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Brand architecture (brand family)

We compete for the best students and staff across the globe. It is therefore vital to express our collective strengths through a clear and consistent brand. 

What is our brand family? 

Our brand family (also referred to as brand architecture) is the way we define the relationship between the different areas of the University – how they connect, how they are different, and how they are presented to the outside world.

How is the brand family categorised? 

There are three categories and every part of the University falls into one of these categories. Examples are included to illustrate each category (see further details below). 

Are there any exceptions? 

Things such as conferences/events, campaigns and projects do not require brand categorisation or a logo – see campaign identities to see how branding is applied to these areas.  

Occasionally, areas may require a different look and feel if it is important to maintain a degree of separation from the University eg some research activity – see new requests below for further guidance.


More information

University of Nottingham brand family categories

1. Core brand

  • The University is the lead
  • Core business of teaching and research (and the professional services support relating to this activity)
  • The audience needs to know it’s a University initiative/product/service
  • The main source of funding is provided by the University
  • Benefits from full protection of University registered trademark

Creative application:

  • Full University logo (which is made up of the castle square, University name and the UK, China, Malaysia location strapline)
  • Adheres to University brand guidelines in full
  • nottingham.ac.uk web domain
  • Approved research groups and centres (ie as approved by Research Committee) and high-profile initiatives with a primarily external audience can replace the UK/China/Malaysia location strapline with the name of the entity (this is called a ‘composite’ logo)
  • A composite logo should not exceed 40 characters
  • A composite logo must use main castle icon in social avatars
  • Partner research centres, groups and institutes or Doctoral Training Programmes should follow the guidance laid out in  spin-offs, affiliations and partnerships. This applies whether they are led by the University of Nottingham or the University is contributing alongside others


  • Majority (90%) of University activity to include faculties, schools and departments, and most research groups and centres 

University of Nottingham logo



 Composite logos



international college




2. Co-brand

  • The University and the entity have equal weighting, but the entity would not exist without the University
  • The audience is primarily external and needs to know it's both a University and the entity in the initiative/product/service
  • A proportion of funding comes from commercial activity or from external sources and may be a separate registered company
  • Trademarks should be reviewed and considered

Creative application:

  • Logo features the University name either as a ‘lock-up’ (co-brand logo and ‘University of Nottingham elements appearing together as illustrated) or a separate University of Nottingham logo needs adding on the content
  • 50:50 ratio of University guidelines and guidelines of the other entity (for example additional font and colours)
  • nottingham.ac.uk web domain


  • Some of the larger research centres and institutes as approved by Research Committee such as the Institute for Aerospace Technology and Nottingham Breast Cancer Research Centre (note: less than 10% of University research activity requires a co-brand and any new requests would require a business case and approval by the PVC for Research and Knowledge Exchange and Chief Marketing and Communications Officer)
  • Non-research entities such as Lakeside Arts and Nottingham Technology Ventures 


Lakeside Arts logo


NBCRC Full Colour Stack

Nottingham Breast Cancer Research Centre


3. Endorsed brand

  • The entity is the lead (with or without support from the University)
  • The audience is external and does not need primary acknowledgement of the University in the initiative/product/service
  • The entity could still exist without the University but the University’s involvement should be acknowledged

Creative application:

  • Entity has its own logo
  • The University logo should be included on all content in a secondary position to acknowledge the connection eg supported by, sponsored by, endorsed by (as outlined in the University brand guidelines)
  • Brand guidelines non-Nottingham but can adopt elements of the University brand identity if desired or if none exist
  • Usually an external web domain
  • Trademarks should be reviewed and considered


  • University spin-out companies
  • Research partnerships where the University is a partner but not a lead such as Horizon and COMPARE





Horizon logo

New requests: what if my business area is not covered in one of the three categories? 

There may be occasional circumstances where it is not clear which category something belongs to. In these cases, External Relations will assess the request using a simple set of questions.

Any new requests will need to be assessed by External Relations with the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer making the final decision.

Requests including answers to the following questions should be sent to brand@nottingham.ac.uk in the first instance.

  1. What is your offer (ie service and benefits)?
  2. Who is your primary audience and what is the value of the University association to your primary audience?
  3. Who do you compete with externally (or state if not relevant)?
  4. Where does your main source of funding come from (ie University or externally funded) and how is your expenditure funded (ie staff costs and facilities)?
  5. How are you set up as a business (ie separate limited company with a separate board, part of the University or other)?
  6. Is there any existing intellectual property and/or any registered trademarks?
  7. For research only: are you a newly recognised research institute as approved by Research Committee?
Assigning branding

Click to view the brand family categorisation  document. 


External Relations

University of Nottingham
C Floor, Pope Building (Rooms C2-C10)
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5151
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