Visual language

Radboud University wants to be recognisable to the outside world, and to its staff members and students, which is why we use visual language. These are the characteristics that are required of the images that we create and use.

Characteristics of visual language

Images of Radboud University allude to a green campus, student life, research and education. These images reflect a personal, engaged, international and modern university.

The characteristics of Radboud University’s visual language are:

  • Nearness
  • Impact
  • Together
  • Diversity
  • Sustainability
  • Attention to detail
  • Higher contrast
  • Saturated colours

The essence: nearness and impact 

The main features of the visual language are ‘nearness’ and ‘impact’. These can be achieved by: 

  • Paying attention to detail and by using symbolism. Think about hands and eyes, as well as structures, colours and shapes.
  • Using close-ups of such objects as books, texts, digital and non-digital technology, as well as chemistry, biological materials (including microscopic details), physical reactions and physical activity.

Extra attention: diversity and sustainability

In its images, Radboud University pays extra attention to diversity and sustainability wherever possible: 

  • We have students from many different backgrounds, countries and cultures. Everyone should feel at home on campus.  In our images we reflect this diversity whenever we can. 
  • We work on a green, healthy and circular campus that has a positive impact on the climate. In our images we reflect this green, sustainable campus whenever we can. 
Green campus people walking


Visual language should be used to create images that reflect the character of Radboud University. This should be applied to the composition of the image, the moment at which you create an image and the technique that you use. For this purpose, you should follow the guidelines and use the examples.


Portraits should be easy-going, spontaneous, social and unobtrusive.

  • Pay attention to spontaneity in order to avoid creating a static portrait. If the image shows someone doing something, the person who is looking at the photo should make up a story to match the image.
  • Focus on the person and ensure that they have an open look on their face. Make sure that the person’s eyes are clearly visible, the light is clear and make sure that the image is respectful.
  • Aim for an interesting composition. Do not place your subject in the centre of the image.
  • Think about the background of the portrait. This should be tranquil, blurry and not distracting, but should also be tidy and unobtrusive.
  • Use bright saturated colours and increase the contrast, but avoid making the image too intense.
Portraits on thumbnails

Editorial images and reportages

Editorial images and reportages should be bright and clear, and they should be focused and reflect detail.

  • People do not always need to be in focus.
  • Avoid creating a ‘conversational image’; ensure that the text does not literally convey what is shown in the photo, and try not to literally photograph what it says in the text.
  • Take photos as if you were taking ‘film stills’. The photo does not need to be accurate. It is also worthwhile trying to capture the action between the highlights. 
Reporting & editorial

Abstract images

Abstract images reflect the general mood and reveal details. 

  • An image does not need to be able to be understood at first glance. 
  • Incomprehensible images, for example, can symbolise major questions that are being asked by students and scientists. 
Abstract images
Abstract images


Need help? You can contact:

Contact department