Website Standards

Websites are one of the strongest and most visible expressions of the UCSF brand, and including standard elements on each webpage leverages and reinforces our brand identity. The following UCSF web identity standards are provided to help a user immediately distinguish official UCSF sites from unofficial sites. If used consistently, these guidelines will create a cohesive web experience for visitors of UCSF websites. The following guidelines are a culmination of best practices that ensure a consistent and intuitive user experience across UCSF’s web properties.

Official Websites

Official websites are those that represent UCSF programs and contain content targeted at external and internal users and audiences. Examples include but are not limited to: schools, administrative and academic departments, laboratories, academic programs, organized research units, institutes, centers, units, Faculty practices, registered campus organizations, Chancellor’s committees and subcommittees, and the UCSF Medical Center and all of its organizational components.


Official websites are governed by UCSF policies and guidelines and are accessible through the A To Z Website list hosted on UCSF’s main website, In addition, their domain names must end with either “” or “”.


Select e-Commerce sites (those focused on facilitating transactions with third parties) are considered official UCSF websites. These sites provide products or services to UCSF customers in exchange for financial consideration either by credit card or other electronic currency. These e-commerce sites are publicly available, but the financial transactions are highly secure.

Two web subtypes fall into the classification of official UCSF websites.



These sites are accessible only to a defined group of the UCSF community (e.g. UCSF Medical Center or the School of Medicine). Access to these sites is controlled through IP filters or UCSF Single Sign On (MyAccess). Intranets provide administrative or unit-specific information and are not meant for external users or audiences.


Secure sites

Secure sites are Sites accessible to defined student or employee groups. Any proprietary software acquired must include the ability to incorporate UCSF web identity elements.


Non-Official Webpages

Non-official websites include those that are not authorized by the chair of the department or head of the unit that it seeks to represent, or those that reflect the owner’s personal interests, such as blogs.

If such websites are being hosted on UCSF servers, they are still subject to all existing laws and university and campus policies. Any site hosted on a university server may not be used to promote personal business or to provide personal financial gain, except as permitted under applicable academic personnel policies.

Non-official websites are not accessible through the A To Z Website List, do not have domain names that end with or, and may not display the UCSF logo or web banner. An explicit disclaimer must be included unless it is clear from the context that the author is not representing the campus or the university. The minimum disclaimer is: “This is not an official UCSF website. The opinions or statements expressed herein should not be taken as a position of or endorsement by the University of California, San Francisco.”


Web Starter Kits for Departments or Units

UCSF’s Information Technology Services (ITS) provides a free “Web Starter Kit” in Drupal 7 that is available to any department or recognized campus organization. The Web Starter Kit offers an easy website solution that adheres to UCSF’s Brand Standards and complies with the University of California’s Electronic Accessibility Standards.


Visit the Drupal site for more information or request a Drupal site.


Build Your Own Website


If you’re in the School of Medicine, the Information Services Unit provides consultation services for website creation and other technology solutions.


For more information, visit the Information Services Unit.


Domain Name

Register for an official UCSF domain name through UCSF Information Technology Services.

For more information, visit IT Domain Registration.



Drupal is the preferred content management platform at UCSF. This platform is used by the main website as well as more than 500 UCSF web properties. Hosting is currently subsidized by IT, and provided at no cost to UCSF web properties.


Security Standards

All UCSF websites must meet minimum security standards, as outlined by UCSF Information Technology Services.

For more information, visit IT Minimum Security Standards.


Screen resolution

Minimum desktop display resolution is 1024x768. Currently the most popular display in the U.S. is 1366x768.


Web Accessibility

The University of California is committed to providing an electronic environment that is accessible to everyone, including individuals with disabilities, and adopted the systemwide UC Information Technology Accessibility Policy in August 2013. Accessibility guidelines for web developers are available on the UC Office of the President website.


Brand Standards for Web


Use of a standard UCSF web banner is required for all official UCSF webpages. Standard web banner is available in five colors. This banner includes a required link to the main UCSF website.


