SFU brand refresh, questions and answers – part 2

June 06, 2019

Can’t get enough brand?

Neither can we. And we’re back with answers to more of your questions from the brand refresh rollout.

In an earlier blog post, SFU Communications and Marketing focused on questions around brand elements. It was a substantial list. The answers can be found here.

In this post, we’re addressing questions around digital usage, accessibility and process.

Category: Digital

1. Is there a new Campaigner template in the works? (19 votes)

Yes, we are currently developing a newly branded e-newsletter master template made up of various components, which you can pick and choose from to build a template of your own that suits your purposes. We are aiming to have these available in September.

2. How does the new branding impact the SFU website look and feel? Some departments have older websites templates. Will there be efforts to unify? (11 votes)

We will be updating with elements from the new brand: logo, colours, fonts, headline styles, and photography included. CLF3 (horizontal) templates will also be updated with the new look and feel. We are targeting to have the template updated by September. If you are interested in adopting the new look and feel, make a request to move your site over to the CLF3 template.

3. For when we get to digital: When is it okay for us to start promoting the new brand on our departmental social media accounts? What about our personal accounts? (2 votes)

We are currently working on social avatars and cover images for social channels, to be available late July. You can definitely use these assets as soon as they become available, and don’t forget to continue sharing/amplifying content from SFU channels – most of which already reflect our new brand. SFU branding is not to be used on anyone’s personal social account, including handles and cover images. It should also be clearly stated in your social bio that the opinions you share are your own and do not reflect those of the university.

Category: Accessibility

1. Was readability and accessibility (i.e. dyslexia and English as a second language, etc.) considered when picking this blocky hero/title font? (16 votes)

Our brand is for everyone. Accessibility was, is, and will continue to be a key consideration as we roll out our new identity system across print, digital, physical spaces and beyond. We are working with experts to ensure these standards are considered as the brand is implemented. For example, on digital the colour and contrast of the new red is being optimized for screens and use in headlines, links and feature content. It is critical for us to let experts in this field offer guidance and ensure that our audiences share their own perspectives and experiences.

2. Do you mind explaining what your consultation process was when considering accessibility/legibility of design? (13 votes)

See answer to No. 1 above.

3. Red on red is a bit ableist, though, no? (12 votes)

See answer to No. 1 above.

Category: Process

1. We've heard from Beedie, Student Services and Continuing Studies. Has your team worked with any faculties or departments in consultation process or campaigns? (7 votes)

We consider faculties to be a key stakeholder in the brand project. When the project began, the consultation phase involved a range of stakeholder groups including faculties. This was followed by 20+ brand discovery sessions to develop our Brand DNA attended by various representatives from faculties – sometimes in multiple sessions. During the brand architecture and visual identity phases, the project’s core team included Student Services and University Advancement, which represent the interests of all faculties. When the brand architecture and visual identity work was socialized, faculties were invited to provide feedback on the early/developing work. As we roll out the new brand, we look forward to working with faculties even more closely.

Category: Other

1. You say the brand has room for creativity, but the logos have all been unified. Pls explain how creative faculties and departments can be. (15 votes)

The brand is made up of several elements, one of which is the brand architecture. Reconcepting brand architecture for an organization as complex as a university was a daunting task. One benefit we gain from the standardized placement of the red block in logo lockups is clarity for the audience. In some instances, it wasn’t clear that SFU units were part of SFU, particularly for initiatives that we’ve grouped under the extensions category. Extension logos do allow for some creativity, by using the DIN font in different configurations. The strategic decision creates a halo effect: extension programs benefit from affiliation with SFU and SFU benefits from demonstrating a breadth of offerings. Removing discrete emblems, icons and graphic flourishes from institutional logos frees up creativity to be expressed through the communication, not the logo. Our architecture creates impact through our combined, cohesive efforts in market and doesn’t rely solely on the resourcing of one individual unit. Together, we will build stronger awareness in market with a consistent approach.

2. Any strategies on how to have ads from each SFU unit stand out from each other, especially during recruitment time? Beedie and Continuing Studies ran ads and I mistook them for each other (12 votes)

An SFU unit can stand out in several ways:

  1. If you’re a faculty, department or school with an informal logo, we encourage you to use it in your marketing materials. By removing words like “faculty of”, “department of” incorporated into formal logos, and instead displaying your offering (“Continuing Studies”, “Beedie School of Business”) in bold, large type, your informal logo allows your unit to stand out.

  2. Choose clear, effective headlines that gets your offering across.

  3. Craft content that clearly explains who you are and what you are offering.

  4. List a URL or contact information that incorporates your unit name. Avoid acronyms.

3. I love SFU Vancouver's "intellectual heart of the city" tag line (both the copy and design). Are there plans for similar tag lines for faculties, departments etc? (9 votes)

When we think about taglines and SFU, our tagline is “Canada’s Engaged University.” For specific marketing campaigns, faculties and departments are welcome to use headlines or signature copy to impactfully describe an important differentiator, like the memorable “intellectual heart of the city.” Communications & Marketing are happy to assist with content creation.

4. As for reaching our students internally, how do we balance the notion of brand consistency and also allow the individual department/program to stand out? (5 votes)

See answer to question No. 2 above.

5. For those that do not have big enough budgets to hire a photographer, in the case where sfu brand stock imagery isn’t appropriate, how does one proceed? (3 votes)

A great first start would be to look at stock imagery available outside of SFU, select a few images for your specific project and then connect with the team at for some consultation and support.

6. How can units that do a lot of in-person events start expressing the brand in person? Particularly when those events take place at non-SFU venues? (2 votes)

In partnership with Document Solutions, we’ve created a number of pop-up banners that you can borrow for your events. Just email us at and we’ll set that up for you. You can also use the Powerpoint template or create pre-event slideshows that showcase our new look and feel. If collateral is useful, you could develop inexpensive pieces as a leave-behind. (And don’t forget your new business cards, available through Document Solutions.) If you’re working directly with Ceremonies & Events, you’ll find they also have a brand toolkit to utilize at non-SFU venues.

7. Can doc sol provide invoices with the costs either at ordering or pick up? Trying to find the JVs in FAST weeks or months later is a bit of a slog. (1 vote)

We will pass along this question to Doc Sol. Feel free to follow up with Mikhail Dzuba at

If your question wasn’t answered here, or in the previous blog, please have a look at our FAQ and brand element one-pager (above). As always, feel free to send any questions to