These guidelines apply to all Harvard Schools, departments, units, officially recognized student organizations and affiliates wishing to order or have produced insignia merchandise (“swag”) bearing any Harvard trademark(s) whether royalty bearing or not. These guidelines do not apply to items bearing University trademarks that are ordered for use in the University’s regular course of business, such as letterhead, business cards, signage, uniforms, and similar business needs.
The procedure and steps for designing and submitting your swag request are outlined below. Failure to follow this procedure and steps will result in significant delays in the approval process for the order.
When planning to order swag products, allow sufficient time for all necessary steps, including departmental review, Harvard Trademark Program review, placing order, and production time.
Step 1. Create the swag design.The design must meet the following design criteria:
The Harvard VERITAS shield, as well as the School shields and other official University logos (“Harvard insignia”), are representations of the University and cannot be altered in any way. The proposed design cannot be derivative of any existing Harvard insignia, and may not alter, include, or reference internal elements of existing Harvard insignia such that the resulting logo resembles one of Harvard’s insignia. For example, the VE-RI-TAS design found in several existing Harvard shields cannot be incorporated into a new design, as this would be considered a derivation. The shield shape itself is acceptable for all designs.
Designs must be consistent with the University’s Use-of-Name policies and guidelines, including the standard of accurate representation. If the name of a Harvard department, unit, or officially recognized student organization will be used in the design, then the design must include the full, approved name. Acronyms must accurately represent the full, approved name, and must be formatted as a full acronym, and not by spelling out Harvard alone while abbreviating the remainder of the name. For example, HABC could be used, but not Harvard ABC.
When a design includes any name or phrase which contains a Harvard component, the following criteria must be met. A Harvard component is a complete phrase which contains the word "Harvard" and identifies an affiliation with the University (e.g., "Harvard," "at Harvard University," "Harvard Law School"). Example: The Harvard component of the group name "Harvard College Student Knitting Club" is "Harvard College."
- The Harvard component must use a consistent font style, size, color, and value for the entire component.
The design should not specifically emphasize the Harvard component. This can be accomplished by either using a consistent font styling for the full name or phrase ("Harvard College Student Knitting Club"), or by de-emphasizing the Harvard component. For example, a design that de-emphasizes the Harvard component might use a smaller font size, a lighter font weight, or a non-accented color for the Harvard component compared to the rest of the name or phrase.
These criteria do not apply to any other text, names, or phrases that do not include a Harvard component, to logos created using the HPAC Graphic Identity Standards Manual Official Signature template, or to official School logos.
The Trademark Program does not license designs that incorporate or use national flags. However, flag-related graphic elements, or other elements that reference flags, but which are not official national flags, may be considered.
If the Harvard VERITAS shield or other Harvard insignia are included, the design must incorporate sufficient clear space between the represented Harvard insignia and any other design element such that no element is in contact with the Harvard insignia and the Harvard insignia is not otherwise subsumed by the design.
The proposed design cannot infringe on any third-party trademarks. It is the sole responsibility of the requester to seek any additional approvals for designs, verbiage, names, etc. which may or may not be the property of third parties, if any such approvals are required.
Insignia product designs are approved for one-time use only. All designs are subject to review under current use-of-name policies, and previous approval does not guarantee subsequent approval.
For student organizations and for Harvard Schools, departments, and units participating in certain types of events sponsored by corporate entities (see link to guidelines below), the use of third-party representations (including logos when appropriate) to acknowledge sponsorship is permitted under the following circumstances:
- The Harvard representation must be allotted the primary position on the items and must be the prominent design element in terms of size.
- The third-party representation may not be adjacent to the Harvard representation, and must be positioned separately from the Harvard representation (i.e., on the back of garments, or clearly separate on other products).
- The phrase “Sponsored by” must be used to identify the third party’s role in relation to the Harvard activity.
- For additional information regarding Harvard events sponsored by corporate entities, see:
Step 2. Select a licensed vendor. Due to liability, code of conduct, insurance, and other licensee requirements and standards, all swag must be produced by Harvard University licensed vendors, and orders placed through unlicensed companies will not be approved.
While licensed vendors may be contacted at this stage to select products and compare prices, do not place your order at this time. No orders should be placed without prior approval from appropriate University officials and the Harvard Trademark Program. Placing orders without first securing the appropriate approval will result in significant delays for the order.
A list of licensed vendors is available here (HarvardKey login required):
Harvard University's Licensees for Internal Insignia Items
Step 3. Choose the types of swag products you wish to order. All swag must comply with Harvard’s licensing standards and must be a type of product that Harvard licenses (such as apparel, bags, novelty items, and other such traditional insignia products).
Among the products not licensed by Harvard are alcohol and tobacco items, drug paraphernalia, adult entertainment items, weapons, products related to gambling or lotteries, food/beverage items, and cosmetics/toiletry products.
Step 4. Obtain written approval from your Harvard School or Harvard Department Administrator for the design. Written approval for the design must be obtained from your School or Department Administrator before submitting any design to the Harvard Trademark Program. The appropriate individual or office to review and approve designs is dependent on the requesting unit’s Harvard affiliation (HarvardKey login required):
Harvard School SWAG Contact List
Step 5. Submit information to the Harvard Trademark Program for review. The following information must be submitted to the Harvard Trademark Program at email@example.com. Failure to include any of this information will result in significant delays for your order.
a. Image(s)/drawings of the proposed design
b. A copy of the written approval from the appropriate administrator obtained in Step 4
c. All information included in the swag order request form (HarvardKey login required):
Harvard University SWAG Order Form
Harvard Affiliate Contact Information:
*Your name and title:
Harvard School/Department/Unit/Student Group:
*If Harvard student, please identify your school and officially recognized student group name and website (if any):
Purpose of the order
Please explain why swag are being ordered so we may determine whether they are royalty exempt or royalty bearing (i.e., giveaway purposes, fundraising, etc.):
Event or program name and date (if applicable):
Will the products be sold and, if yes, to whom:
If sold, how will the proceeds be distributed:
U.S. Licensee Product Information
Intended U.S. Licensee company name, contact name, email and telephone:
Types of Product(s) to be ordered:
Number to be ordered:
Product in hand due date:
NOTE: This review period does not include the licensee’s production/turnaround time.
Step 6. Review period and approval. The Trademark Program will review the proposed designs and required information and either contact the requestor with questions or provide approval. If approved, an approval email will be sent to the requestor, with copies to the administrator(s) who approved the design and to the licensed vendor that will be making the swag.
Swag requests are reviewed in the order they are received, and follow-up questions or an approval may be expected within 7-14 business days. All swag designs are reviewed from a licensing perspective to make sure the items and designs are in line with Harvard’s licensing standards as found at https://trademark.harvard.edu/pages/domestic-licensing. They are also reviewed from perspective of Harvard’s various use-of-name policies and guidelines. Swag design approvals are considered on a case-by-case basis, and approval of a swag request does not indicate approval of subsequent requests.
Step 7. Place order. Once the requestor receives the approval email provided in Step 6, they may place the order with the designated licensee.
Last modified: June 4, 2020