VI - 6 Policy on Use of University Name, Logo and Brand Elements

I. Overview

This policy governs the use of all trademarks, other official marks and taglines of Bowie State University (BSU), which individually and collectively represent the brand identity of the institution. All use of the university’s name or marks must receive prior approval to be displayed on any promotional or commercial items or materials asserting affiliation. The Office of University Relations & Marketing (URM) is designated to review such requests from university departments, campus groups and partner entities. The Office of Auxiliary Services is designated to review license requests from commercial entities.

II. Purpose

The university’s name, logo, taglines and official icons convey the essence of the character and quality of the institution and must be protected from misuse and misrepresentation. It is important that the university maintain consistency in how the marks are displayed to create an easily recognizable visual identity for the institution that distinguishes it, and its constituent units, from any other entity. Care must be taken to assure any items that display the university name or brand mark reflect the standards of high quality and excellence that are the hallmark of Bowie State University.

Consistent use of the university's brand brings together the efforts of all who constitute the university; it unifies and strengthens the university’s reputation; and it distinguishes Bowie State University from other institutions of higher learning.

III. Definitions

  1. Brand Elements -- Official marks and graphic icons designated to represent the university, and through consistent use become widely recognizable as university identifiers.
  2. Brand and Identity Standards – Brand guidelines developed by the Office of University Relations & Marketing to provide direction on appropriate use of brand elements.
  3. Official University Communications –Print or digital communication generated by university employees in the course of carrying out responsibilities of their positions at the university. Official communications include, but are not limited to, correspondence, email messages, PowerPoint presentations, programmatic documents, and agreements with external entities. Teaching materials developed by faculty for use in classroom instruction are excluded.
  4. BSU Promotional Items – Any items designed to build awareness of the university, its constituent units, programs or activities including, but not limited to, print or digital fliers, signage, advertising, and give-away items that bear BSU brand elements.
  5. BSU Commercial merchandise – Any items bearing BSU brand elements that are produced for sale by a company or entity.

IV. Policy

  1. Scope and Applicability
    BSU colleges, schools, departments, affiliates, campus groups, and community members may only use official university marks and brand elements in strict accordance with this policy and the graphics requirements outlined on the Brand & Identity Standards section of the university website. Brand Elements described and visually depicted on the brand and identity standards web section include the following:
    1. Official University Marks
      1. University Seal -- The Bowie State University Seal is reserved for exclusive use of the president and on official BSU documents (i.e. diplomas, certificates, transcripts) and designated institutional ceremonies (i.e. commencement and convocations). University Relations & Marketing must authorize use of the seal.
      2. BSU Logo – The BSU logo is the official mark representing Bowie State University and all units that fall under its governance. It is protected as a federally registered mark. No other logos will be created for BSU departments, affiliated organizations or groups. The logo should not be altered in any way, including separate use of the flame. The Brand & Identity guidelines allow for the creation of a graphic element linking a college or department name to the logo. Creation of such graphics must be completed by URM using the same font as the logo mark. Request for a department or unit identifier should be submitted to the URM marketing project request form.
      3. BSU Athletic Logo – The Bulldog logo is the official symbol of Bowie State University athletics programs. The Division of Intercollegiate Athletics & Recreation manages use of the logo. It can only be used in reference to our athletics programs and athletics promotional materials. Request for use of the Bulldog should be submitted to the Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations. Request to use the Bulldog logo on items for commercial sale should be submitted to the Office of Auxiliary Services BSU Licensing.
    2. Brand Elements
      1. BSU Tagline – The university tagline, “Taking Tomorrow. Boldly.” expresses the dynamic, intentional focus that permeate the spirit of BSU community. It establishes the foundation for brand marketing efforts.
      2. We Are Bowie Bold Graphic –The mantra “We Are Bowie Bold” and the Bold Block graphic provide contextual emphasis of the tagline. Use of the Bold Block graphics is not an alternative to the university logo and requires consultation with URM by submitting a request to the URM marketing project request form.
      3. Butch and Goldie Mascot Images –The official illustrations of BSU’s Mascots, Butch and Goldie, are intended for promotional use on flyers, posters, and other similar applications to indicate fan pride as BSU Bulldogs. Use of these marks must be approved by URM through the service request form.