For sites without a sub-brand logo lock-up that live within the UCSF brand, the UCSF logo is placed within the web banner alongside the logotype. Only sites without a sub-brand logo lock-up should use the logo within the web banner. 


To download web banners, visit the Website page.



The standard recommended configuration of the required UCSF web banner includes an embedded link to the UCSF search page. If the optional configuration of the banner (which does not include the “Search UCSF” link) is used for a given page, then it is recommended that a separate link to the UCSF search page be incorporated somewhere on the page.



All official UCSF webpages must include the UCSF logo. Websites should display the school, department, or unit name in a lock-up with the UCSF logo in the top left corner of the page.

For guidance on which logo to use, refer to the Brand Logo page. 


UC Seal

Use of the UC seal is restricted to official UCSF webpages, and even there should be incorporated only selectively as a background graphic, if at all. For most official UCSF webpages, in fact, use of the UC seal is not recommended. The primary graphic identity affiliation should be to UCSF rather than to the UC system as a whole, and accomplished through inclusion of one of the required standard banners.



The use of the UCSF tagline signature, advancing health worldwide, is exclusively reserved for the UCSF main website ( It is not to be used as a design element on any subdomains, in the banner element or elsewhere. Use of the tagline is permitted within the text content of the website.

For more information on use of the UCSF tagline, visit the Tagline page.



For live text elements on official UCSF websites, Helvetica Neue Light is the preferred type weight for all copy and large blocks of text. Helvetica Neue Roman is an acceptable alternate depending on the complexity of a site. Other weights (Roman, Medium, Bold) can be used for subheads, captions, tables, charts and folios. Granjon Roman and Bold should be used for headlines and titles. If Helvetica Neue and Granjon are unavailable for your website, substitute fonts are Arial Regular for copy and large blocks of text, and Garamond Regular for headlines. For text created as graphics, use the official UCSF typefaces, Helvetica Neue and Granjon.


For details on use of typography, refer to the Typography page.

Color Palette

All UCSF websites must be designed around the official color palette. For details on color palette usage, as well as rules around using tints,  refer to the Color page and reference usage related to interactive use.


Page title

All official UCSF webpages must include, in the title field of the HTML or other generated code, the name of the University, either in its correct and preferred usage in all caps (no periods, no spaces) – UCSF – or as the full, expanded version – University of California, San Francisco (with an initial cap for all words except “of”).


The name may be used either before or after the specific page title content, set off with a space, a dash or a colon as preferred. Another alternative is to use “at UCSF” or “at University of California, San Francisco” after the specific page title.


Some examples:

<title>UCSF Online Campus Directory</title>

<title>Inside Student Guide – UCSF</title>

<title>University of California, San Francisco | Campus Life Services</title>


University Identification

To ensure that UCSF websites are consistently identifiable and search engine are optimized, all official UCSF webpages should include both usages of the University name – “UCSF” and “University California, San Francisco” – as text somewhere within the page; e.g., the page title, the page content, in graphic element “alt” or “title” attributes, or in hidden meta-tag keyword or description fields.


<title>UCSF: A-Z list of websites</title>


Contact Information

All official UCSF webpages must include a contact phone number or email address, a link to such information, or a link to a contact form.



For usability considerations and for consistency across University websites, the following elements are recommended for inclusion in a standard repeating footer:


1. Copyright Notice: All official UCSF webpages must include a copyright notice referencing the Regents of the University of California. The three required elements of this copyright notice are: a) the word “copyright” or the copyright symbol ©, but not both; b) the year, which may be a single year or a range, and which for actively maintained sites should always be updated with the current year; and c) the phrase “The Regents of the University of California.” The phrase “All rights reserved” is not necessary, as it is implicit in the copyright notice. No punctuation is required.

Some examples:
Copyright 2014 The Regents of the University of California
© 2014 The Regents of the University of California
© 1997-2014 The Regents of the University of California

2. Update/Review Date: If your website will not be updated frequently, it is recommended that a “last updated” or “last reviewed” date is included on the website.

3. Link to Site Map


4. Link to Site Policies