Social Media

When you manage a university social media account, it’s important that your profile maintains a connection to UW–Madison. Your profile avatar, account name, and bio work together to help users immediately identify that your content relates to UW–Madison. To help you, University Marketing has created downloadable avatars (universal and academic-color options) and compiled best practices, tips for how to recognize special occasions, and other campus social media resources.

Universal avatars

Below are several “universal” branded avatar designs intended for use by any unit on campus.

Red gradient


Black wavy lines


Gray gradient


Gray geometric


Red lines


Gray scribble


Best practices for your profile

Avoid using text in your profile icon

We recommend against using social media icons that include text for both readability and accessibility reasons. It’s best practice to avoid placing text (such as your unit name) on images, especially at such a small scale.

Utilize your account name

Spell out your campus unit’s full name, preceded by UW–Madison, as your profile/account name. If your campus unit’s full name exceeds the word count allowed for profile names, consider using a common abbreviation (e.g., Dept. for Department, UW for UW–Madison) and/or writing out the full name in your profile bio.

Remember that your profile elements work together

Your profile icon, account name, and bio work in tandem to offer full context for users. It’s important to remember that your social media icon will always appear in context alongside your profile name; therefore, it’s unnecessary for your unit name to be repeated on that image. Your icon’s design should be visible at small sizes and provide an instant visual cue that your content is connected to UW–Madison. Our universal and academic color icons add both colorful intrigue and additional information at first glance, helping to differentiate your profile from other campus users while accentuating your academic purpose and immediate connection to the university.

Questions? Contact us at

How to recognize special occasions

If you wish to recognize special occasions on your profile (such as program anniversaries or heritage months), we recommend leveraging the profile banner image. You can change your banner image as often as you’d like. Frequently changing your icon risks breaking your clear connection to the university and users’ familiarity with your profile, creating icons that are too difficult to read or inaccessible for screen readers, or breaking campus policy on logo usage.

The UW Photo Library provides thousands of free, high-resolution images for campus use. Be sure to include a photo credit in your profile bio (e.g., “Banner photo by Jeff Miller/UW–Madison”).