Graphic elements


Incorporating texture as a graphic element in your design adds a tactile illusion, layered depth, and subtle hints of a particular tone or mood.


Campus textures
Textures influenced by materials on campus — such as limestone — can provide a sense of place.  

Grit textures
Additional grit textures can help create a layered effect in your designs.

Half-tone textures
Half-tone textures using dot patterns create added visual interest. 

Helpful Links

Subtle limestone texture

Campus textures, limestone

Close up view of grit texture

Grit texture

Halftone texture

Halftone texture


A 75-degree trajectory, based on Chronicle’s italic face, and a 15-degree trajectory reference Mount Oread and the greatness that rises from the Hill. All uses of the trajectory should move from left to right.


Trajectory use with photos
Judicious use of the trajectory in photo cropping adds energy to layouts. Consider using a mixture of images with and without angled crops or highlighting only one angled photo on a page. 

Trajectory as graphic pattern
Consider the tone of your piece as you choose whether to use solid or dotted trajectory lines. Solid lines express stability, while dotted lines reference collaboration and the potential for connection. You may want to use solid lines when emphasizing the history of the university but dotted lines with exciting research or traditions on campus. Dots should be round, not dashes.

Thicker confetti elements created with the high trajectory can provide visual balance and energy. Confetti elements are skewed, not rotated, so that the tops and bottoms remain horizontal.


Photo collage of students on campus

High trajectory photo enclosure

"Claim the chant." Paper confetti floating in the air


Celebratory photos of students

Low trajectory graphic pattern

Photo treatments

Duotone and gradient maps
Duotone is a style of treatment that broadens an aesthetic composition’s color range. It is useful when we need to place type against a textured background. Duotone may also be used to introduce KU brand colors into background imagery. 

Framing elements
Dashes, borders, and typography may interact with a photo in a variety of ways. A line may overlap a photo or direct the eye to a particular focal point. Typography or line work may be used to separate a photo's foreground and background.

A frame can add unobtrusive texture and draw the viewer’s eye through a composition. It’s also a layering element, which interacts with other photo or design elements to create a sense of depth. Frames can be a simple outlined shape or a background photo in a box enclosure.

Faser hall with a blue photo treatment

Duotone, dark treatments work well for backgrounds

Students lounging in a residential hall

Line interacting with photo elements

Students walking down stairs, light blue photo treatment

Duotone, light treatments work well for layering


Borders and layering
Borders and overlapping graphics, photos, or text may create depth in a design. Use borders and layering intentionally, without overuse.

Dividers and dashes
Line may also be used to create structure in your design. Dividers and dashes can build a visual pause or break, leading the eye to a focal point or separating distinct sets of information. 

What can you do at KU? Since we're more than a dot on a map and bigger than any square mileage, ask yourself something else. With its advantages at your disposal, its community at your side, and a history of excellence that stretches back more than 150 year - what could you do with KU?

Chunky line used to create emphasis

Example of text formatting on a website. Header "Enrollment Deposit" is followed by a chunky blue dashed line before body text continues.


Line used to create sections in a printed piece with the header "Ask the big questions"

Line used to create structure and hierarchy