Aerial photo of campus overlooking Tinkham Veale University Center, Kelvin Smith Library, Severance Hall and more

Bolder and Brighter: CWRU launches visual identity update

Phased rollout process includes refreshed logo, colors

Call it an evolution—not an overhaul.

Case Western Reserve today released a visual update designed to better reflect this innovative institution—while continuing to honor its past.

For example, the refreshed wordmark features thicker letters and simpler design, but—as with most leading national research campuses—keeps a serif font. 

Also, in recognition of the many versions of sunbursts that graced visual identities of CWRU’s predecessor institutions for decades, the new logo’s graphic icon retains that solar theme—but modernizes it a bit. 

As for the previous colors—navy, gray and black—focus groups consulted as part of the update process overwhelmingly agreed that the university needed to lighten up, literally. 

That part of the process led to a much brighter primary color—now dubbed CWRU Blue—as well as related appealing shades as secondary ones. As for the tertiary colors—among them violet purple, terracotta orange and vivid green—these accents will add extra energy to any design.

While websites on the university’s content management system will update to the new visual identity as of June 7, the rest of the process cannot be as quick. 

As just one example, the university recognizes that many on campus have—and have paid for—extensive print materials featuring the current look. No one recommends throwing out all of those items now; the idea instead is to follow the updated university guidelines going forward when developing and ordering new items.

As another, hundreds of signs across the institution feature the logo adopted in 2007; in response, the university is in the process of establishing an administrative task force to determine how best to manage those transitions, as well as other, more significant aspects of the identity updates.

Finally, while the horizontal logo remains the primary one for the institution, this identity update includes different versions of stacked logos as well. Add individual units to all of those versions, and the number of variations and options have reached the thousands. 

In short, this transition will take some time to complete. For now, all versions of university-level logos are available at; horizontal ones for all schools and select administrative areas are accessible as well. That site also includes information about colors and other aspects of the update—along with extensive FAQs. In addition, a downloadable version of the guidelines can be found at

As the full move to the updated visual identity continues, University Marketing and Communications will inform the campus of updates. Meanwhile, the community’s patience and understanding are deeply appreciated.

This new look emerged after focus groups with constituents across the campus—as well as alumni and trustees. Throughout the process, Case Western Reserve collaborated with international design firm Pentagram; one of its most prominent partners, Michael Bierut, is a Northeast Ohio native who worked with the university in the past.