University of Minnesota
University Relations
Our Brand: How to Convey It

Our Brand: How to Convey It.


What's New

Electronic Communications Tools

Many of the electronic tools we use for communications are changing. The information below has been gathered here to help communicators plan their strategies.

Use this information in combination with the resource links. If you still have questions, use the email contact information associated with the tool.


When to Use Drupal

There are many things to consider before deciding to build a website using Drupal. IT and University Relations are working together to provide a way to help communicators and web developers make this decision. Information that will help units determine what kind of tool to use for their web communications needs will be published as soon as it's available.

Branding and Communications

The University’s Drupal base theme includes the approved web header and footer for all campuses.

In spring 2015, the redesigned web header and footer will be updated to coincide with the launch of the new MyU. Updated headers and footers will be added to Drupal and instructions for updating Drupal sites will be circulated to those units using the U’s Drupal. For more information, see the Web Header and Footer Update page.

For questions related to branding in the U’s Drupal, contact


Transition Status

UMContent will be available through fall 2015. Find updated information about the transition to Drupal on IT's Website Content page.

For More Information

Google Sites

When to Use Google Sites

Google Sites may be used for official University business according to the following guidelines:

  • Official sites must be set up using the unit's gmail account, not a personal gmail account
  • An approved header and footer must be used—see Choosing a template.
  • Never use a Google Site for FERPA, HIPAA, or other private data.
  • Set permissions for the site according to the permission guidelines.
  • Professional activities should never be coupled with personal activities; all personal business must be on a separate personal site that does not include University branding.
  • Faculty or staff using Google Sites to communicate professional activities associated with the U should use an official header and footer and may use their University Gmail account to set up the site.

Find more information about Google Sites templates, recommended permission settings, and other guidelines on the Google Apps Templates and Guidelines site.

Google Sites exception for Academic Health Center (AHC) employees: Before creating a Google Site, AHC employees will need to complete an exception form. If the Google Site will have multiple editors, those individuals will also need to complete an exception form. Anyone will be able to view a public Google Site. If you wish to create a Google Site that is only accessible to specific people, all of those people who are AHC employees will need to request an exception.

Branding and Communications

There are two approved Google sites templates available (one responsive, one fixed-width) that use a modified web header and footer. The templates should be applied to your Google site before you build the site. More information about the templates and their use can be found on the Google Apps Templates and Guidelines site.

Note: Apply the template to your Google Site as a first step. It is not easily possible to brand an existing Google Site.

For questions related to creating, structuring, and formatting a Google Site, see these resources:

For questions about branding on Google Sites, contact


For More Information

Mass Email

When to Use Mass Email

Mass email should be used sparingly when communicating with University audiences. Always consider alternatives to mass email first, such as:

  • MyU portal
  • Brief
  • Department communications, such as newsletters
  • Undergraduate Update/Graduate & Professional Student Update

Branding and Communications

Branding requirements depend on the mass email tool being used. For email sent using Lyris, it’s recommended that units use the branded mass email template available for download on the Our Brand website. For messages sent using ExactTarget, there is a branded email built into the tool that should be used.

For messages that cannot include HTML, such as those sent to a Google Group or Listserv using Gmail, units must include either a wordmark graphic at the top of the message or “University of Minnesota” in text at the top of the email. These requirements and guidelines pertain to mass email that is sent as part of University business, not personal email.

Exact Target

Branded responsive templates are within ExactTarget. ExactTarget should be used for email that is sent to external audiences and when it’s necessary to send an HTML email and receive tracking data such as open rates and click-through rates.

Google Groups

Google Groups is an approved tool for sending University mass email. A Google Group can be created for internal University audiences and/or external audiences. Google Groups cannot send HTML email. Messages sent using Google Groups must include “University of Minnesota” in text at the top of the email.

For more information, see Mass Email Requirements and Guidelines. For questions related to branding mass email, contact

Transition Status

ExactTarget will replace Lyris in phases throughout 2014-15. Usability has been completed and training is being developed. Training information will be available on the service transition page and on the Technology Training website when available.

Find mass email transition status updates on IT's Email Services page.

For More Information


When to Use a Blog

IT is working to provide a way to help communicators and web developers make appropriate decisions about web content management. A link to information that will help units determine what kind of tool to use for their web communications needs will be published here as soon as it's available.

Branding and Communications

Google Blogger

Branded resources are available for Google Blogger. Templates cannot be created within Blogger itself. To brand a blog, begin with the instructions on the Google Apps Templates and Guidelines site.

Note: Apply the template to your blog as a first step. It's possible, though not as easy, to brand an existing blog. Steps for doing so are outlined in the instructions on the "Using the UMN Blogger Template" page.

Transition Status

The UThink blogs will be decommissioned June 30, 2015. Creation of new blogs in UThink has been disabled in preparation for the decommission. Find ongoing updates about transition status on IT's Web Portals & Blogs page.

For More Information

Events Calendar

The current events calendar system is being replaced with a new events calendar and registration service, built with AudienceView Community. You can view the new calendar at Basic ticket sales options will be available in the new events calendar, with a separate service for more advanced ticketing options.

Timeline for implementation of the new University of Minnesota Events Calendar:

March - May 2015: Pilot groups
May - June 2015: All units transition to new calendar
July 1, 2015: All events past July 1 should be listed on the new calendar

If you have questions about the new calendar please email


When to Use MyU

University Relations is working with MyU portal project staff to develop internal communications guidelines for the new MyU. These guidelines will be posted here as soon as they're available.

Transition Status

Units that have information in the current myU have been contacted about transitioning their content. If you have not been contacted, please email The new MyU is scheduled to go live in April 2015.

For More Information

Header and Footer Update Status

To find out what's going on with the U's header and footer updates, see the information and timeline on the Web Header and Footer Update page.