Logo Usage Guidelines

UW–Madison logos are protected by trademark licensing and must adhere to usage standards that maintain the integrity of the brand. The following guidelines apply to the W Crest institutional and departmental logos. Review our FAQs for guidelines related to other UW logos.

Download institutional logo   Request departmental logo


Two layout graphics showing internal co-branding and external co-branding

Multiple W Crest logos should never appear together. If several UW units are co-sponsors or partners, use the W Crest institutional logo and then list the names of the units with UW brand fonts. If there is a primary UW sponsor, use its official departmental logo and list the names of the other UW partners. If a UW unit is partnering with an external organization, you may include both the unit’s logo and the external organization’s logo, following approval from University Marketing; the UW logo must appear with equal prominence and be clearly spaced apart.


Examples showing misuse of the UW–Madison logo.

UW logos are protected by trademark and may not be altered. Do not adjust the colors, substitute fonts, replace words, reconfigure the elements, combine with elements of other logos, or attempt to re-create them in any way.

Buffer zone

UW–Madison logo showing guidelines for buffer area around the logo.

A minimum amount of space must be maintained between the logo and other graphic elements (including type, page edge, etc.). For print and digital materials, this buffer zone must match the width of the W Crest; this will allow a proportional buffer zone as the size of the logo increases and decreases.

Minimum size

UW–Madison logo showing guides for minimum logo size

For standard printing, the W Crest should appear in height no smaller than .5 inch. For promotional items such as pens, use a minimum height of .375 inch. Designers may use their discretion in circumstances that cannot accommodate this minimum height.


Two photos showing one good example of how to apply the logo and one bad example

When placing the logo over a photograph or a background color, it is paramount that the logo remains legible. Avoid placing the logo on a busy background and make certain that there is enough contrast between the text in the logo and the background to be readable. Reverse logos (with text in white) are available for use over dark backgrounds, where the primary logo with black text would not be legible.

Frequently asked questions

Can’t find an answer to your question? Let us know.

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How do I request a departmental W Crest logo?

You can request and create a departmental W Crest logo via the UW brand site’s logo generator. University Marketing will review the request and supply logo files within three working days. You can also search for existing departmental logos via the logo generator.

All UW–Madison departments/units with an institutional mission are encouraged to use the W Crest logo, which provides instant credibility and a clear, recognizable connection to the university. Unique logos for a department/unit must be approved by University Marketing.

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May UW–Madison students use university logos on business cards or other personal materials?

University students and employees should not use official university letterhead or logos to conduct personal business. There may be limited exceptions. For approval, contact University Marketing.

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When must the registered trademark symbol (®) accompany a UW–Madison logo?

The registered trademark symbol must appear next to UW–Madison logos (W Crest, Motion W, Bucky Badger) when they’re used on promotional goods and apparel — size permitting. Other uses, such as on a website or in a publication, do not require it.

Most licensed vendors will add the trademark symbol to the promotional item or apparel design for you. Alternatively, you may request logo files with the trademark symbol from University Marketing.

For a list of UW–Madison logos and names with active trademarks, visit the Office of Trademark Licensing website.

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Which UW–Madison logos and names are officially trademarked?

For a full list of UW–Madison logos and names with active trademarks — including the W Crest, Motion W, and Bucky Badger — visit the Office of Trademark Licensing website. Individuals and companies that produce promotional goods and apparel using these logos or graphically represented names must comply with trademark policies, including licensing agreements and royalty payments.

Revenue from trademark licensing and royalty agreements fund need-based scholarships for UW–Madison students called Bucky Grants.

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Which vendors may I work with to produce promotional goods and apparel?

All promotional goods and apparel using UW–Madison logos or trademarks must be produced and purchased through a licensed vendor.

For items intended for internal use (e.g., department T-shirts), UW–Madison departments/units are strongly encouraged to work with an internal-use licensed vendor, a subset of all licensed vendors. Working with an internal-use vendor ensures that your purchase can be approved and that your department isn’t being charged for royalties on UW–Madison trademarks. If a particular product isn’t available from any internal-use licensed vendors, contact the Office of Trademark Licensing for assistance.

A purchasing contract for internal-use promotional goods and apparel is also available, allowing UW–Madison departments/units to place orders of $5,000 or more with select vendors in the contract.

Please note, we are unable to issue a license to a new vendor simply because an individual campus unit wants to work with the vendor or has already placed an order with the vendor. The university’s licensing process is strictly controlled.

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My department/unit is one of several UW–Madison co-sponsors for an event. How should our logos appear on event materials?

The UW brand site provides guidance for co-branding with other units on campus or with external partners. For best results, the W Crest logo should only appear once.

