• Part of a roofline shows from one building. Trees with fall color leaves on them fill most of the photo. A lamp-post is near center of the photo.

    Harpers Ferry Center

Graphic Identity Guidelines & Help

The graphic identity of an organization is expressed by a combination of visual elements used in carefully prescribed ways. These typically include a logo (a distinctive emblem), along with specific typefaces and a set of preferred colors. Each of these elements is carefully chosen and used to express the organization's unique character.

Graphic Identity Guidelines

To explore the history of visual identity in the National Park Service, and to better understand the research and thinking that has shaped the NPS Graphic Identity Program, follow the links under "NPS Identity In Depth" on the right. You will learn how NPS identity has evolved from a mix of influences, including attire, architecture, the arrowhead symbol, the Unigrid publications program, and signs. You will also learn about the Message Project and its recommendation that "exact standards should be established for the appearance and use of the Arrowhead" and that "a systemwide style guide should be established and strictly enforced." This directive was a principal component of Director's Order #52A, "Communicating the National Park Service Mission," which was signed on January 31, 2001.

"Breaking through today's media barrage requires identities and visual communications that are uniquely tailored, relevant, memorable, and well managed. Failure to connect with an audience or to stand out just adds to the level of noise." – from Identity Matters, by Robert L. Peters, November 14, 2005

Graphic Identity Help

We've spent a considerable amount of time producing and assembling the information and materials on this Website, and to make it as easy to use as possible. One thing we've learned is that retrieving and using arrowhead files, publication templates, and typefaces requires a working knowledge of your computer's operating system, file system, publishing software, and output devices (e.g. your desktop printer). In many cases, colleagues in your park or office may be able to answer many of your computer-related questions.

Before you contact us for assistance, please consult the following links for answers to common questions.

How to Contact Us

If neither our download instructions or frequently asked questions solve your problem, please Contact Us

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