the college, its departments, offices, or services. This is for sites where someone might say, "Carleton College states..." about the content. For these sites, Carleton requires consistent branding. Examples: office and department sites, initiatives, directory, OneCard.

Unless an exception is approved in advance by Web Services—after consultation with the Web Advisory Group, if merited—all Tier I content should adhere to all college design and content standards (see below) and include the following elements: 

  • A carleton.edu URL
  • Maintained in the college content management system (currently Reason, soon official college WordPress) or other college-approved tool
  • A Carleton wordmark that follows established logo usage guidelines
  • The sitewide Carleton navigation menu
  • The sitewide Carleton footer
  • Fonts selected from an approved Carleton web typography set
  • Colors selected from an approved Carleton web palette

These elements will help ensure consistent branding for the college and a unified experience for our website visitors.

If Tier I content is hosted in an approved third-party tool that does not accommodate the level of branding described above, the Web Services Group will provide alternatives. (Examples: The Tunnel, The Hub, OCS Student Portal in Terradotta.)

For Tier I sites, College Communications also reserves the right to request changes to images, graphics, and website copy that does not appropriately reflect the Carleton College brand identity.

Tier II: College-Affiliated Content (lightly branded)

Tier II is for sites whose content represents individuals affiliated with the college, specifically related to their work for the college or their affiliation to the college. This is for sites where someone might say, "This person, in the context of their relationship to Carleton College, states...". For these sites Carleton has an interest in being identified with the site, but does not require full branding consistency. Examples: faculty professional sites (including lab and research sites), college event sites, and alumni class-year sites.

Tier II also includes non-marketing sites that are intended primarily for internal audiences, often involving college operations/processes. Examples: course sites and college project sites. Note that office and department web sites, even if they are internally oriented, fall under Tier I.

Tier II sites have less stringent branding requirements than Tier I, but should at a minimum include:

  • A carleton.edu URL
  • Maintained in the college content management system (currently Reason, soon community instance of WordPress) or other college-approved tool.  (Primary site maintainers have some input on plug-ins.)
  • At least one form of Carleton identifier on the site’s homepage:
    • The sitewide Carleton navigation menu (preferred), or
    • A Carleton wordmark that links to the Carleton.edu homepage, or
    • Site title text or homepage text identifying its association with Carleton College

Tier III: Student Organizations and Personal Content (unbranded)

Tier III is for sites whose content speaks on behalf of individuals or groups who do not represent the college. For these sites, Carleton has an interest in establishing a clear distinction between the site and official Carleton statements. These sites should not use Carleton branding, and may need a content disclaimer if hosted within the Carleton domain. Examples: Student organizations, faculty/staff personal (not professional) sites that are unrelated to their role at Carleton.

Tier III content:

  • Should not display the Carleton wordmark or sitewide Carleton navigation menu.
  • Should adhere to Carleton community standards as outlined in the Campus Handbook.