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May an outside organization or business use UW–Madison logos?

UW–Madison marks may not be used by non-university entities, or in connection with non-university products or services, without institutional approval. Approval for use of university logos is required regardless of whether the entity has a formal business relationship or sponsorship agreement with UW–Madison.

For use of marks on commercial products, such as apparel, approval is granted by the Office of Trademark Licensing.

For use of marks on non-commercial but external items, such as non-university websites or publications, approval is granted by University Marketing.

For more information, visit the UW’s use of marks policy.

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May I alter the Bucky logo or other UW–Madison logos?

No. UW logos may not be altered in any way.

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May I use a uniquely illustrated version of Bucky Badger on my materials?

In limited cases, uniquely illustrated versions of Bucky Badger or the animal badger may be acceptable. Typically, these will only be approved for nonpermanent uses, such as a special occasion or a one-time promotional item. The illustrated Bucky or badger may not be used as a department’s logo or as a core part of its visual identity.

For approval, contact University Marketing.

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May I use Bucky Badger on my materials?

Bucky Badger, UW–Madison’s official mascot, is represented in logos that are most often used for UW athletics. Given Bucky’s long history as a spirit symbol, some nonathletic uses are allowed (for example, on materials with a student-facing or a statewide audience). If you are considering using Bucky on your materials, contact University Marketing for approval and access to logo files.

Note that the Bucky logo may only be used as a spirit symbol on materials. It should be treated as an accent design element that evokes UW–Madison awareness and pride. It may not be used as a core part of a department’s visual identity, adopted as a substitute for a departmental logo, or appear as part of another logo.

Bucky may not be altered in any way, such as adding clothing items or symbols.

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May I use UW–Madison’s athletics logo (the Motion W) on my materials?

The Motion W is the official logo for UW athletics and is restricted to such use. It should never appear in nonathletics materials.

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May I use the Terrace sunburst chair logo on my materials?

Use of the Terrace logo and other Wisconsin Union marks must be approved by the Wisconsin Union marketing director.

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May I use the Numen Lumen seal on my materials?

No. UW–Madison’s historical seal, the Numen Lumen, is reserved for use on official administrative materials, such as certificates from the chancellor’s office.

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May I use the W Crest logo without the “Wisconsin” wordmark?

Yes, in moderation — for example, when you are trying to use the logo at a small size that renders the wordmark unreadable. Another example would be using the standalone crest as a recurring element in a PowerPoint presentation.

In limited circumstances, with size constraints, it may also be acceptable to keep “Wisconsin” (or, for secondary logos, the department/unit name) and remove the “University of Wisconsin–Madison” line of the wordmark. For approval, contact University Marketing.

For most applications, the W Crest should be used at a minimum height of .5 inch.

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Where can I download UW–Madison’s institutional logo, the W Crest?

The W Crest logo — with several variations — is available for download on the UW brand site.

For embroidered or specialty print applications, such as on apparel, contact University Marketing for a specialized logo file (tan gradient in crest substituted for flat Pantone color 468c) or thread-color recommendations.

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May student organizations use UW–Madison naming conventions and logos?

Registered student organizations may not use any form of UW–Madison (UW, UW–Madison, University of Wisconsin–Madison, etc.) at the start of their names. The UW–Madison affiliation should be listed at the end of the organization name, following a comma or parenthesis. For example: Checkers Club, UW or Checkers Club (UW–Madison). All references to the organization should adhere to this guideline.

Student organizations must follow standard brand guidelines and trademark policies related to UW–Madison logos, including royalty payments on items intended for resale. For detailed guidelines, visit the Center for Leadership & Involvement website.

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May student-athletes use UW–Madison logos/trademarks to profit off their name, image, and likeness?

Use of UW–Madison trademarks by student-athletes is covered in the Temporary Name, Image, and Likeness Policy:

“Student-athletes will only be allowed to use University trademarks, logos, symbols, phrases, slogans, or any other University intellectual property to further the student-athlete’s opportunities to earn compensation for use of her or his name, image, and/or likeness, if those rights have been secured through existing channels and in connection with a valid agreement granting those specified rights. Licensing agreements pertaining to retail products may be sourced through the University’s Office of Trademark Licensing, to the extent the desired rights are available, and are appropriate in the judgment of that Office.”

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I noticed an outside organization or business using a UW–Madison logo (or an altered version of it). What should I do?

You may notify the Office of Trademark Licensing. UW–Madison takes the protection of its trademarks seriously to maintain the university’s reputation. The university works with independent licensing agencies and lawyers to ensure legal compliance with its trademarks.

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