Carnegie Mellon University

CMU Web

Marketing & Communications with Computing Services

Design Tips

The CMS makes it easy to display and organize your content, so get creative!

Colors

Enjoy 8 colors.

CMU Red

Gray

Dark Gray

Gold

Teal

Blue

Green

Dark Green

Repeat colors for important visual cues.

For example, a helpful links sidebar that appears across multiple pages could always be teal, or a grid containing statistics could always be gold.

Tips

  1. Your site will look better if you take our advice.
  2. That was our best tip.

Limit your color palette to improve user experience.

Use only one or two accent colors throughout your site. Visitors will familiarize themselves with your content and associate your color palette with your site. That's called brand recognition.

Grids

Organize content with a grid.

Break vertical lines.

When stacking grids, alternate the number of columns to differentiate content. For example, if you have a 3-column grid below a 3-column grid, change one of them to a 2-column grid. This technique will create a visual stopping point for your readers by interrupting vertical lines between stacked grids.

grid after grid after grid

Hero Images

Illusions

stock photo of a hand holding dirt and a sapling

Use a photo that is white on top to give the illusion that the page header is floating in white space.

Macros

closeup of a virus illustration

Show the fine details of tiny things by using macro photography.

Abstract

chalk illustration of the big bang

Show abstract art at large sizes for maximum impact.

People

2 black students on CMU's Diversity and Inclusion homepage

Show real students, faculty and staff to express the humanity of the university.

Tables

Tables are meant to present data in columns and rows. If you'd like to present images or some other type of content in columns and rows, please use a grid. If you must use a table for layout, add role="presentation" to your table tag. This tells assistive devices that the table contains content that is not data.

Good

CMU MilestoneYear
Andrew Carnegie emigrated from Scotland. 1848
Carnegie Tech merged with the Mellon Institute. 1967

Bad

A self-educated "working boy" who loved books, Andrew Carnegie emigrated from Scotland in 1848 and settled in Pittsburgh, Pa. Andrew Carnegie at a desk
In 1967, Carnegie Tech merged with the Mellon Institute, a science research center founded by the Mellon family of Pittsburgh. two men sign paperwork