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Visual Language

Photography and the brand

Photography joins design in visually representing our brand and engaging with our audiences on an emotional level.


Life through the IU lens

Photography is one of our most powerful storytelling tools. The imagery we use inspires and informs our audiences and shows them how we’re shaping the future. That's why it’s important for our photography to be true to the brand—authentic and uniquely representative of the university.


Stay true to IU

Choose topical subject matter that’s relevant to our audience and shows how we are taking the lead in important initiatives and shaping the future. When possible, incorporate topics that could result in evergreen imagery such as outcomes and leadership.

It's about the people

Students and/or faculty should be the “hero” (or focal point) of the image. Show them interacting in a way that illustrates how we are addressing tomorrow's challenges with confidence. Ensure their expressions and body language convey a sense of determination and conviction that matches the boldness of our headlines and body copy. When possible, use multiple people to show interactions or student/mentor relationships. Please shy away from stock photography.

Bring on Tomorrow campaign tips

  • Avoid campus beauty shots and stock imagery
  • Keep backgrounds light if you’re incorporating the trident
  • Ensure images can be used for a variety of applications (e.g., digital ads, print ads, social media) by shooting both horizontal and vertical
  • Choose locations that give your photos a sense of place. Consider spaces that are visually interesting, light and bright, and help convey our message of being innovative, cutting-edge, accomplished, and curious
  • Photos should have balance, but not all subjects need to be centered or symmetrical

Capture the heart of IU

student lab ttech
art museum lights
iusb grad
hammock magnolias

Let’s get technical

There are a few fundamental elements of photos. Every image is made up of framing, light and tone, and your chosen depth of field. The possible combinations of these elements are endless and can help convey meaning and intensify emotion in your visuals. Although there is no one formula for creating a certain emotion within an image, there are plenty of considerations to keep in mind.

  • Framing: where your subject is placed in the composition and how focus is drawn to them
  • Lighting: involves natural light (which depends on the time of day) and/or artificial light sources
  • Depth of field: distance between the closest and farthest objects in a photo that appear sharp, used to create focus or a wider scene
  • Tone: range of lightness, darkness, and contrast, as well as color saturation within an image


Looking for IU photography?

Find the perfect image for any project, from scenic campus buildings to engaging classrooms.