Virginia Tech®home

Design Elements

Decorative graphic for design elements

Our design elements are a key way to differentiate the Virginia Tech brand. When we use them appropriately, they create energy and depth in a design and form a visual system that is uniquely Virginia Tech’s.


The grid should be used as a structural and visual element. When designing a piece, start with the grid as a structure for building your design. You can then decide whether the grid should remain in the layout as a texture

TIP: Avoid text directly on the grid. Instead, place a white box on a layer between the text and grid.

NOTE: The grid can be altered by changing the size of the lines, their thickness, or their styling as solid or dashed. Only experienced designers should create custom grids.

Line & Texture

Each of these elements plays a particular role in bringing the visual language to life for the Virginia Tech brand. Please follow the guidelines on the following pages to create consistency across all communications.

NOTE: When using line work and texture in motion pieces, they should never distract or take attention away from the message and should be used purposefully to support key content.

Square Dots

Square dots call out tertiary elements, such as page numbers and section types. The square dots can also be used as a design element to balance the page and create depth. They can appear in three different sizes, depending on how they are used.

Structural Elements

Structural elements help create both a functional and engaging compositions. 

Box Knockouts

Box knockouts are used over the grid element or photographs. The purpose of the knockout is to draw attention to the copy and improve legibility over a busy background. These can be used with body copy, titles, captions, and callouts. 

Detail Lines

Detail lines help guide the user’s eye to important elements of the design and work to balance the composition when needed. They may be used to underline text, create depth, highlight data points, and indicate direction. Detail lines can appear in two different weights.

NOTE: Detail lines should never distract from the focus of the design and message. These lines should be used only to enhance or improve the design and should rarely be used as decoration. Lines should never be thicker than 2 points or pixels; they can be solid or dashed.

Corner Text Anchors

The corner text anchor can be used either with a single headline or in combination with a headline and subhead. Please follow the proportion guidelines above to maintain consistency.

The corner anchor sits above the text, aligning to the left and top of the first letter. When it’s used below the headline or to contain a subhead, it should align similarly to the right and  bottom of the text box.

The anchor should be equal to 1.5 times the height of the letters in the headline and align with the median of the first line of text. It should sit one letter’s width to the left of the first word. The line should always appear at an exact 45-degree angle.

Diagonal Text Anchor

The diagonal text anchor can be used either with a single headline or in combination with a headline and body copy. Please follow the proportion guidelines above to maintain consistency.

When using the diagonal anchor in combination with a headline and body copy, the body copy should be spaced about 1.5 times the height of the headline line spacing below the headline.

Visit the Downloads page for other brand assets and downloads