Brand Strategy

The department of brand strategy is responsible for maintaining the integrity of The University of Alabama brand. The role of the director of brand strategy includes reviewing all external marketing and advertising collateral submitted by campus entities through the branding and licensing approval form.
The recent addition of a university editor to the department provides an increased focus on quality control, especially for high profile campaigns and marketing and advertising materials to be consumed by a large audience.

As a reminder, the UA System office requires that all advertising and marketing materials are submitted for review and approval prior to purchase or placement. This includes, but is not limited to, print advertising, brochures and other materials, giveaway/promotional items, invitations, digital ads and graphics, radio and television ads, billboards, magazines and other promotional materials.

Artwork and quotes should be submitted via the Branding and Licensing Approval form. This form should be completed even if Strategic Communications assisted in the design process as it is also reviewed by Procurement Services and Trademark Licensing.

All external advertising and marketing expenditures above $15,000 will require review and approval by Strategic Communications. Applicable expenditures include: billboards, TV and radio advertisements, internet and digital marketing, advertisements in non-UA printed publications (newspapers, magazines, etc.), public relations and marketing consulting expenses, sponsorships of events and promotional (swag) items and t-shirts. For items above $15,000, please submit this form to and attach the final approved form to your Branding and Licensing Approval form. If you do not include this approved form for expenses over $15,000, you will receive an email from Jennifer Rodrigues with the form to fill out before the review process can continue. Please allow an additional three days for branding and licensing review for expenses above $15,000.

For questions regarding the brand approval process or for access to UA logos and design templates, please contact Jennifer Rodrigues, director of brand strategy, at 348-5768 or

For assistance with completing the Branding and Licensing Approval Form, please review the User Guide.



What is the purpose of the Branding and Licensing Approval form?

The UA System office requires that all University of Alabama entities submit marketing and advertising materials for review prior to purchase or placement. This includes, but is not limited to, print advertising, brochures and other materials, giveaway/promotional items, invitations, digital ads and graphics, radio and television ads, billboards, magazines and other promotional materials. UA’s Division of Strategic Communications, Trademark Licensing and Procurement Services have joined together to help University departments and organizations protect and enhance the University’s reputation by ensuring public-facing advertisements and promotional items adhere to the approved graphic standards.

What if we are not using any UA logos?

Anything that references the University in any way needs to go through the approval process. This includes departmental logos, word marks and logos for events funded by the University.

If you have a valid reason for not using a logo or referencing the University in any way please contact Meagan Stockton,, in Purchasing prior to placing any orders. You may still need to submit the Branding and Licensing Approval form to get the approval to not reference UA.

What is a trademark?

A trademark or service mark is a name, design, seal, insignia or other symbol that an entity uses to identify and distinguish itself and its goods and services from those of another entity, or to indicate to the public its authorization, sponsorship or affiliation with the provider of goods or services.

Where can I find UA's Brand Guidelines?

For the current branding guidelines, please review UA’s Graphic Standards.

Do I need to fill out a form for each item being purchased?

No, you can fill out one approval form per quote. If you are using the same vendor, you can submit multiple items on the same form.

Why do we need to fill out this form if we are using the contract vendor?

Representatives for Strategic Communications and the Trademark Licensing office will still need to review the actual artwork being used to be sure it is in compliance with all branding and licensing regulations.

Why do I have to submit the form if Strategic Communications created the artwork for us?

The form will still need to be completed because Procurement Services and Trademark Licensing are included in the approval process.

How does the approval process work?

Once you submit the Branding and Licensing Approval form, the form is routed to and reviewed by Strategic Communications. If approved, the form will advance to Trademark Licensing (if the collateral is a promotional item/apparel or contains Athletics-specific logos) or Procurement Services. If the form requires Trademark Licensing approval, the form will route to Procurement Services following that approval. You can track the status of your approval from the confirmation email you receive that contains a link to the status page. You may view any pending approval forms on that page.

How long does the approval process take?

Most approvals are completed in 2-3 business days as long as both the quote and the artwork are submitted with the form and there are no issues. If there are vendor or cost issues, you will be contacted by either Trademark Licensing or Procurement Services. If there are issues pertaining to the artwork, you will be contacted by Strategic Communications and/or Trademark Licensing. Issues with the submitted materials can delay the process of approval, and that delay depends on how quickly the issues are resolved.

