USC logo Standard

Adopted in 1994, the original academic logo of the University of South Carolina is a graphical representation combining the image of a palmetto tree (the state tree) and the gates to the entrance to the historic Horseshoe. The symbolic elements relate to the heritage and statewide impact of the university. The gates represent the opportunities provided by higher education and are a direct architectural link to the original campus Horseshoe. The tree represents knowledge and stability. What's more, the palmetto is an obvious tie to the state of South Carolina and underscores our position as the state's flagship institution with locations throughout the state. The use of the 1801 founding date emphasizes a proud heritage as we enter our third century of service.

In August 2011, the graphics of the university academic logo were refined to make it more web-friendly and graphically compatible with companion naming for colleges, schools and campuses. As the primary moniker of the university, the refreshed logo has been developed to consistently represent USC in all communications on multiple platforms, such as print, Internet, video and mobile applications.

A panel of more than 50 communications professionals from across the university system guided and tested the updated logo, which was then approved by the president.

Both the standard and linear versions of the University of South Carolina academic logo are available as electronic files usable in most popular programs such as InDesign, Microsoft Word and PowerPoint.

Click here to download a folder containing EPS, PDF and high-resolution JPEG files of both standard and linear logo versions.

It is critical that the university logo be used properly and within accepted guidelines. It must always be reproduced with its original proportions and should never be stretched or distorted.

Private vendors wishing to use these logos on salable merchandise must contact Collegiate Licensing for rights and terms of use.

USC logos

Why is using the university logo important?

The academic marketplace is highly competitive. In order for the University of South Carolina to compete successfully for students, faculty and support, we must build a strong identity that distinguishes us from other institutions and projects our stature as South Carolina's flagship and major comprehensive university. The University of South Carolina has distinctive attributes. USC is genuine, confident and friendly. USC is vibrant, ambitious and committed. When used appropriately, the university logo graphically represent these characteristics in a clear and consistent manner. In addition, its use builds brand awareness and brand equity.

Who should use the logo standards?

All administrative, academic, research and student service units of the University of South Carolina must follow these graphic guidelines. These standards apply to all external and internal communications, including brochures, catalogs, advertising, websites, email, mobile applications, as well as broadcast and recorded media. They apply to grant proposals, PowerPoint presentations, policy statements, posters, banners, stationery and invitations to name a few examples. Private vendors wishing to use the logo on salable merchandise must contact Collegiate Licensing for rights and terms of use.

General Rules of Usage

The approved university logo should be used conspicuously on all university communications, preferably on the front cover of the printed materials, on all pages of websites and opening and closing frames of all video and broadcast spots. The university logo is a registered trademark and cannot be altered in any way. The logo must always be reproduced using an official electronic file. It should not be redrawn or reset in different fonts. The proportions and spacing of the logo must remain constant and file images should not be stretched or distorted.

Size and Placement

Size minimums are specified to ensure legibility in various media. The size specifications shown below are appropriate for print. Larger minimum sizes may be necessary for other media such as video and film, or products that require specialized manufacturing, such as embroidered apparel. There may be situations where the logo will need to appear smaller than the minimum shown here (e.g., lapel pins, pens and pencils, CD spine labels). Contact University Creative Services for guidance.


A specified clear space ensures the integrity and impact of the University of South Carolina logo. There may be cases where it is difficult to allow the full recommended clear space (e.g., a very small display ad), and your best judgment should prevail.

Size and placement of logo

Color Variations

The visual identity can appear in two or one color versions, using the following guidelines. All two-color options must show the palmetto tree symbol and "UNIVERSITY OF" in black and "SOUTH CAROLINA" in garnet. A one-color reproduction of the logo must appear in all black on a light color background or all white on a dark color background. When the palmetto tree symbol is used alone, without the word mark, the symbol can be shown in all garnet, black or reversed in white.