Frequently Asked Questions

UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences

What is the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences?

The UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences encompasses UCSF Departments of Neurology, Psychiatry, and Neurosurgery; the Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases; the UCSF Neuroscience Graduate Program; and all of the affiliated departments’ sub-entities. The formation of the Institute breaks down boundaries between disciplines, allowing for advancements in the treatment of a variety of neurological diseases and ultimately improving the lives of patients and their families.

Will there be a new logo for the Institute?

Yes, a new logo for the Institute has been created, as well as an expression for departments to show their association with the Institute. Logo files can be downloaded from our digital asset library

Who may use the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences logo and how will it be used?

The UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences logo should be used when representing the Institute in research, academia and certain clinical settings. Several logo lock-up formats have been created so departments/entities’ associated with the Institute can represent themselves as part of the family. You can download logos from our digital asset library.


Guidelines to explain how to apply the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences sub-brand are available here.

Will my department logo change?

If you are in one of the affected departments, your logo lock-up will change to one that represents the UCSF Weill Institute. Logo lock-ups may be requested from University Relations by emailing Please include your department/entity name and how the logo lock-up will be used (i.e. on your website, in print publications, etc.). 


Some logos have already been created. You may download logo lock-ups for the main departments from our Brand Asset Library. For questions regarding clinical logo lock-ups, please contact Medical Center Marketing at

Do I need to order new business cards?

If you are an employee in the affected departments, you can order business cards that represent the UCSF Weill Institute when your business cards run out. Business cards and other stationery items will be available from Documents and Media in the near future.

Do I need to change my website?

There is an umbrella website for the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences,, that links all neuroscience-related websites at UCSF. All related websites should comply with UCSF brand standards and represent the connection to the Weill Institute using the new Drupal “starter kit” template. Contact IT for guidance on how to convert your website to the new template.

How do I represent the UCSF Weill Institute academically?

In academic papers, please list your department affiliation, then UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences, followed by University of California, San Francisco.

What's the relationship between my department/center/lab and the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences?

The UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences encompasses the majority of neurosciences programs at UCSF. If your department does research, education, or clinical care related to neuroscience, you are a part of the Institute. Thus, you will be asked to represent yourself and your entity as a part of the Institute.

UCSF Health

Who may use the UCSF Health logo and how will it be used?

At this time, the UCSF Health logo will be used exclusively for the Fall 2015 clinical enterprise advertising campaign, which will be launched on October 26. All other communication materials will continue to use the relevant UCSF logo (UCSF master brand, UCSF Medical Center, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, etc.) Broader usage of the UCSF Health logo will be considered and rolled out at a later date.

What is UCSF Health?

To continue delivering the highest quality care to more people and to better respond to fundamental changes taking place in the health care industry, UCSF is launching UCSF Health.

UCSF Health unites UCSF’s diverse clinical enterprise to ensure that the people of Northern California and beyond have innovative, high-quality, cost-competitive care with an unparalleled experience. Whether this care is delivered in the hospital, in a physician’s office or in a community clinic, the goal is to support the health and wellbeing of the populations UCSF serves.

UCSF Health comprises these major components: UCSF Medical Center, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco, the UCSF faculty practice group, the separately licensed UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland and Langley Porter Psychiatric Hospital and Clinics, Benioff Children’s Physicians foundation, and the joint ventures with John Muir Health and affiliation with Hospice by the Bay. UCSF Health will continue to grow its network through further partnerships and affiliations throughout the Bay Area.

By building a fully integrated health system, UCSF is creating the foundation for a Bay Area Accountable Care Network poised to begin enrolling patients in 2017.

When and where will I see the UCSF Health logo?

A television, digital and print advertising campaign for UCSF Health will launch in late October through mid November. The campaign will focus on how UCSF Health helps patients redefine possible. Guidelines for UCSF Health are being developed. Check back in Fall 2016 for details.

How does the UCSF Health logo differ from UCSF Medical Center and Benioff Children’s Hospitals logos?

The UCSF Health logo represents the umbrella for the clinical enterprise. UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals remain prominent consumer-facing sub-brands. At this time, departments should still retain the brand hierarchy established with both UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals. Usage guidelines for the UCSF Health logo and hierarchy will be explored and rolled out at a later date.

Why can’t I have a logo that looks like the UCSF Health logo?

