Branding is so important because it is the way in which a company, organization or individual is perceived. Promoting consistency for the University brand unifies the UA family and makes it easy to recognize that something is from UA.

Keep the following in mind when designing:

  • Use layout, color, order and size to create emphasis
  • Decide what is most important and needs to be prominent (Usually the title, date, time and location)
  • Avoid text running off of the page/graphic
  • Condense text as much as possible. Keep the copy short and neat and use bullet points when possible
  • Keep the design between two and three fonts. Keep script or hand-drawn fonts to a minimum as they may affect readability.
  • Use consistent typefaces across all of your marketing platforms.
  • Use clean, easy-to-read typefaces for paragraphs.
  • Avoid all caps unless for the headline.
  • Ensure the design has color contrast, doesn’t have a distracting background and keeps accessibility practices in mind. Check the color contrast of your design to see if it passes.
  • Always have another individual proofread/spell-check.

Student Designers

Department heads are responsible for sharing this content with their departments, designer or their student designers. Communication should primarily be through a staff member and student work must be reviewed by a designated staff member.

Marketing projects should look professional, even when they have a fun look geared to students. Student designers should probably be junior or senior in communications (advertising or public relations) or art with a graphic design focus to work on projects of this level.

Need new communications employee or intern design training?

Email to request an onboarding communications training.

Print vs. digital

Images that are from the internet or social media are usually low resolution and will be blurry and small. Please try to obtain vector versions of graphics and high-resolution images for your design projects. You may want to take a nice camera to important events to have high-resolution images to use in your promotional projects.

Bleed and trim marks for printing

These are needed only if an image is intended to print all the way to the edge of the paper, rather than have a white border. Bleeds need to be 1/8 to 1/4 inch in size past the artwork so that the printer can print on a larger sheet of paper and trim the product down to the right size. They make a printed piece look nice, but usually cost a little more to print. Think of the bleed as a frame that will be trimmed off. They are helpful and sometimes required for the printer.

Image Quality and File Types


The major difference is that raster image pixels do not retain their appearance as the size increases because they have a fixed resolution – when you blow a photograph up, it becomes blurry for this reason.

  • PSD (.psd) – layered Adobe Photoshop document; use for retouching, editing and creating digital images
  • JPEG (.jpg) – use for online and print photos and artwork. JPEGS do not save transparency, resulting in a white box around non-square images
  • PNG (.png) – use when you need transparent web graphics that do not have a white background box
  • GIF (.gif) – use for web animation (saves transparency)


Vector images retain appearance regardless of size, since the mathematical formulas dictate how the image is rendered. Vector format is the best quality of an image or logo. If any logos for events or materials are made vector should be used. Vector is the best form because it is scalable, vector-based images are resolution-independent. You can increase and decrease the size of vector images to any degree and your lines will remain crisp and sharp, both on-screen and in print. Most promotional product companies require vector files.

  • AI (.ai) – Adobe Illustrator file; use for creating and editing full vector designs
  • PDF (.pdf) – use for printing and displaying documents on the web. PDFs can store vector information, but not all PDFs are in vector format. Open the file in Illustrator to confirm the use of editable shapes.
  • EPS (.eps) – use for individual vector elements like logos. Not all EPS files are in vector format. Open the file in Illustrator to confirm the use of editable shapes.

Web image sizes

Please submit all hero images to the communications team for review. Use good judgment on all other images for your website.

  • Widget image box (promo) – 720 by 430 pixels
  • Staff images – 300 by 300 pixels
  • Home page hero image – 1382 by 400 pixels
  • Hero images – 2000 by 300 pixels
  • Gallery images – No wider than 800 pixels
  • Embedded page images – no wider than 800 pixels

Creating QR codes

Click the links below to see how to generate QR codes from these programs.

Recommended Design Programs and Resources

Download Adobe Creative Cloud for free

OIT offers UA faculty, staff and students free access to the Adobe Creative Cloud design suite.


For creating publications. It is typically where you combine all of your Photoshop and Illustrator images with large blocks of text.

Best uses: Flyers, brochures, invitations, calendars, infographics, schedules, forms, PowerPoint slide backgrounds (typically .pdf)


For creating vector images (based on math formulas) that can be scaled to any size without losing resolution.

Best uses: Logos (creation, changing colors, etc.), Flyers, brochures, t-shirt designs, social media and web graphics, Invitations, buttons, infographics, schedules, forms, PowerPoint slide backgrounds, editing pdfs (typically .eps)


For editing photos and creating raster images (based on pixels).

Best uses: Photo editing (cropping, resizing, recoloring, etc.), social media and web graphics, PowerPoint slide backgrounds (typically .jpg)

Canva and Adobe Express

Both are great tools for quick social media designs and graphics.