Graphic Elements


The content frame is a graphic hallmark of the “On to Something” brand execution. With the frame we highlight and focus viewers’ attention on the moment of discovery and understanding.

Closed Content Frame

The graphic is simple in its structure and application. However, there are a few suggestions for its proper use. Notably, it doesn’t need to be used in every layout. Consider its meaningfulness to the overall piece and don’t overuse it, thereby watering it down.

Square frame
3" or 5" Squares

Typical Frame Line Weight
14 pt. line thickness on an 8.5″x11″ printed page

Scale Limit
Frame should not exceed 2/3 of the printed page width

The frame is also a starting point for a range of graphic elements seen in the following sections of this page, and extends the visual language of the brand

Due to the range and scale of materials that might use the frame, some best practices are shown on this page to help with consistency.


Focusing Photography

Focus photography with a frame around a trumpet

The frame can also be a focusing tool to highlight clarity of action or skill. Within the frame, the object is sharp; outside, it’s blurred. This application works best with object photos.


Highlighting Messaging

Use of frame with text

The frame can be used to focus a point or idea in text as well.

Highlighting Photography

Use of frame with photography over the subjects face

Nearly any photo subject can be the target of the frame. The best photos have multiple elements of interest. Therefore, a simple portrait might not be the best composition for a frame.

Open Content Frame

By opening up the content frame to copy, we can highlight larger messages in a fresh way. We can also pair the frame with a photo box to create strong messaging and image compositions.

Type Intersection

For longer messages, open up the content frame starting at a corner where the intersecting vertical and horizontal rules can meet the copy elements. Try to make the construction interesting, using the sliding headline treatment. Try to align the frame to the headline.

Example of type intersection

Photo intersection with text inside a frame block

Photo Intersection

Pair photo boxes with an open content frame similar to type, shown above. Don’t use open content frame over larger underlying photo. Instead use the closed content frame.

Moving Content Frame

To add motion and excitement to a layout, think of the square frame as a moving object rising up or sliding down to meet the area of focused discovery.

For Type

The moving content frame functions in a similar way to a normal closed content frame. Words inside the frame are limited but additional copy can reside on top of the rest of the graphic.

Moving content frame for type

Moving content frame for photography

For Photography

Use the moving content frame in the same manner as the ordinary content frame.

Extending the Frame

Extend the frame block at 45-degree angles only.

Graphic for extending the frame

Moving Block Overlay Graphic

Moving block overlays effectively introduce our color palette in a dynamic way across white space and over photography. The 45-degree angle graphic is sure to excite our structured layouts.

Banner image with sample moving block overlay graphics overlayed demonstrating use cases

Energizing Layouts with Color

Extend a square at a 45-degree angle for any length suited to the layout, and use the multiply effects palette in InDesign. The results are best over lighter photography and white space of the layout.

Simple Structure

The moving block overlay is a simple stretching of a square in a 45-degree direction. All sides should be parallel. It can vary in scale and more than one can occupy a layout. Look for alignment opportunities with other block overlay graphics and other elements.

Moving Frame Edge

A variation of the moving content frame creates a sense of three-dimensional space when scale and multiple graphics are combined. The cap of the graphic is key to creating the illusion whether it is messaging or imagery.

Moving frame edge example

For Type

An open-ended panel at the top of the structure suggests three-dimensionality in the graphic and placement of messaging further enhances it. Placing one frame edge next to another adds even more depth to the layout.

For Photography

A simple square image at the top makes this graphic a strong component to the layout.

Photography moving frame edge example

Content Bracket

As a companion to the content frame, the content bracket is used in a similar way. The graphic expands the visual language with a more utilitarian purpose in its execution.

Vertical brackets


The choice of the vertical bracket may depend on the layout or the accompanying messaging.

Two advantages of this graphic element:
the option of using only one side of the bracket (as seen in this document) and the option of elongating the bracket to align with elements.

Horizontal brackets


The horizontal bracket, used less frequently, offers an option for organizing photos and typography.


Object Bracket

VR goggles with a bracket at the bottom above a caption

While it can be effective with larger photo compositions, the single bracket works best with object photos. It’s also a good anchor for supporting copy.


Text Bracket

 Left bracket around a caption and image

Right bracket with a caption around more text

When paired with cropped photos, the bracket can be useful for creating structural support.
Instead of lightweight rules, a bracket with supporting text can be an eye-catching tool for the job.

Headline Treatments

Sliding Headlines

To create more emphasis and add visual expression to layouts, we can shift the lines of a headline.

3 Lines (minimum)

Headline treatment for 3 lines
This is the best number of lines for creating a dynamic effect. Each line may have its own starting position with less extreme shifts.

4 Lines

Headline treatment for 4 lines
As the number of lines increase, a simpler strategy is taken for shifting groups of content.

5 Lines (maximum)

Example of headlines with 5 lines
Here, the layout explores how lines of type are grouped according to the syntax, and what phrases are emphasized.

Color Block Callouts

This treatment goes directly to the key words we express when we are “On to Something.” Choose provocative words or phrases and apply a color block instead of simply bolding a word. This blunt application adds energy to material for younger audiences.

Directions on how to use color block callouts


Avoid using the sliding headline treatment and color blocks together. Use the diagram to ensure correct spacing of elements. The block shape is custom built to surround individual words or phrases. Lengthen the block from the right corner anchor point to ensure proper shape.

An example of using the color block callout with text

Photo Container Graphics

These are some of the most expressive visual applications for the brand. It starts with seeing the things we do through a window of language. Incorporate these treatments sparingly and meaningfully to enhance the content and storytelling.


Compressing the letterforms together creates more continuous space for photography to be uninterrupted.

RIT photo container
'Here' photo container

Special Characters

Additional glyphs can support this expression, creating a more abstract structure or connection to storytelling.

Photo container with a quote
Photo container with a music note

Effective glyphs for container graphics obtained from Neue Haas Grotesk Pro, 95 Black


Grid Structure

Think of grids as the foundation for our design structures. They anchor all the elements on each individual page, and give our diverse range of communication pieces a common backbone.

The grid system provides you with tools to create infinite combinations of text and images. We use it to create layouts that are aligned and balanced, ensuring that all our pieces of communication look refined and professional.

Column Options

There are four standard column grids to choose from: 2-column, 3-column, 4-column, and 6-column. The content and layout of each piece will decide which grid works best in a given situation.

2 column example

2-column grid

Common Uses

  • Covers, long passages of text, text and images

3 column example

3-column grid

Common Uses

  • Covers, long passages of text, text and images

4 column example

4-column grid

Common Uses

  • Complex layouts of text, images, and graphics
  • Pages with a lot of callouts, details, stats

6 column grid example

6-column grid

Common Uses

  • Complex layouts of text, images, and graphics
  • Pages with small text

Column and Accent Rules

Rules are a simple way to add structure to a page, to divide content, or to connect content in different areas of a layout.


Even though rules look rather simple, applying them thoughtfully can elevate a design. One easy method is to use a common weight throughout an entire piece of collateral.

For standard print pieces (approx. 8.5” x 11”), rule weight should be set to 0.5 points or 3 points and should not exceed 4 points. This rule of thumb can be scaled up proportionally for larger pieces.

Grid aligned rule example with a headline

Grid-Aligned Rules

Usually appearing at the top margin, bottom margin, or both margins of a page layout, these horizontal rules guide the reader and separate sidebar content from the main content.

Content-Highlight Rules

These horizontal rules provide structure for callouts or labels on a smaller scale. They may not always connect with the underlying grid structure, but they’re an important part of controlling hierarchy.

Content highlighted rule example