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Style & Tone

Layout, typography, photography, and editorial content work together to communicate the style and tone of New York University's visual identity and reflect the core values of the University.  Below are examples and contact information for questions.

Special Note: To produce the most effective communications and have the greatest impact, it's recommended that a department hire a professional graphic designer to create its materials.

In general, the following recommendations should be considered when designing print and online communications. The design of NYU communications reflect on the reputation of the University.

  • Simple Layouts
    Complex layouts are harder to read, scan, and analyze. Layouts that are clutter free are more professional and allow the reader to understand quickly the key benefits and call to action of the communications
  • Information Hierarchy
    Using composition, scale, typography, and images, you can design layouts that help the reader navigate the page from most important to least important information.
  • Use of White Space
    Too often we cover every inch of a page with text. This results in publications that are intimidating and difficult to read. White space is essential to readability. It makes the various elements stand out.
  • NYU Visual Identity
    The use of the NYU logo and the color violet speak volumes about your communication. It gives visual clues to the reader as to whom the communication is coming from, how important it is, and how much attention they should give it. Please have a look at the Logo Basics Guide for recommended usage.


Our digital archive of photographic images includes high-resolution versions for print and low-resolution versions for websites. The library is currently online at For questions concerning photos, please contact Jane Burke at the Photo Bureau.


Gotham is the only font used in the logo and all secondary-level logotypes. It can be used in conjunction with other fonts but should be the primary font for units within the central administration of NYU. As a machine font default, Arial is recommended for letters and HTML docs.

The Gotham type font family can be purchased directly from the type foundry, Hoefler & Frere-Jones, online at At this time the University does not have an institutional license.


The following attributes contributed to the selection of Gotham as NYU's primary font:

        In and of the City: Vernacular sans serif designed in Greenwich Village

        Influence: Architectural and commercial signage in New York City

        Modern: Strikes a contemporary and forthright tone

        Clear and Optimistic: Suggests the energy and exuberance of NYU and NYC

        Versatile: Offers a range of weights and styles for a variety of messages


Editorial Style

For information on capitalization, punctuation, and abbreviation, please see The Chicago Manual of Style, the University's standard reference. For spelling, word division, and helpful usage notes, refer to Merriam-Webster's Online.

In addition, we are glad to answer your specific questions at




Professional graphic designer's can, in the long run, save time and money by using their education and special training to produce communications that are effective and that have real impact. They can also help set up templates that clients can use to produce ongoing communications without having rehire the designer do it.

Influenced by architectural and commercial signage in New York City, this type style strikes a modern and forthright tone in keeping with a prominent aspect of the NYU mission, that of being “in and of the city.” A range of weights and styles is available in the Gotham family, lending it versatility and adaptability to a variety of messaging needs.

The University was unable to negotiate an institutional license from the type foundry. Because of NYU’s size, it was difficult to calculate the scope of use necessary to include in the license. You can purchase an individual or group license of Gotham by going to


You can not substitute Gotham in the NYU logo or any of its secondary-level logotypes. For MS Word documents and MS Powerpoint presentations you can substitute Arial, the computer default font available on your PC or Mac. 

Stock images break down into two main types, royalty-free and rights-managed. For royalty-free images, you are allowed nearly unlimited use after the license fee is paid. With rights-managed images, your right to use the image is typically restricted, with limitations placed on things such as duration of use, geographic region, and industry as established by your license agreement. The best resource for your photographic needs is the NYU Photo Bureau. Contact Jayne Burke.

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