The NYU city grid overlaying an aerial view of a city street.

Our Graphic System

The New York University city grid graphics were created to show how deeply grounded NYU is in the cities in which it resides. City streets are a representation of our urban spirit, and they are also a metaphor for the exploration, intersection, and movement of people and ideas at NYU.

 

The City Grid

This grid is the underlying framework for the graphic design of your content. You can break it down into smaller graphic elements, which you can layer within your content in multiple ways.

Using the city grid graphics, which represent New York City and the additional dynamic cities around the world where we are located, will infuse any communication with new and original visual points of view.

Graphic System Overview

At NYU, we are ready to explore the intersections where ideas and people meet. And in the city, small interactions can be just as important as the larger sense of community.

That is why paths within the city grid graphics can be pulled out or broken down to emphasize these micro and macro levels of connection and collaboration that make up the NYU experience. Here, we provide examples of how to use the many graphic styles available within the city grid.

Although we’ve mostly focused on the grid itself, it’s important to consider the space around it as well. Use negative space to help set the pace of your communication while drawing the audience’s attention to important information. Instead of interpreting negative space as something to fill, try viewing it as a tool to guide your audience through the communication.

Design Complexity

  • Simple: Basic designs layered on top of or behind most content
  • Intermediate: Designs slightly more integrated with other content
  • Complex: Designs highly integrated with other content

Pathways

We’re ready to find something new around every street corner. The single solid line represents our unique journeys.

Go to “pathways” design examples.

Personal (individual) design complexity (full-text alternative located immediately below image).

Design complexity (left to right): Simple, Intermediate, Complex


Intersections

The city grid represents the intersection of our urban centers where our campuses are located and the city within our minds that is a playground for our curiosity and inspiration. The solid city grid firmly embraces our roots in these cities.

Go to “intersections” design examples.

Community (city) design complexity overview (full-text alternative located immediately below image).

Design complexity (left to right): Simple, Intermediate, Complex


Community

At NYU, our connections extend past the city streets themselves. We are globally connected to a network of thought leaders, all working to make a difference. The outlined city grid nods to our roots while transcending them to let the content shine.

Go to “community” design examples.

Network (global) design complexity overview (full-text alternative located immediately below image).

Design complexity (left to right): Simple, Intermediate, Complex

Designing with Our Graphics

Pathways Design

Include an open-frame border.

The border can sit in any corner of the composition but should not connect to create a complete border.

A student holding a coffee cup in front of a moving subway car with an open frame–border diagram in the bottom-right corner.

Create a lead-through to important content.

Lines can be straight or take turns, depending on what you want to highlight. You can place lines at 90 or 56.5 degrees.

An NYU professor, smiling, with a lead-through-to-important-content diagram in the bottom-right corner.

Weave a line through imagery to create depth.

The line can accent shapes within the composition and does not need to be in the shape of an arch as demonstrated here.

A student in a busy Shanghai location with a path-through-imagery diagram in the bottom-right corner.


Intersections Design

Use the city grid as a background, frame, or stand-alone graphic.

Make sure to only use our brand color palette when approaching it this way. Refer to Using the City Grid for tips on how to incorporate typography.

A group of people at an urban farm with the city-grid-as-a-background-frame-or-stand-alone-graphic diagram in the bottom-right corner.

Pull out a path from the city grid to contain imagery or text.

Make sure the line goes from one side of the composition to the other and is anchored to one side of the frame. Avoid creating floating “cutout” shapes.

A student and a professor working in a sketchbook with a pulled-out-path diagram in the bottom-right corner.

Overlap certain paths within the city grid with other on-page elements.

This approach can help you create depth in your designs. Make sure the overlaying paths go all the way across the composition, instead of stopping midway through.

Two students walking on the NYU campus with a paths-within-the-city-grid-overlapping-other-on-page-elements diagram in the bottom-right corner.


Community Design

Use the city grid as an overlay on images at 50 percent opacity to add texture.

Make sure there is enough contrast between the graphic and underlying image so the treatment is apparent.

Vltava River and Charles Bridge in Prague with a city-grid-as-an-image-overlay diagram in the bottom-right corner.

Use parts of the city grid to create borders for content.

Delete any unnecessary lines to add extra room for content and make the border less complex. Refer to Using the City Grid tips for cropping and scale.

Independence Square in Accra, Ghana, with a city-grid-as-border diagram in the bottom-right corner.

Use parts of the city grid layered within images to create depth and texture.

Mask the foreground of an image on top of the grid using design software like Adobe Photoshop.

Two students sitting in Prague with a city-grid-layered-within-images diagram in the bottom-right corner.

Using Our Graphics

You can apply the concepts outlined on this page in a multitude of ways.

Integrate an Ultra Violet path to enhance your message or add visual interest.

The city grid can be cropped for various aspect ratios (across print, social media, and other digital applications), scaled up or down, and integrated with typography.