Policy overview

All Registered Student Organizations (RSO), including sport clubs and those affiliated with campus departments/units/academic colleges, must follow University of Iowa brand guidelines established within the University Brand Manual. This compliance ensures artwork and identification guidelines are aligned and consistent with university policy and practice. This includes usage of official Iowa student organization and sport club badges and use of any secondary logos or trademarks.   

Authorized RSO primary and secondary representatives, along with organization advisors, and university department or unit representatives must review and preapprove all desired products before submission to UI Licensing. Design concepts must follow all university brand guidelines for RSOs before submission of the licensing application and artwork. Submissions not in compliance with RSO guidelines will be denied.  

Requirements and restrictions

Naming and identification 

The official organization name must appear on all promotional items. If including the university name, the correct format is: 

  • Organization name at the University of Iowa, or 

  • Organization name at Iowa 

The University of Iowa is a trademark and cannot precede the name of a student organization. 

Official Student Organization and Sport Club badges 

All RSOs are eligible to use the official student organization or sport club badge on promotional items to indicate their official registration status and association with the University of Iowa. Use of a badge must complement the organization logo or identification and must be used in accordance with university brand guidelines.  

Sponsored RSO policies

Sponsored Student Organization policies

Sponsored Student Organizations are those that serve a broad segment of the campus community (beyond its membership) and have additional oversight from a sponsoring university unit.  

Sponsored student organizations follow additional policies and have access to university resources as outlined in the Policies and Regulations Affecting Students. The Office of the Dean of Students may require direct association with the university through an official lockup, and your organization must then follow all institutional brand guidelines in the same manner as a unit or department.   

Sponsored student organizations are the ONLY tier of RSOs allowed to use University of Iowa before the official RSO name. Sponsored student organizations must work with Student Life Communications to guarantee adherence to the University Brand Manual.  

Sport Club policies 

Recreational Services grants registered status to sport clubs and registered sport clubs are a category of affiliated student organizations. To differentiate from intercollege athletic teams, sport club uniforms must use the official sport club badge on all competition uniforms, club marketing, and promotional items.  

Given national and international campus recreation standards and sport clubs relationship in representing the university, the sport club category of RSOs has access to additional elements of the Iowa brand not available to other categories of affiliated RSOs or general RSOs. Use of these additional elements is managed by Recreational Services and UI Licensing.  

Official sport club uniforms must follow the standards listed below: 

  • The official sport club badge is required on all uniforms. Preferably placed on the sleeve or back of the apparel item.   

  • The official RSO name is not required on apparel as long as the official sport club badge is applied to the uniform.  

  • The Tigerhawk is the primary logo of University of Iowa Athletics. Tigerhawk logos shall be made available for sport club competition uniform use only, but must be approved by Recreational Services and the UI Trademark Licensing Program. The Tigerhawk is only allowed on the official uniform piece of apparel. It is not allowed on warm-up jackets, hats, coats, etc.  

Sponsored Student Organizations include: 

  • Associated Residence Halls 
  • Campus Activities Board (CAB) 
  • Dance Marathon (UIDM) 
  • Graduate and Professional Student Government (GPSG) – Shared governance organization 
  • Hawk the Vote
  • Homecoming 
  • Interfraternity Council 
  • Lecture Committee 
  • Multicultural Greek Council 
  • National Panhellenic Council 
  • Panhellenic Council 
  • Rape Victim Advocacy Program (RVAP) 
  • Student Commission on Programming and Entertainment (SCOPE) 
  • Student Legal Services (SLS) 
  • Student Video Productions (SVP) 
  • Undergraduate Student Government (USG) – Shared governance organization 

Licensed vendors

Licensed Vendors 

Merchandise and apparel must be purchased through an approved licensed vendor. Licensed vendors are required by the UI Trademark Licensing Program to agree to the University of Iowa's Code of Conduct and to be members of the Fair Labor Association. This helps to ensure that University of Iowa branded products are made by trusted manufacturers.

Co-Branding and Trade Dress 

Combinations of University marks with other intellectual properties and/or trade dress not associated with the University of Iowa are prohibited. This means that any colors, fonts, images, and/or partial indicia which call to mind the brand of another organization or company may not be used in conjunction with the University’s word marks, trademarks, logos and/or symbols. This includes references to other schools. Unauthorized use of third-party intellectual properties is a violation of federal and state law and such artwork will not be approved for use. 

  • Example A: ABC Student Organization using the Coca-Cola font on a shirt that reads “ABC Student Organization at the University of Iowa.” 

  • Example B: XYZ Sport Club using the National Football League (NFL) logo but changing the letters to read “XYZ” instead. 

Prohibited Products  

The University of Iowa explicitly prohibits products from making reference to drugs or paraphernalia; alcohol, consumption or abuse; tobacco products and usage; sexual conduct, imagery or inferences; profanity or inappropriate insensitive language; gambling; firearms and weapons; political and religious endorsements; and any other subject found to be inappropriate, unacceptable, or inconsistent with the standard licensing practice of the University of Iowa. 

Appropriation prohibited 

The block IOWA logo, secondary logos, or any element of an official word mark, trademark, logo, and/or symbol associated with the University of Iowa cannot be incorporated into unique graphics created for student organizations. This applies to graphics created for awareness themes, campus events, initiatives, campaign name, and retail products/services.  