The UCSF Health logo was created to meet an enterprise-wide business need to represent the breadth and depth of UCSF’s clinical enterprise. It is the overarching mark for the clinical enterprise and as such reflects an elevated prominence that is in line with the UCSF brand family. It is meant to appeal to a consumer market while still maintaining the integrity of the UCSF brand.

Can I create my own distinct logo?

To build recognition of the UCSF name among all target audiences it is critical to have a consistent representation and expression reflecting UCSF’s visual identity. Whether you’re a physician, a researcher, a staff member or a student, consistent representation of UCSF creates a bigger voice and makes a larger impression. Using a logo outside of the UCSF identity fragments our ability to communicate a clear message. UCSF’s brand system allows you to make the most of your association with UCSF. You can communicate your program’s personality in your materials by adopting a specific color or photography style to match the objectives of your department along with your relevant UCSF logo lock-up.

Are UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals sub-brands going away?

No. UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals are still the hospitals within the UCSF Health enterprise. They will still be represented with their respective logos.

Do I need to order new business cards?

No. If you’re an employee of UCSF Medical Center or UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals, you will continue to use the respective business cards. Business cards and stationery can be ordered through Documents and Media.

About the Project

Why is UCSF updating its brand identity?

In 2013, with the university community’s valued input and support, we developed a brand positioning platform to help us communicate the UCSF story. This brand positioning highlights the differentiators, driving forces, and key messaging points that give both the UCSF campus community and the outside world a clear reason to believe in UCSF. The brand positioning guide should be used when creating messaging for UCSF, and can be viewed here [link to brand positioning guide].

We then wanted to align our visual identity to our brand positioning, so we developed a visual system to embrace what makes UCSF unique. The system unifies all of the entities that make up UCSF and helps people understand who we are and what we do.

UCSF competes every day – for grants, patients, students, faculty and staff, donors, and industry partners. UCSF’s future depends on engaging these key audiences. Having a strong brand will help each of us to further engage and tell a consistent UCSF story.

How is this different from what we had before?

We’re providing a robust set of tools to help you tell the UCSF story. The visual system is a series of building blocks that, when consistently used together, create an emotional connection to UCSF. The tools include: an updated logo system to represent yourself as a part of UCSF; typography; a universal color palette that allows you to pick a bold primary color to represent your entity; a photography direction to highlight the distinguishing characteristics of UCSF; editorial statements that align with our positioning; and a graphic system to put all of the pieces together – so we can begin to look like a family. The brand portal is your one-stop resource to the UCSF brand.

Who was involved in making decisions about the new brand?

The project was lead by University Relations in collaboration with stakeholders across the campus and Medical Center. We’ve involved a core group of communicators across campus to help us make decisions to suit their needs. In addition, we’ve involved large groups of faculty and staff to influence the decisions made for the final guidelines.

Why Is a brand update critical now?

UCSF has an opportunity to take ownership of its intrinsic reputation and influence within the scientific and medical community, and increase awareness and trust in the brand with the rest of the world.

The timing for increased awareness is critical. UCSF is among the leaders in nearly every field in which it practices, yet every element of its core mission – discovery, education, patient care and our public mission – is facing increasing competition for limited funding. Over the next few years, those institutions that are able to clearly convey their value to funding organizations, supporters, top talent and, in our case, patients will be the ones that not only succeed, but flourish. In this context, there is great value to be gained by speaking with a cohesive voice, and a clear risk in not doing so.

What is a “master brand”?

A “master brand” describes the overarching brand identity of a company or organization. It is part of an overall branding strategy designed to create a close link between an organization and its entities. A strong master brand helps maximize impact and awareness of an organization. The goal of the brand identity project is to elevate UCSF’s master brand and increase the impact of the UCSF brand while allowing entities to show their individuality.

I work for the Medical Center. How will this affect me?

Changes to the UCSF brand apply universally – whether you’re a medical center or campus employee. We’ve been working closely with leadership to embrace the idea of One UCSF – so we can deliver consistent messages about UCSF no matter where we’re coming from.


How is this different from the brand positioning project?

The brand positioning project created a framework to helps us talk about UCSF in a concise and consistent way. It allows us to differentiate ourselves and defines how we make an impact.

Our visual identity reinforces the brand positioning. It ensures that how we look aligns ‘who we are’ with ‘what we do’. It deepens the impact of our brand and ultimately strengthens our ability to increase awareness and build loyalty with our constituents.

A unified look that communicates the full promise of UCSF will help:

  • -Demonstrate the power and impact of our institution

  • -Stay competitive and appeal to our patients, advocates and supporters

  • -Support our efforts to secure funding for research and education

  • -Foster pride and engagement in the UCSF community


How Can I Get Training On The New Brand?

