Advertising & Apps

The purchase of paid advertising is one of many tools used to build strong visibility and support for the University. Strategic Marketing and Communications is charged with ensuring that all University image advertising in paid media — such as newspapers, radio, television, Internet and apps — is compatible with and supportive of the overall University graphic standards and messaging.

Contact Strategic Marketing and Communications at the earliest stages of planning an advertising placement or campaign.  The department will ensure your plans do not conflict with or infringe on plans in other areas, will advise you of any special procedures or regulations pertinent to your project, and will advise Procurement that your planned purchase is authorized. Strategic Marketing and Communications can also provide design assistance such as templates you may employ, counsel and advice and, in some cases, custom design services.

  • Only Procurement is authorized to sign advertising insertion orders.
  • The University does not accept paid advertisements in its publications, websites or other electronic communications, or on University letterhead, business cards or envelopes. To place advertisements with the independent Xpress newspaper website for more information.


Executive Directive Regarding Advertising UED #10-36

This directive provides policies and guidelines for developing and placing image advertising in paid media.



As a state-supported institution, San Francisco State University has a special obligation to communicate with the citizens of California regarding how it is performing in meeting the needs of the state. In addition, given heightened competition for scarce state resources, the University must increasingly seek to complement state dollars with private funding.

For these and other reasons, the purchase of paid advertising is one of the many tools that can build strong visibility and support for the University.

California Education Code section 89005.5 provides that the name "California State University," and the names of all of the CSU campuses, nicknames and abbreviations belong to the State of California. To ensure that the campus name is used appropriately and with permission, University Communications is the office designated to give permission for use of the University name, logo and seal, working where applicable with the Procurement Department and University Counsel.

While faculty and staff, by nature of their employment, may use the University name, nickname and logo following the guidelines published on the SF State Brand page, the University explicitly reserves the right to limit its name, logo and seal in all collateral, including: merchandising, print collateral, advertising, and such electronic media as mobile applications and social media pages. This policy specifically addresses advertising. For guidelines and practices concerning other collateral, contact University Communications in the early stages of planning a collateral project.

Note that student organizations are restricted in use of the University name, abbreviation or logo in their organization's name, logo, or other identifiers. policy for any external advertisements purchased by the affiliate.



All image advertisements (all purchases of time/space in electronic, broadcast and print media, exclusive of personnel ads and RFP notifications) paid for with institutional funds and/or displaying the University name/logo must be approved in writing by the Office of University Communications. This ensures that messaging, graphics and call-to-action are consistent with overall University image and policies, and that all reasonable attempts are made to leverage best-possible pricing.

This policy applies to advertisements placed solely by University units, and to joint advertising with other universities, institutes or entities.


Scope of Responsibility

The Office of University Communications is charged with ensuring that all University image advertising and keyword buys in paid media such as newspapers, radio, television and the Internet is both cost effective and supportive of University graphic standards and messaging. 



All colleges, programs and departments that intend to purchase advertising must secure written approval from University Communications and receive the department's approval at two steps:

  1. Prior to committing to/purchasing advertising space.
  2. Prior to finalizing editorial content, images and graphic design.


Step One: Commitments to advertising

University advertisers should present a written proposal to University Communications, describing the advertisement(s)'s purpose, goals, audience, budget, medium, schedule, content and creative approach.

University Communications will notify Procurement when an intended purchase has approval, and departments may work directly with Procurement to contract for advertising time/space.

Note that only Procurement may sign insertion orders or purchasing contracts on behalf of the University. Orders or contracts for advertising or other goods and services signed by other individuals hold those individuals responsible for payment, not the University.

Allow ample time for review (a minimum of three business days for a standard advertisement, a week to 10 days for a multifaceted campaign); also allow time to resubmit your plan if changes are requested.

Exceptions: Advertisements for faculty/staff employment or postings of construction/purchasing RFQs do NOT require approval by University Communications. But, as with all purchases, Procurement procedures must be followed.


Step Two: Editorial content, images and graphic design

Advertisers should ensure all text, images and graphics are consistent with the SF State Brand, and should provide copies of consent forms for individuals featured in final creative, as well as valid licensing agreements for any sound, music or images used. Drafts of the creative content for display advertisements, transportation car cards, radio spots, television commercials and other paid media must be presented to University Communications for approval. Note that no advertising featuring a logo other than the Official University Logo will be approved without express written permission of the Vice President for University Advancement.

Allow ample time for review (a minimum of three business days for a standard advertisement, a week to 10 days for a multifaceted campaign); also allow time to rework and resubmit creative for final approval.


Accepting Advertisements

The University does not accept paid advertisements of any kind on its publications, Web sites, other electronic communications, University letterhead, business cards, envelopes or any other materials.

Items such as business cards that carry an entity's name ("Printing courtesy of...") can be construed as advertising and/or endorsement of a commercial entity. Faculty, staff and students are expressly forbidden from allowing such messages on printed materials, University Web pages or other communications outlets.

In rare circumstances, a "sponsored by" message may be allowed on materials. The express permission of University Development is required, and the message must be applied consistent with Development's guidelines.