Approval process

Products and designs must be approved by the UI Trademark Licensing Program. Allow two weeks for processing each request. Take the following steps when ordering merchandise and apparel:  

Approval process

  • Suppliers who manufacture and/or
 sell items imprinted with any trademark or element of the University of Iowa brand must be licensed by the university.
  • You must purchase merchandise and apparel through an approved licensed vendor. 
  • There are over 600 approved licensed vendors throughout the state and country. If you are unable to find product offerings from licensees that fulfill your needs, contact uilicensing@hawkeyelicensing.com.

  • Work with your vendor and its provided templates to develop artwork that follows brand guidelines.
  • Whenever wordmarks, trademarks, logos, symbols, and/or elements associated with the University of Iowa visual identity appear on merchandise and apparel, they must be accompanied by the appropriate registration mark. That may be a ® or ™ symbol, depending on the legal registration status of the trademark displayed.
  • Student organization and sport club badge files already include the TM symbol for you.
  • If needed, contact the Division of Student Life for additional guidance on artwork development.

  • If the application and artwork are approved, the UI Trademark Licensing Office will provide final agreement to you and notify the vendor that production can begin.

Sponsorship Use

When RSOs develop relationships with external third-party vendors, business, organizations, and/or individuals as sponsors of their organization, the following guidelines shall apply in all instances if word marks, trademarks, logos, and/or symbols associated with the University of Iowa are used. Note: The university recognizes that in some cases Title Sponsorships involve significant investment and merit some limited exceptions to guidelines. Where applicable, Title Sponsorship exceptions are noted.

  • The University reserves the right to refuse sponsors. Prior to engaging sponsors, it is advised that RSOs verify sponsors with Leadership and Engagement, Recreational Services, or the appropriate UI department/unit official.
  • Sponsorship recognition shall appear as plain text only and shall not include logos unless the sponsorship is deemed a Title Sponsor by Leadership and Engagement, Recreational Services, or the appropriate university department/unit official.
  • Sponsorship recognition shall not include taglines and/or slogans associated with the sponsor name.
  • Sponsorship recognition shall not appear adjacent to word marks, trademarks, logos and/or symbols associated with the University of Iowa.
  • Sponsorship recognition shall include dating language/text clarifying the date/year of the sponsorship.
  • Sponsorship recognition shall include accompanying sponsorship language to identify the relationship between the organization and the sponsor(s) and include the official organization name.
    • Example A: Proud sponsor of Dance Marathon at the University of Iowa
    • Example B: Proud sponsor of Baseball Club at the University of Iowa
  • Businesses, organizations, and/or individuals shall not apply a designation to their sponsorship that implies a relationship and/or endorsement by the University of Iowa.
  • Sponsorship recognition on promotional items shall be limited for the purpose of RSO sponsorship recognition only and shall not be used as sponsor’s sales incentives or marketing efforts.
    • Permitted: Sponsor pays for promotional items in exchange for sponsorship recognition per aforementioned guidelines.
    • Not Permitted: Regardless of who pays for the promotional item, the sponsor shall not benefit directly from the sales and/or distribution of the promotional item.


Royalties are charges assessed by the Licensing Program to licensees for the approved use of the University of Iowa marks. The standard royalty rate is 15% of sales. Approved products for internal organizational use or philanthropic use are royalty-free. Approved products for fundraising/resale or promotion, regardless of purpose, will be subject to applicable royalties.

Products will only be approved for fundraising/resale or promotion if the products do not replicate existing items in the marketplace and are in compliance with all other brand guidelines.

Please reference the definitions below for more information on determining usage type:


Internal Use: The student organization creates products bearing word marks, trademarks, logos, and/or symbols associated with the University of Iowa for student members. Payment for internal use products solely covers the cost of production and paid through disbursement of club funds. Internal Use products are royalty-exempt.

  • Examples: Membership t-shirts, officer/executive board apparel, sports club team uniforms etc.

Philanthropy: All profits from products sold bearing word marks, trademarks, logos, and/or symbols associated with the University of Iowa go to a charity, non-profit organization, or philanthropic cause. The student organization does not receive any monetary profit from the sale of these products and/or use any of the money for internal use. Philanthropic products are royalty-exempt.

  • Examples: Donation of all proceeds from the sale of a product to hospitals, animal shelters, etc.

Subject to royalties

Fundraising/Resale: Profits from the sale of products bearing word marks, trademarks, logos, and/or symbols associated with the University of Iowa funds the student organization’s activities. Please note that while a student organization may be doing activities that are volunteerism in nature (alternative spring breaks, mission trips, etc.), they are not categorized as a philanthropic royalty exemption. Fundraising/resale products are subject to applicable royalties.

  • Examples: Organizational trips, hosting professional speakers, funding scholarships, organizational and social activities, etc.

Promotional: Student organizations purchase products bearing word marks, trademarks, logos, and/or symbols associated with the University of Iowa with organizational funds to be used as giveaway items. Promotional products are subject to applicable royalties.

  • Examples: Give away of items to all students who stop at the student organization’s booth at the Student Organization Fair, give away of t-shirts to the first 100 students to come to an event, etc.