Duke is a vibrant, diverse and ambitious community. The imagery used to present this institution should reflect those attributes.

Download Photography Mood Boards (5.3MB PDF file)

Communicator Toolkit

Find the resources and best-practices you need to successfully apply the Duke visual brand identity to your project.

Communicator Toolkit

Inside this resource:

Stock Photography

Duke’s Asset Management System (netid required) is a wonderful resource of over 7,000 images. It is refreshed regularly with community-sourced photos as well as new imagery captured by the University Communications team.


Portraits should be forward-facing with the following attributes:

  • Intimate & authentic
  • Clean and simple composition
  • Soft background
  • Looking toward camera
  • Relevant props & environments

Sally Nuamah, assistant professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy, poses for a photo in the auditorium at E.K. Powe Elementary School in Durham.Portrait of Alison Jones, in a blue dress against a clean, white backgroundGeoffrey Mock smizes into the lensProfessor Gustavo Silva is photographed against a projected image of a protein.Caroline Stinson sits with her cello for a portrait in Baldwin Auditorium

Candids & In-context

Effective photographs will have the following attributes:

  • Action, reaction and interaction
  • Showing community
  • Unusual angles & points-of-view
  • Context & space
  • Immersive

An engineering student inspects her work on a prosthetic arm at the Pratt Design PodIris Turrentine, a human resources associate in Perkins Library assists freshman Karla Beltran with her work/study paperworkA Duke student shows a child a model of the human brain during a Brain Awareness Week Open House event.President Vincent Price greets prospective graduates during his first Baccalaureate Service at Duke Chapel.FACs pose for a portrait during move into the East Campus Resident Halls on Tuesday, August 21.

Successful event photography will capture the unique aspects of the event along with the sponsoring unit’s brand/mark. A photographer should seek opportunities to capture interaction of the speaker(s) with the audience and shoot from different angles.

Scenics & Interiors

Duke is a beautiful place. When considering scenic imagery, consider the time of day for lighting, the traffic pattern of the area and if there may be any zones with special privacy considerations (i.e. the Health System).

  • Time of day & light
  • Traffic & activity
  • People inhabiting the scene
  • Leading lines & framing
  • Scale, depth and layers

Students walk across the Abele Quad on a beautiful Spring morning. Duke Chapel is in view in background.The Gothic Reading room at Perkins Library.Students walk across the Bostock Library plaza as the Chapel is visible in the distance above the colorful fall trees.A visitor enjoys the view of the historic terraces from the Frances P. Rollins Overlook, Sarah P Duke GardensTwo students walk through the Duke Student Wellness Center

Incorrect Use of Imagery

Please keep these guidelines in mind when selecting images:

  • Use stock photos sparingly and avoid those that have a generic feel
  • Use filters sparingly and avoid distorting the natural look of photos

Employees gather around a laptop in a stereotypical stock photoA photo of Kilgo tower with heavy image filters appliedA photo of the Gardens in the fall with a black and white photo filter applied

Be mindful of the context in which images are used and the meaning they convey when they are taken out of that context. Avoid images that may inadvertently perpetuate stereotypes.

Can I use that picture?

“It’s on Google. I can use it, right?”

It’s tricky. Use the infographic from The Visual Communication Guy to determine where content falls on the copyright spectrum.

Photo Releases

The campus is considered a public space, and releases are not required from people whose images are captured in photographs or video.

When taking personal/individual photos please use the University Photo Release Form.

To maintain patient privacy and ensure HIPAA compliance, any photography or videography in or near the Health System requires permission from the Health System. Please contact Duke Health News & Media for more information.