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Our Branding

Our Branding

Cornell Atkinson Brand & Messaging Guidelines

From Our Director

After a collaborative process involving many of our stakeholders, we are proud to share our refreshed identity. We’ve arrived at a simplified way to present our collective mission that captures our aspirations and our core philosophy.

As Cornell Atkinson, we catalyze extraordinary change. We do it by making vital connections among diverse collaborators. By teaming Cornell researchers, faculty, and students with government agencies, for-profit businesses, nonprofits, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), we foster creative collisions that provoke large-scale, long-term change. We believe that our multidisciplinary consortium model makes us singularly well positioned to address the integrated systems—including food, water, health, economics, and energy—that unite us all.

We look forward to sharing our new look and feel with you over the coming months and to working together to transform sustainability public opinion, products, practices, and policies.

Together, we will build a resilient tomorrow.

David M. Lodge
The Francis J. DiSalvo Director


Acknowledgement Language

All individuals and teams receiving funding from the center are required to acknowledge Cornell Atkinson support in published materials, posters, talks, and presentations that are related to the funded project. If approached by media for a quote or story, please mention your Cornell Atkinson affiliation. It may not always be included, but it will help to build awareness.

Where to acknowledge Cornell Atkinson:

  • Academic Publications: Acknowledgement language
  • Print Materials: Logo, web address, acknowledgement language
  • PowerPoint Presentations: Center-branded PowerPoint slides
  • Web Sites: Logo, web address
  • Email Signature: Full signature or one-line addition
  • Posters: Especially for jointly funded programming

For publications, print materials, and more, the following short acknowledgement declaration can be used:

This work was supported [optional: in part] by the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability.


Brand Narrative

Our brand narrative is a unifying statement for our entire organization. At Cornell Atkinson, we forge new and unexpected connections that catalyze extraordinary change. Because the time has come for bold thinking and powerful new models that will ensure that people and the planet not only survive, but thrive.

With Cornell’s rich and broad knowledge base as our foundation, we bring together passionate experts and innovators, theorists and practitioners, business leaders, and community members to deliver large-scale, long-term sustainability solutions.

Our resources—which span the environmental, agricultural, economic, and social sciences—allow us to pioneer transformative research and address the most complex problems we face as a planet. Our approach is holistic, exploring not only individual systems, but how they interact with one another and impact the larger world. By serving as the hub for diverse and even unlikely connections, we accelerate the transition from visionary thinking to real-world impact.

It’s through these vital connections that we’re shaping a future able to withstand even the most persistent and volatile challenges.

Together, we’re building a resilient tomorrow.


Brand Platform

Our brand platform is the foundation of our brand, made up of our core idea and promise. Our purpose
Vital connections
Our brand voice and our messaging are rooted in our brand platform. Our promise
We forge new and unexpected connections that catalyze extraordinary change.


Editorial Style

House style
Cornell Atkinson follows the Associated Press Stylebook to maintain consistency with other university publications with certain exceptions as noted below.

We use the Oxford, or serial, comma to provide clarity. In other words, we use a comma before the conjunction in any series of three or more items.

We use the New York Times up-style headline in the newsletter and in other instances for ease of readability. Capitalize the first letter in the first and last words in a title. In addition, capitalize all words except articles, conjunctions, and prepositions shorter than four letters.

Identifying the center
Our official name is the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability. Use the official name, preceded by the, on first reference. You may use “Cornell Atkinson” or “the center” on subsequent reference, as
appropriate. For example: “The center is closed for the holidays.”

Where possible, we prefer to use the first person (e.g., we, our) to emphasize the importance
of collaboration to our mission and to recognize readers as potential partners. However,
there will be times when the third person is preferable for sake of clarity.

Partnership language
We use “external partners” on the first reference, with subsequent use of “for-profit businesses, nonprofits,  government agencies, peer institutions, think tanks, donors, investors, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)” if greater detail is warranted.

Voice identity
Our voice is bold, inspiring, inviting and agile. In brief, it celebrates our achievements but never boasts about them. It illuminates possibilities, providing readers with the insight to understand the seriousness and complexity of our work while encouraging them to ask questions and take action. It engages our readers with approachable language that is appropriately but not unnecessarily academic.

Messaging Pillars and Language
We want to express three messaging pillars consistently in our communications, whether we’re soliciting new donors, launching a new initiative, inspiring student fellows, or addressing our peers: unexpected connections, transformative research, and holistic thinking. Below, we suggest word choices  consistent with our brand.

Unexpected connections

  • collaborative, diverse, innovative, integrated
  • hub, strategic partnerships, non-traditional partnerships, disparate constituents with diverse perspectives, multidisciplinary teams, transdisciplinary teams, diverse collaborators, creative collisions, creative minds, consortium model, diverse and even unlikely connections, new and unexpected connections, vital connections
  • bring together, co-create, connect, create connections, team up

Transformative research

  • ambitious, cross-disciplinary, cutting-edge, entrepreneurial, innovative, nimble, novel, pioneering, powerful, provocative, visionary, vital
  • change practices and policies; convert knowledge into action; from visionary thinking to real-world impact; from startup to large-scale, long-term impact; put ideals into practice; transform sustainability public opinion, products, practices, and policies
  • co-created research; frontier research; high-risk, high-reward research; multifaced research; large-scale, long-term solutions; practical sustainability solutions; research-based credibility
  • accelerate, catalyze change, forge, thrive

Holistic thinking:

  • complex, holistic, interconnected, resilient
  • populations, economies, and ecosystems
  • how systems interact with one another and impact the larger world; large-scale, long-term solutions; sustainability and resilience; system-of-systems; systems thinking
  • build resilient rural-urban systems, impact, interact


The web versions (.png) of all the logos/seals are “transparent” so they will display properly on a variety of backgrounds.

  • Cornell Atkinson Horizontal
    Web Print
    Black Cornell Atkinson Logo RGB CMYK
    White Cornell Atkinson Logo RGB CKYK
  • Cornell Seal 

    When using the Cornell Seal in conjunction with the Atkinson Center logo, make certain that there is enough visual white space between the two. This will prevent any visual competition between the two marks. For more information on how to use the university brand and seal, visit the Cornell University Brand Center and refer to the official policy for Use of Cornell’s Name, Logos, Trademarks, and Insignias.

    Red Cornell Logo RGB CMYK
    White Cornell Logo RGB CMYK

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