Most people recognize Cal Poly by our logo. The shield and wordmark together form the Cal Poly logo and represents us at the very highest level. It acts as our signature and stamp of quality. It is, and should always be, the most consistent element in our communications.


The Cal Poly logo diagram that labels the shield and the wordmark

Our wordmark is custom designed to reflect both the historical and modern facets of our brand. It cannot be replicated through typesetting and should not be separated from the shield.

Our shield was inspired by the university seal and designed to represent our core philosophy, Learn by Doing, as well as our iconic location. It pays homage to our legacy of excellence, and makes Cal Poly instantly recognizable.

The vertical version of the Cal Poly logo

Alternate Logo: The university typically uses the horizontal expression of the logo, but the alternate vertical logo can be used where it works best with a particular layout.

The Cal Poly logo may be used by Cal Poly faculty, staff and students for officially approved campus uses only. It is not for personal use. The logo should always be reproduced from official university artwork. Please do not attempt to create Cal Poly logos. Faculty and staff can download university logos via the University Marketing Wiki.

Elements of the Shield


Learn by Doing: Our core philosophy, present in everything that we do as an institution.

Sun Rays: Our sunny California location combined with the illumination of academic discovery.

Bishop Peak: Pays tribute to our unique sense of place among the chain of volcanic mountains along the Central Coast.

Quill and Hammer: A visual representation of the balance of practice and theory inherent in Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing educational philosophy has appeared in the university seal since 2001.

Correct Use of the Logo

The Cal Poly logo diagram exhibiting the appropriate clear space required when using the logo

Clear Space: Safe area refers to the clear space required surrounding the logo. The safe area for our logo is measured using the height of the “Y.” Using this system, the safe area distance will always scale with the logo.

Minimum Size: In all print applications, the shield should never be less than .4″ tall.

Approved Color Variations: The Cal Poly logo has two color formats: one-color and two-color reversed. If you have an additional one-color logo need, contact University Marketing.

A Cal Poly logo must appear on the front or back of all forms of communication. When appropriate, an official pairing, which may include the shield, the name of the college, department or unit in a specific configuration, may be used. The Athletics Department and official Cal Poly club sports are exceptions and may use official athletics marks. Anyone who uses Cal Poly’s logos or visual elements must read and accept Cal Poly’s trademark licensing guidelines.

The Cal Poly logo on a white backgroundThe Cal Poly logo on a light backgroundThe Cal Poly logo in white on a dark green backgroundThe Cal Poly logo on a photo background

Incorrect Use of the Logo

Do not recreate or modify the logo in any way. Please avoid these common violations to ensure the logo is used consistently across all platforms.

An example of the Cal Poly logo inappropriately created using an existing typeface

XDo not attempt to manually recreate the logo

An example of the Cal Poly logo inappropriately tilted

XDo not tilt the logo

An example of the Cal Poly logo inappropriately stretched

XDo not stretch or skew the proportions of the logo in any way

An example of the Cal Poly logo inappropriately placed over a busy textured background

XDo not apply the logo directly over a busy background pattern

An example of the Cal Poly logo in an incorrect color

XDo not alter the color of the logo

An example of the Cal Poly logo incorrectly used with a drop shadow

XDo not apply drop shadows or special effects to the logo

An example of the Cal Poly logo inappropriately moving the shield and the wordmark

XDo not rearrange the shield and wordmark

An example of the Cal Poly logo inappropriately coverted to white

XDo not manually revers the university logo, use the reversed university logo for dark backgrounds

Secondary, Tertiary and Affiliate Lockups

The university logo is considered the primary logo; the logos specific to colleges, divisions, departments, centers of excellence and affiliate organizations are called lockups as they incorporate specific details locked up with the shield and wordmark. All of these types of logos are designed by University Marketing and supplied directly to lead communicators across campus. Do not try to create or modify a Cal Poly logo in a design program.

Visit the University Marketing Wiki for a list of the communicators who have access to variations of the logo you may need.