UCSF Brand Training is available on an ad hoc basis. If you're interested in training, please email

What if I have a question?

If you have a question about how to apply the new visual system, email Materials can also be reviewed by the University Relations team. 


Why can’t I create my own logo?

Consistent representation of UCSF creates a bigger voice and makes a larger impression. We’ve created a system that allows you to make the most of the recognition of UCSF, and demonstrates the collaboration and inclusiveness that is such a part of our culture. You can still embrace a personality of your own in your materials by adopting a specific color or photography style to match the objective of your department.

Can I create an icon?

Icons are not currently part of the UCSF identity system. The system was built to create a strong visual message without additional art. Consider using other elements of the system – photography, color, or editorial expressions – to create the same message.

Will I still be able to use my current photo collection?

We’ve developed three pillars of photography – emotion, environment, and science that should be used together to communicate a story. Ideally, you would use a photo from each pillar to tell your story.

Many of us have libraries of photography taken over time, and many of these photos might align with the new photography direction and can still be used for your materials. A full description of the photography direction is included in the guidelines. Work with your communications contacts for guidance, or contact University Relations.

Will I Need To Update My Website And Other Branded Materials Now? Am I Supposed To Throw Away All Of My Materials?

We encourage you to embrace the UCSF brand identity system to help tell the UCSF story. Use your best judgment on when to change your design and order new materials. If you’re starting a new project, please use the UCSF brand identity.

Will I have to throw away existing inventory with the old brand identity?

No. If you have business cards, brochures, or other printed materials with the old UCSF visual identity, use your best judgment about when to reprint. If you’re starting a new project, please use the updated UCSF brand identity.

How do I access all of these “tools”?

The Brand Portal [] is the central location for guidelines, tools, and templates. In addition, training is offered on an ad-hoc basis to teach you how to apply the new brand to the work you do.

I’m starting a project and want to hire a designer. Do we have those resources?

Several freelance disigners have been trained on the new visual identity. Please refer designers to this site for guidance on creating UCSF materials. 

In addition, we’re working with a number of photographers who are familiar with the UCSF brand photography style. Please work with University Relations on photo shoots you are planning so we can (1) ensure the photographer you’re working with has been trained on the photography direction; and (2) help you with the contract so we can build the UCSF brand photography library. If you have ideas for photos, you can fill out the photo ideas form.

How do i get the new brand fonts?

University Relations has purchased a limited number of brand font licenses for UCSF employees who are directly involved in the creation of marketing and communication materials. To request a license, please submit a brand font request form to identity@ucsf.eduPDF iconUCSF Font Request Form_2015.pdf

For all other users, including external designers, these font licenses are available for purchase online: Helvetica Neue and Granjon.

For webfonts, we recommend licensing the Helvetica Neue and Granjon brand fonts directly from They have a range of options that should work for you based on your site design and traffic needs. Contact for guidance.

How do I request a logo?

Select logo lock-ups (the UCSF logo with a department name) are available on the UCSF Digital Asset Database. If your logo lock-up is not available, follow the process below for requesting a logo lock-up for your department or entity. 

Process for Requesting a Logo Lock-up.pdf

Do I need a logo lock-up?

Logo lock-ups are reserved for official UCSF departments. If you are leading a UCSF program, consult the program and initiative guidelines. Different solutions for internal program and external programs are available based on the audience you're trying to reach. 

What's Next

Will I need to update my website and other materials with the new visual identity?

We encourage you to embrace it to help tell the UCSF story. Use your best judgment on update your existing materials. If you’re starting a new project, you should follow the UCSF Brand Guidelines.

How do I apply the new brand to my [poster/flier/brochure]?

Templates for posters, fliers, Word documents, etc. are available on the collateral page. We encourage you to work with a professional designer to create custom collateral in order to best express the UCSF brand. 

How do I update my website?

In Summer 2016, we are rolling out new Drupal Starter Kits that can be used as a template for creating your website. Contact IT for more information. 

Interactive Colors

Why do we have five additional formulas for interactive color use?

  1. The University of California is committed to providing an electronic environment that is accessible to everyone, including individuals with disabilities. In digital environments where color plays a big role in accessibility (the greater the contrast, the better the readability), UCSF provides modified formulas for our master color palette to achieve optimal levels of readability across interactive applications. These color specifications follow guidelines set by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guideline (WCAG).

If I’m developing materials that will be used in both print and interactive forms, which colors should I use?

