Video Guidelines

This addendum to the Western Washington University Style Guide is a reference for all video work done by and for Western Washington University, for projects that represent Western and are being disseminated either to a large internal campus audience or externally. Western reserves the right to seek removal of any logo or image, which is a visual representation of the University, from any video piece that is deemed inappropriate or to not promote the values of the University as a whole. Please note that student work or videotaped faculty lectures targeting a narrow audience do not need to follow these guidelines.

For complete guidelines to Western’s brand identity, please refer to the comprehensive University Style Guide at www.wwu.edu/branding.

Logo Use

Western’s institutional logo must be present for at least five seconds at the start and finish of all campus videos, and must appear first and last as bookend images, preceding any institutional sub-brand in the beginning and after any sub-branding at the end. The logo must sit alone on a field of either white, Western Blue, or black; this clear, uncluttered format allows the logo to not get lost in background patterns or other competing imagery.

As with print and the web, the logo may not be altered in any way with drop shadows, glows, or other effects. For more on these issues, see the Western Washington University Style Guide, pages 8-9.

Use of Colors

Western’s colors are an essential part of its brand identity. The institution’s primary colors should be used whenever possible in all videos produced by and for the university. The secondary palette may be used to support the primary colors as needed, but should not be used instead of a primary color; these colors can be found on page 13 of the Style Guide.

Title Treatments and Text

Either of the University’s two fonts should be used in its video productions. However, Avenir, the sans-serif University font, generally displays better than its serif counterpart, Garamond.  

What Makes a Good Video? Some Basics

Story

Above all, the most important element is a good story or central topic. Dazzling graphics and tight production values mean nothing if your central story is not interesting or engaging. Remember that video is a visual medium; whenever possible, show, don’t tell.

Tone

Videos should have a light, conversational feel. Avoid jargon, words or phrases that sound too institutional, or language that doesn’t resonate with your target audience. Candor builds trust – overly scripted interviews feel like infomercials.

Location

Tiny, cramped offices with cinderblock walls or backlit windows are never good places to shoot videos. There are many appealing locations both indoors and outside on Western’s campus that provide much more visually interesting places to shoot an interview.

Preparation

Videos get a huge boost to production value when you prepare for and think through each project ahead of time. Storyboard each shot if you can. Faculty and staff should be dressed appropriately in business casual attire (avoid patterned clothing when at all possible) unless in the field; students should be dressed in clean, casual attire – a “Western” shirt or something with a Western logo, if possible. Ask your subjects, above all, to not wear clothing that advertises other colleges or universities. Lastly, do site visits to places you plan to shoot beforehand to see if the lighting there will work, if there are outlets available, etc.

High Quality B-roll

B-roll, or supplemental or alternate footage intercut with the main shot in an interview or documentary, is crucial, because it allows you to do more than simply show a talking head. Using b-roll to illustrate a point being made by the interviewee is a basic yet powerful method; don’t overlook it.

Ideas Needed? Don’t Know Where to Start?

The Office of Communications and Marketing is here to help you get a solid start to your video project – consultations when you are still in the pre-production stage are encouraged! We can help you get a grasp on what you’ll need to think about before you even grab your camera, where you can get equipment, and the logistics and time involved in even the most basic video.  If you have questions about any of the above, or need to discuss the use of the WWU brand in your video project, contact John Thompson at Western’s Office of Communications and Marketing at 360.650.3350 or john.thompson@wwu.edu.