Skip to content

Designing Merchandise

Following a few basic design standards will ensure your merchandise not only promotes your unit, but also advances the university’s brand identity.

Merchandise is any item that you produce with the intent of using as a promotional giveaway or for resale. This does not include everyday communications, such as posters, brochures, booklets, etc.

You must always use a licensed vendor to produce merchandise, even if you plan on giving it away.

Choosing a Logo

Whenever possible on merchandise, you should use a logo—either the university logo, tagline logo, or your unit logo.

Because space is often limited, unit shortcuts may be used on merchandise. Unlike in print, unit shortcuts may appear on merchandise without also including a logo. Aside from this and the one-color exception below, all other logo standards outlined on this site apply when designing merchandise.

When using your unit shortcut on merchandise, you must use the version that includes the registration mark.

Logo Colors

You should use the logo or shortcut in the standard color whenever possible on merchandise. When printing on a white background, the imprint will be two colors—Tennessee Orange and Smokey. When printing on a light-colored background, the imprint will be three colors—Tennessee Orange, Smokey, and white.

If printing on an orange- or dark-colored background, you should use the appropriate reversed-color logo or shortcut. When printing on an orange background, the imprint will be one color—white. When printing on a dark background, the imprint will be two colors—Tennessee Orange and white.

You may sometimes be limited to a one-color imprint on merchandise, due to budget constraints or product limitations. One-color logos and shortcuts may only be reproduced in Tennessee Orange or white on merchandise as follows:

  • Tennessee Orange imprint on a white, gray, silver, or clear background
  • White imprint on an orange background

Selecting Product Colors

Your first choice in merchandise should always be orange, white, or gray. If a specific product is not available in those colors, or if you have a compelling reason to use a different color, the university’s color palette should guide your selection of merchandise. You should never select a product in a color not in the palette.

If you are limited to a one-color imprint, you must select a product that is either orange (with white imprint) or white, gray, silver, or clear (with Tennessee Orange imprint).

Multiple Logos

As with print or electronic communications, you may not use more than one logo or shortcut in the same design space on merchandise. You also may not combine multiple unit names into one logo.

If you need to identify more than one university entity equally, you should use one logo, preferably the university or tagline logo, and list multiple units as part of the design.

The Color Black

Black is not a color in our palette and should be avoided at all costs when designing merchandise. Instead of black, logo imprints should always be Smokey and products should always be dark gray.

The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.