Use templates first

Document authors are strongly encouraged to use our existing brand templates, found in our College's brand toolkit, instead of creating new designs in-house or with an external vendor. Where that's not possible, follow this guide.

Determine an efficient project workflow

To avoid rework and delays in the printing/purchasing process, it's recommended that document authors:

  1. Develop the document's content in Word.
  2. Get feedback from all subject-matter experts involved in the project (document authors, collaborators, funders, etc.), and incorporate their edits.
  3. Spell and grammar check.
    1. Bonus points for also using the:
      1. AP SyleGuard plugin for Word, if you have it
      2. College's proofing checklist
  4. Send that file to the communications team at for proofing and early branding and accessibility checks, and incorporate the team's feedback.
  5. Then, provide that content to the designer, along with any assets they'll need to complete the project, such as:
    1. Photos with cutlines/captions and alternate text
    2. Logo files, with info on which should be used when/where
  6. Work with the designer until you have a proof you're happy with, then send that proof to the communications team for a print release.

Note: A print release request should not be the first time the communications team has seen a piece.

Set expectations for vendors

When hiring external designers, be sure to let them know that as part of the final deliverables, we need:

  • All design files, such as the InDesign file and all fonts, photos, etc. used in the document.
  • An accessible PDF that meets the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA standards AND is brand compliant.

Brand compliance tips

Below are some steps to meeting those brand compliance standards.


The designer should use official University logos in the document. College branding should lead. This means it should be displayed first/most prominently.

  • See our College’s brand toolkit website for our logos, and how to use them
    • Common mistakes include:
      • Leading with program logos
      • Not leaving clear space around the logo
      • Adjusting the logo's proportions or colors
      • Incorporating partner logos without thinking through and communicating by logo placement and size:
        • Who is the program owner/leader? (Hint: It's usually our College or one of its academic departments or outreach/research units.)
        • Who provides significant funding to the program?
        • Who supports the program?

Document authors and designers can reach out to the communications team at for early brand checks and consultations on incorporating program branding or partner logos.


The designer should also use official University fonts in the document. These fonts should lead the show, but they can be accented by others.

  • Myriad Pro (headings and body copy)
  • Minion Pro (body copy)

See the University’s typography website


The designer should use official University colors in the document. As with brand fonts, brand colors should lead the show but can be accented by others.

  • Nevada Blue
    • Pantone: 282C
    • HEX: #041E42
    • RGB: 4, 30, 66
    • CMYK: 100, 72, 0, 73
  • Nevada Gray
    • Pantone: 409
    • HEX: #74767B
    • RGB: 116, 118, 123
    • CMYK: 53, 43, 40, 6

See the University’s visual identity website

Accessibility tips

Below are some steps to meeting those accessibility standards.

  1. Use Colour Contrast Analyser to ensure good color contrast
    1. Among and between all of the colors in any visuals
    2. Between visuals and the background color
    3. Between the font and background colors
      1. Consider the font size
      2. Consider the paper color, texture and weight
    4. When color conveys meaning, include a secondary indicator (texture, etc.)
    5. Limit colored text to titles, headlines, brief passages
  2. Add alternate text to or artifact each image
  3. Set the reading order in the articles panel
  4. Set the structure of the document using export tags
  5. Avoid rework by double checking that everything that needs doing in InDesign is done
    1. Subject-expert edits: Document authors, collaborators, funders
    2. Initial proofing and accessibility checks/branding edits:
    3. Spell check, etc.
  6. Export to PDF
    1. Check "Create Tagged PDF" (Print and Interactive)
    2. Check "Use Structure for Tab Order" (Interactive)
  7. Open the PDF in Adobe Acrobat
  8. Use the Action Wizard (Select Tools>Action Wizard>Make Accessible>Start)
  9. Run an Accessibility Check (Select Tools>Accessibility>Full Check>Start Checking)
  10. Click on each error to learn more about it and ways to fix it.
  11. Run all manual checks
    1. Reading order: Use NVDAJAWS or Adobe Read Out Loud (Select View>Read Out Loud>Activate Read Out Loud>Read this Page Only)


Andrews, A. 2022, Branding and accessibility tips for working with external designers, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno

Learn more about the author(s)


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