How do I know if I am approved to print or place my order?

Procurement Services is the final approval in the process. Once that representative has approved, you will receive an email with an attached PDF of your completed form. Please save that form and attach it to your Concur Expense Report or Payment Request.

I can't find my approval form to attach in Concur, what do I do?

First, please search your inbox for emails from Emails from that address may be in your junk/spam folder. If you can’t find the original email with the form, please contact Meagan Stockton,, in Purchasing with the date the form was submitted and the name of the person who submitted the form. She may be able to retrieve the form for you.

What happens if my form is declined?

If the form is declined, there will be comments posted from the administrator noted on the form as well as in the email notification. Please make the required adjustment and resubmit the form. The form will resubmit just to the administrator who declined the form. For instance, if Strategic Communications approved the form, but it is declined by Procurement Services because of a cost issue, the form will not require another approval by Strategic Communications. For this reason, please do not submit a new form, or it will need to route through the entire process again.

My vendor said they already received approval for my promotional items or t-shirts. Do I need to fill out the Branding and Licensing Approval form?

Yes. The vendor will receive approval through IMG College Licensing, but you will still need to submit UA’s Branding and Licensing Approval form because Strategic Communications and Procurement Services are not included in the IMG process. The IMG form cannot be submitted as approval in Concur. Vendor approval in the IMG College Licensing system is not a guarantee for approval within UA’s internal approval system.

The vendor I want to use is not licensed, what is the process?

Refer the vendor to the Trademark Licensing Website for more information.

What if an unlicensed vendor is the only one who can produce this item and we must have it?

Please fill out the Branding and Licensing Approval form and contact Paul Mills,, to discuss.

Do student groups need to fill out the Branding and Licensing Approval form?

Student groups officially recognized by The Source will need to fill out the Branding and Licensing Approval form if UA funds are being used to purchase items such as t-shirts and promotional items. If UA funds are not being used, please email the artwork to and for approval prior to purchase. Please note that regardless of how the items are being paid for, a licensed vendor must be used. Please review the list of licensed vendors.

I am presenting at a conference and will have a PowerPoint presentation. Do I need to have that approved?

While PowerPoint presentations do not need to be submitted and approved via the Branding and Licensing Approval form, we recommend using one of the templates found on the UA Strategic Communications website. These templates will ensure you are utilizing the correct logos and color schemes for the University. Various design templates can be found at the Brand Portal.

My college/department is sponsoring a conference. What do I need to submit for approval?

Sponsorships must be approved by the Director of Accounts Payable as per the University’s Spending Policy. Prior to requesting the sponsorship approval from Accounts Payable, a Branding and Licensing Approval form is required to approve the use of the logo or word mark. When submitting the Branding and Licensing Approval form, please include the logo or collateral you intend to have the conference or entity display as well as documentation showing the cost of the sponsorship. If you are sponsoring an insert, flyer or ad that will be created at a later date and need initial approval for the sponsorship, please indicate that in the comments and then email with the final artwork once completed and before it is sent on to the conference. Please note: Per UA Graphic Standards, if you use a Capstone A version of your identifier, it must be accompanied by the UA nameplate. To have a logo created that includes both the Capstone A version of your logo and the nameplate in one file, please fill out the Identifier Request Form.

I am soliciting participants for my research and IRB indicated I need to have my flyer approved by Strategic Communications. Many of the fields on the Branding and Licensing Approval form do not pertain to my flyer, what should I do?

You don’t have to fill out the Branding and Licensing Approval form for research flyers. You can email your flyer directly to or

Are templates available for research solicitations?

Yes, Strategic Communications has developed several research flyers you can download and customize. The flyers, which are created in Word, can be found under Resources on the Brand Portal.

What are the guidelines as it pertains to t-shirt colors?

As noted in UA’s Graphic Standards, it is recommended that t-shirts utilize our school colors palette of crimson, white, gray and black. Exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis with documentation as to the reasoning for a different color. For shirts utilized specifically for staff uniforms, recruitment, retention, orientation and community service efforts, the school colors palette should be used in all cases.