Syracuse University

Brand Identity

The visual identity of the private research university in New York is built around a typeface with a historical connection to the school.

Founded in 1870, Syracuse University is a private research university that offers the quintessential college experience on a beautiful campus in the heart of New York State. Pentagram developed a visual identity that reinforces the university’s exceptional heritage and academic strength. The system encompasses messaging and tone of voice, as well as a comprehensive brand architecture that incorporates the existing identities of the university’s various schools and colleges to create a compelling, unifying and consistent brand across the institution.

The identity is built around a custom and proprietary typeface called Sherman that has a historical connection to the university. The font was originally designed by the famous American type designer Frederic W. Goudy, who had a long association with Syracuse and its prestigious School of Journalism, now known as the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. The typeface has been redrawn by designer Chester Jenkins and expanded into a full family of fonts that includes both serif and sans serif versions.

Syracuse is recognized for its excellent athletics program, and the identity appears in the iconic Syracuse orange, supported by gray tones. The new visual language introduces a secondary element called the “S-band” that incorporates the block “S” of the Syracuse sports logo and is used in conjunction with the university logotype. The official seal was also updated with the Sherman typeface and redrawn to conform with modern reproduction methods.

Syracuse University
Brand Identity
New York
Michael Bierut
Project team
Jesse Reed
Chester Jenkins, type designer
Dress Code, video
Ben Feller, Mercury, strategist
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