The Imagery: Still and Video

Images, like all elements of the U of G brand, should reflect the attributes and intentions of our Brand Voice. Imagery is an important communication tool for telling U of G stories. The following guidelines apply to both original and stock photography and video, and may be either conceptual, literal or typographic.

Conceptual Images

Conceptual images are best used as the main visual(s) in a communication piece to set up an overarching theme. These are visuals that communicate a specific Improve Life story by layering 2-3 images together.

Each layer represents a different aspect of the Improve Life story being told (i.e. the person(s), the work, and/or the outcome). The resulting composition tells a complete visual story of how an individual or group are engaged in work or activities that ultimately Improve Life.

Tip: Consider adding touches of one of the U of G primary or secondary colours when styling/composing imagery. For example, a red sweater or yellow raincoat, trees in the fall, etc.

NOTE: All of the below images are for illustration purposes only and must not be used in whole or in part under any circumstances.

Male student looks at laptop, image of cars going through a roundabout overlaid

Female student with glasses looks at screen, overlay of data and charts across the photo 
U of G chancellor, Martha Billes, in cap and gown looks up at four students in convocation gowns 

Literal Images

These are defined as singular images. Images should include a human presence. For example: person(s) as the subject or part of the composition or close-ups of parts of a person (i.e. hands, eyes, etc.).
Portraits of people should be in the context of who they are, what they do, or the story they want to tell. Preference is for “action” portraits as opposed to those shot in a studio.

Researchers in a greenhouse look at wheat samples 
Female researcher stands in a lab 
Researcher looks at monitor on patient's leg 
Students walking on Johnston Green 
Hand holds a tablet playing video feed of consumer shopping 
Female student outside wearing red scarf 

Typographic Images

A typographic composition may be used in place of images to communicate a complex message, provided that:

  • It follows the colour composition(s) formula specified in the Colour Palette section
  • It follows the font specifications for title outlined in the Messaging Architecture section
  • It follows the voice tone and manner specifications in the choice of words/phrases as outlined in the Brand Voice section
  • Words and/or phrases are clustered, aligned, and/or contained with purpose and structure whenever possible
  • Scattered or disorderly compositions that feel too organic are avoided
Tip: Fuzzy or pixelated images are the result of low-resolution files. Resolution refers to the number of pixels or dots that make up an image. The higher the resolution, the more crisp and clear the image. Image resolution is measured in PPI (Pixels per Inch) for digital and DPI (Dots per Inch) for print. As a general rule, images should be at least 72ppi for digital/web and 300dpi for print.

Typographic image sample of large bold words grouped together

Copyright and Legal Issues

As a general rule, copyrighted material such as photos and text may not be taken from one source and used in another without written permission from the owner of the material. University of Guelph employees who produce websites, publications and other communications material on behalf of the University are responsible for securing the appropriate approvals — including copyright — for all logos, images, artwork and text.

In turn, the logos, images, photos and text that appear in University of Guelph communications material may not be reproduced or expropriated in whole, in part, or in any other manner without written consent from the University; contact for more information.

Photo/Video Consent

When capturing photo, video and audio of people for use by the University of Guelph it is important to obtain consent. The University provides two forms for use by employees:

Tip: Photos available for use by University of Guelph staff, students and faculty are available on the University of Guelph Flickr.

For more information or guidance, or if you are looking for additional photos, please contact

Media Consent/Public Notice

Employees who are capturing photo, video or audio (“media”) on behalf of the University of Guelph are expected to obtain the necessary consents in relation to the use of that media.

If recording the media on university property where individual consents are not possible, a recording notice should be used.

A consent form(PDF) and a recording notice(PDF) are provided.

If there are questions or concerns about recording media on campus or the use of the forms, please contact