Our library of graphic elements
We have provided a variety of graphic tools that create a unique look and make us recognizable. These elements shouldn’t be combined, but can be emphasized or played down individually to add visual interest and enhance our storytelling.
Like Fiat Lux, our motto, our graphic elements are all rooted in the ideas of light. Like white light, Berkeley is composed of a diverse set of elements. These elements appear whole when seen together, but can be broken apart and explored individually like light through a prism. When used consistently, these elements create continuity among families of materials. For example, a department could adopt one of these elements to be its primary visual direction, or could use a mix of two elements for all of its communications. Alternatively, it could use all four but focus on one element for a campaign, event or initiative.
With the exception of structural elements, never use more than one graphic element within a piece of design.
The structural elements are the nuts and bolts of our layouts. They contain key information, logos and other elements that create clarity, order and continuity in all our pieces of communication.
Apertures are created from triangles and work to focus on a single part of an image or add bold fields of color to a piece.
The tessellation is a pattern constructed of octagons, themselves constructed of eight individual triangles. Use the pattern to add subtle texture to layouts.
Prisms are delicate bits of linework. Use them on their own, or to magnify an image for emphasis or highlight achievement.
The structural elements are used to maintain consistency within complex page hierarchies. They should be used to contain labeling, wayfinding information and logos within documents.
The angular element can be combined with the diptych photographic treatment. Always match the point of the angle to the spot where the photos meet.
The angular structural element can be used on its own at either the top or the bottom of the page. When the angular structure appears by itself, restrict the contents to a logo and a few simple lines of text.
The angular element can also be used with a second straight structural element. When this is used, the angular element should only contain a logo. All labels and information should be contained at the top of the page in the straight element.
Apertures are graphic shapes that add visual interest to an image. Use them to emphasize a specific part of an image or to add color to an image that may not be completely engaging on its own.
When overlapping aperture elements, always set them to multiply in Adobe Creative Suite®. Never use more than three colors, and always use colors of a similar hue (like blues and greens, or yellows and oranges).
Use no more than three shapes when building an aperture. Always leave part of the photo frame open. This creates a “way out” for the viewer and ensures the apertures never feel like they constrict the content.
It’s possible for shapes not to overlap in an aperture. This creates a more open, cleaner layout. The advantage of the aperture element is the ability to create infinite layouts that retain a similar feel.
The tessellation pattern adds texture and depth when overlaid onto photography. The tessellation pattern should always be white, set to between 50 and 80 percent opacity in Adobe Creative Suite.
Use the pattern to completely fill an image that is textural or has no people. With no people, the pattern can become less transparent and, therefore, more dominant.
The pattern may be deconstructed when it’s used over images with specific subject matter, such as people or objects. When people are in the photo, always maintain breathing room between the pattern and the subject.
The pattern may be enlarged, but never so much that the shapes become unrecognizable as the tessellation pattern. Make sure that, collectively, there are always two to three octagons within a layout. Never adjust the point size or add a stroke when resizing the pattern.
Prisms can be used in a variety of ways — as a solid-colored ribbon, an outlined pattern or an image magnifier — to add visual interest to a piece.
Prismatic ribbons can add a pop of color or structure to a simple piece. The colors of the individual triangles can vary, but they should always remain harmonious with one another.
Used as an outline, prisms have a subtle, directive flair. The ending point can draw attention to important or pertinent parts of a photograph. A magnified image within the prism’s triangle can be visually arresting and add an additional layer of meaning or context. It can also create cohesion between a family of pieces.