Brand Identity Policies
Use for Official University Business
Attaching “University of Michigan-Dearborn” to an official university event or publication is appropriate only when the activity or publication is one for which the university takes institutional responsibility. Faculty, faculty emeriti and staff members may use the University of Michigan-Dearborn's name to identify themselves. If using the university name in connection with activities conducted outside of the scope of their employment (e.g., authoring a book), their exact title must be specified and it must not be implied that the university endorses the product or activity.
In 1982, Intercollegiate Athletics took the initiative to protect the use of the Block M logo by licensing it through the U. S. Patent Office, and has registered other marks as well. University marks, including the university seal, may not be used by commercial entities or non-university organizations without prior written approval through the Trademark Licensing Office of Intercollegiate Athletics.
- Consumer Products. A license must be obtained prior to any external, commercial use of the university marks, including the manufacture and distribution of all commercial and consumer products. Applications for a license may be obtained from the university’s licensing agent, The Collegiate Licensing Company website.
- Fundraising. It is recommended that university units, faculty or staff wishing to use a university mark, including the university seal, on products to be sold for a fundraising purpose use a licensed vendor to produce the products and advise the vendor that it is for a fundraising purpose. The university has more than 500 vendors licensed to produce products of many kinds. These vendors are familiar with our marks and how they are to be used. They also are familiar with the royalty accounting process, carry the appropriate liability insurance and have signed the university's code of conduct related to labor standards. A complete list of licensed vendors may be obtained by emailing the Licensing Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Corporate Sponsors. Corporate sponsorships using university marks must be approved by the Licensing Office, including strategic alliances with commercial providers of goods and services and sponsorships formed with units and departments of the university. This provision does not apply to Michigan Public Media radio and television sponsorship arrangements.
- Local Businesses. Merchants may not use the university name or marks in their signage. Merchants may be allowed to use the name “University of Michigan-Dearborn” in newspaper advertisements that welcome or congratulate students provided the copy does not contain either an implied or explicit endorsement of the advertiser or its products or services. University images may not be used. Additionally, there must be no violation of NCAA rules regarding student-athletes. Please see the NCAA Compliance page on the mgoblue.com website for more information.
- News and Media Services. Use of university name and marks by news media for informational purposes to identify the university are not subject to licensing fees.
- Photographs of campus scenes, landmarks or athletic events may only be used for news and editorial purposes and may not be exploited commercially without express permission through the Office of the Vice President of Communications (OVPC) in Ann Arbor. NCAA regulations require that photographs of current student-athletes enrolled at the university may not be sold or used in association with commercial products. Photographs of former university student athletes may not be sold or used without their consent and written permission.
For purposes of this policy, “advertisements” include:
- Paid advertising from commercial or non-commercial buyers that are accepted for reproduction in a university print or electronic publication.
- Links to commercial or non-commercial sites in electronic publications, in exchange for revenue (monetary or in-kind) for the university. This includes links that are placed on a site in exchange for a commission, referral fee or percentage of revenues generated for the advertising company by way of those links.
- Acknowledgments of sponsorship arrangements, such as presentations in university print or electronic publications of promotional information on behalf of commercial or non-commercial entities, in exchange for or in contractual recognition of revenue received. Revenue received in exchange for acknowledgement may be viewed as advertising for tax purposes.
Advertisements will not be accepted for: alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, sex as a product, gambling or paraphernalia associated with illegal drugs or drugs other than registered pharmaceuticals. Advertising will not be accepted that is dishonest, that attempts to mislead the audience or that violates the law. Advertising will be refused if inconsistent with the fundamental missions of the university, in conflict with the image the university seeks to project or the well-being of the university community.
Each unit is encouraged to develop and operate under a unit advertising policy that is consistent with these guidelines. The university and its units should consider the following factors before entering into advertising arrangements:
- The unit has considered alternative sources of support for their missions before advertising.
- The advertising is consistent with the university’s missions.
- The advertising sponsor has a high reputation for quality in their industry and values and business practices not inconsistent with the mission of the University.
- The advertising is minimally intrusive and does not unduly divert attention from the primary information communicated in the publication or on the website. For example, Internet banner ads are not permitted on a university website. Third-party logos are discouraged: a more appropriate acknowledgment might be a small, unobtrusive text mention of the advertising sponsor.
- The advertisement must not convey university endorsement of third-party products or services. A disclaimer may be necessary to show that the university does not endorse a product or service if a link to a commercial site is established.
- Revenue-generating electronic links must fully disclose that the publisher will receive a percentage of proceeds from referrals.
- The advertising space is sold only by the university unit or their representatives acting on behalf of the university. University resources may not be used to advertise for personal financial gain.
- The advertising conforms to relevant sections of the Standard Practice Guide.
- Policy on the Sales of Goods and Services to Non-University Entities (Standard Practice Guide 507.8)
- Policy on Federal Unrelated Business Income (Standard Practice Guide 502.4)
The University name or images cannot be used in any statement, publication, or activity to endorse any commercial product or service, or used by vendors, suppliers or contractors in their marketing literature without express prior written approval. If approval is given, the university name or images may only be used in a statement of fact concerning the customer relationship and work performed. Statements may not in any way imply university preference for or endorsement of a particular firm, organization, product, or service.
An “endorsement” is a statement that includes comments of an evaluative nature, either positive or negative. Statements of fact (example: “The computing center uses Macintosh systems”) are not considered endorsements. Examples of endorsements would include: “product X is the best of its kind;” or “we recommend the use of service Y.”
Faculty or staff acting in an official capacity or on behalf of the university may not make endorsements. Personal endorsements in university publications (print or electronic) are permitted, as long as the author makes it clear that such statements are personal or professional opinions and not the position of the university or any of its units, and as long as no personal gain is realized from the endorsement.
Evaluations of products or services should be accompanied either by the identity of the party responsible for the endorsement or by a disclaimer such as the following:
“The University of Michigan-Dearborn and its employees acting on its behalf do not sponsor or endorse the following messages or advertisements for the products or services described. The statements and representations made in such messages or advertisements are solely the responsibility of the party who has issued them.”
Digital endorsement links to organizations external to the umdearborn.edu domain are not prohibited, provided all restrictions regarding evaluative comments are followed.
Please also see The University of Michigan Faculty Handbook, § 9.I, Product Endorsements.
While general usage of the University’s name is discouraged, student organizations registered with the Office of Student Life may use the name to signify the location of their activity. For example: “Chess Club at the University of Michigan-Dearborn” is an acceptable use. Generally speaking, the University’s name (“University of Michigan-Dearborn,” “UM-Dearborn,” or any derivative) may not be used in the beginning of any student organization name. Use of the seal in connection with any student organization is not allowed.
When considering if or how the university’s name or logos can be used in connection with a student organization’s name, the organization should contact Marketing at 313-593-5140, or email email@example.com, since specific determinations are handled on a case-by-case basis. Non-registered and non-University organizations and entities are prohibited from any name association with the University.
Many partnerships and affiliations that associate the name of the university with an external entity or agent are monitored through other mechanisms (e.g., mechanisms for research contract and grant review; purchasing and contract agreements). In the event that a university unit is considering entering into a partnership or affiliation that would include the use of the university name or images as a condition of the relationship, and the relationship is not monitored by any other mechanism, email Bailey Ayers-Korpal in the office of External Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org for guidance.
Because the University of Michigan has one of the most successful licensing programs in the country, there are strict rules about how and when to use trademarks and logos, and who may use them. These marks require a written licensing agreement for any commercial use. The Trademark Licensing Office handles licensing of these marks. A written release from Intercollegiate Athletics is recommended, but not required.