B. General Provisions

    1. No official university mark or brand element may be altered or combined with any other mark or element.
    2. A unit may use its name with the university’s logo only as outlined on the Brand & Identity Standards section of the website.
    3. The BSU logo is required on all official university internal and external communications. 
    4. The use of official university print and digital letterhead, business cards and email signature are required in all matters of official university business. Any alteration of these official materials is prohibited, including any addition of personal statements, affirmations or promotions.
    5. The use of taglines, icons or graphics as logos or in logos for any BSU department, office, group, etc. is prohibited.
    6. Any use of university marks and brand elements in print and electronic materials, including email and social media, must conform to brand standards and requirements.
    7. Before production, all BSU promotional items to bear BSU marks, logos, or other brand elements must be submitted for review and approval to the Office of University Relations & Marketing by all members of the campus community. Examples of items requiring approval include but are not limited to, posters, banners, digital screens, brochures, t-shirts, swag and giveaways
    8. Only persons and entities licensed by the university’s Office of Auxiliary Services may use university brand elements on commercially produced merchandise for sale.

C. Use of BSU Brand Elements

      1. By University Offices, Colleges, Schools, Departments & Other Units
        Any content or materials (print and digital) developed, published and distributed to internal and external audiences to represent BSU offices, colleges, schools, departments or other subsidiary units are required to include the official university logo, and may not include any unofficial brand logos, elements or tag lines. Branded design templates for typical uses will be available from URM.

        While each of the university’s units has unique attributes that enrich the BSU brand, individual marks, logos, and branding elements may cause confusion, detract from, or result in a negative impact to the university’s brand and reputation. Marketing campaigns and projects intended to highlight the unique attributes of individual units, must be integrated with the university brand. Units should work with the URM team to assure alignment with university branding and strategic messaging. To begin this process, submit a request through the URM marketing project request form.
      2. By Student Organizations
        Registered Student Organizations must work with the URM Creative Team on any printed materials, t-shirts and items that incorporate use of official brand elements in the design to ensure they comply with the BSU brand standards. Designs should be submitted for review by using the URM marketing project request form.
      3. By Faculty, Staff & Students
        No individual faculty, staff, student or group may use any university logo or brand elements, or reference to affiliation with the university, to indicate support or endorsement of any matter not approved by the university.

        BSU Athletics staff may conduct summer camps and clinics but use of the name of the university or any title that would imply BSU endorsement or sponsorship (e.g., Bulldogs) is specifically prohibited unless the camp or clinic is developed and operated as a university-sponsored program.
      4. By Persons and/or Entities Outside the University
        The BSU logo may be used by persons or entities outside the university pursuant to a license, memorandum of understanding, or sponsorship agreement stating the terms and conditions of such use. Commercial licenses must be secured through the Office of Auxiliary Services BSU Licensing. Sponsorship or underwriting agreements with the university or any of its subordinate entities must be secured through the Division of Philanthropic Engagement. Memorandums of understanding may be established with approval of the President or Division Vice President of the partnering university entity.

        Vendors may be reviewed for product quality, business practices and evaluative criteria important to the branding process as a condition of licensing. Not meeting these guidelines may result in removal from the approved list of vendors allowed to produce items for Bowie State University. Evaluative criteria include an accurate and competitive cost, and quality of printed or digital materials like apparel, paper and digital representations of the brand, its logo, icon or wordmarks.

D. Prohibited Uses of BSU Brand
Neither the name of the university nor any BSU logo or brand element, may be used in any way that states or implies endorsement of a commercial product or service, gives a false impression, is misleading, or could cause confusion regarding the university’s relationship with any person or entity. Statements that the university is a user or purchaser of a product or program are permitted if true. Use of university brand elements are not allowed in third-party communications, including vendor websites or other communications aimed at marketing their products or services.

Neither the name of the university nor any university logo or brand element may be used in any manner that could adversely affect the university’s image or standing or would for any other reason be inappropriate for a public university. Such proscribed uses include, but are not limited to, the use of university brand elements in connection with cigarettes or other tobacco products, sexually oriented products or services, religious products, political parties or organizations, and firearms.

E. Violations
If a violation of this policy is identified, the offender will be required to work with the Office of University Relations & Marketing to determine the action needed, which may include termination of use and/or redesign of print and electronic materials. Repeated violations of this policy will be reported to Division Vice Presidents for disciplinary action for faculty, staff or students. With respect to all violations of this policy, the University reserves its right to seek appropriate remedies under applicable federal or state law.


Recommended for Approval by University Council – March 14, 2023