  1. If the primary usage is print (e.g., PDF document), you should use the master color palette with standard formulas, even if the PDF may be viewed online. Please refer to the Interactive Color Usage grid on page 105 of the UCSF Brand Guide for additional guidance.

  2. However, if you are creating a banner for both print and web, you should use the standard formulas for the print banner and the interactive formulas for the web banner; or you could select color formulas that are the same for both forms of media.

Where should the interactive color formulas be used?

  1. The interactive color formulas should be used whenever the primary usage is an interactive medium (e.g., website design or web graphics, electronic newsletters or announcements, apps, or digital displays). Please refer to the Interactive Color Usage grid on page 105 of the UCSF Brand Guide for additional guidance and for a list of exceptions.

What happens if we have both printed materials and digital screens in the same vicinity? For example, at a conference?

  1. Please use the correct color palette formula for each particular item (see Interactive Color Usage grid on page 105 of the UCSF Brand Guide for additional guidance). The five darker hues specified for interactive use extend the palette and complement the print materials. The mix of printed and digital materials will appear coordinated.

Are the UCSF colors different for print versus interactive?

  1. The UCSF color palette is the same. To meet the required contrast ratios, the interactive color formulas provide five additional darker hues. In our master palette, this affects the formulas for teal, green, blue, orange, red, and black. All other formulas are the same across interactive and traditional print use.

For logos and logo lock-ups used online, should we use the palette colors with modified formulas for interactive?

  1. No, all UCSF logos should be created using the master color palette. UCSF logos should not be altered because they’re being shown in an interactive medium. Please reach out to the Brand Identity team to request a logo if needed.

Should external digital advertising use the master color palette instead of the interactive colors?

  1. Yes, all external advertising, including digital, should use the master color palette. Leveraging the master color palette in external advertising ensures the strongest expression of our brand to our target audiences.

I don’t understand contrast ratio. Is there a way I can check my contrast ratio to make sure it fits within our guidelines? Is there a good color contrast tool?

  1. Contrast ratio is the ratio of the luminescence of the brightest light (white) to the darkest color (black). A higher ratio means more contrast.

  2. WebAIM (Web Accessibility in Mind) provides additional insight and good reference tool:

What is a 4:5:1 ratio? A 3:1 contrast ratio? When is it appropriate to use and what does this mean?

  1. Normal-sized text (12pt text) requires a ratio of 4.5:1 to be readable. The interactive color formulas include information about the contrast ratio. To achieve this, some colors (e.g., yellow and grays) should use black text instead of white. Note: Some colors (e.g., orange and green), when used knocked out of a solid color or as white text on color, cannot achieve a ratio of 4.5:1 and should only be used with larger font sizes (14pt bold text or larger).

  2. A 3:1 contrast ratio means that there is less contrast between the two colors. Therefore, text is more difficult to read. Two colors with a contrast ratio of 3:1 would be readable only with larger text (14pt bold or higher). For example, text in colors like orange and green on a white background or knocked out can only achieve a contrast ratio of 3:1 and should only be used with font sizes of 14pt bold or higher.

I am using colored text for both 12pt and 18pt within one website. Do I have to select the interactive formula for both sizes, or can I use different formulas as long as I achieve the required contrast standards?

  1. Either approach is appropriate, as long as you achieve the minimum required contrast standards.

What colors require a larger font size to meet UC’s accessibility standards? What if I want to use orange or green with 12pt text?

  1. Orange and green. White text on an orange or green background, or orange or green text on a white background, must be 14pt bold text or larger. However, those colors can be used with 12pt text if the text is black. All other colors in the UCSF color palette may be used with 12pt text or larger, although some may be used only with black text (e.g., yellows and some grays). Please refer to the section on Using Text – Color with White / Black on pages 111-114 of the UCSF Brand Guide for additional guidance.

  2. To achieve an appropriate contrast ratio, 12pt text may be used with colors such as orange and green only as black text on the color as background. These colors may not be used as 12pt text.

When should I use black text instead of white on a background color?

  1. When using lighter background colors (e.g., yellow, neutrals, white) in digital applications, black text will provide a stronger contrast ratio. This results in easier readability, in line with UCSF’s desire to provide accessibility for everyone. Using black text with some colors may allow the use of a smaller font size (e.g., one may use 12pt text with black text on orange instead of 14pt bold text in white on orange).

Can I create color formulas beyond those in UCSF’s guidelines?

  1. No, all UCSF-related materials should follow the color palette guidelines.