Positioning and Messaging Guide

What do you think of when you hear UCSF School of Pharmacy? That thought, or impression, is the School’s brand. It’s expressed through a visual identity of specific colors, logos, typography, and graphic design, as examples. It’s also expressed through specific words and phrases known as positioning and messaging.

The School supports and follows the UCSF Brand Identity for both. We further differentiate the School by applying an additional layer of positioning and messaging unique to the School and to our doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree program, which further supports the UCSF Brand Story.


For many decades, our School of Pharmacy has been a world leader in research, in innovative, high-quality PharmD and PhD education, and in pharmacy care. Despite this established leadership, we cannot assume that our peers, partners, supporters, and the public fully understand the breadth of our work and the longtime shared philosophy that guides the approach to everything we do. This philosophy is key to our success.

Our relentless questioning and methodical approach to discovery distinguishes this pharmacy school worldwide. We have a long history of fearless exploration, of identifying problems and seeking solutions, of unraveling the complexity of biology, and of transforming ideas into tangible health benefits. Curiosity and the pursuit of new knowledge drive our work.

In today’s competitive environment, we increasingly need to assert our myriad accomplishments in research, education, and patient care, and explain the shared scientific mindset that differentiates us from our peers. And now we have the carefully crafted words to do so.

These positioning and messaging guidelines are the result of a highly inclusive and iterative process. Taken together, they underscore the core element of our story: The scientific approach we apply to everything we do fuels the School’s success and supports UCSF’s public mission of advancing health worldwide.

The School community is encouraged to refer to these guidelines often to inform daily communications with your peers, colleagues, and key audiences. The results will be more consistent, and more valued, impressions of our important work.


This diagram depicts a three-step, sequential path:

  1. distill the School to its essence, which results in…
  2. the positioning platform, which enables us to…
  3. amplify what makes the School great.

Table of contents

  1. Overview

    1. Who should use these guidelines?

    2. What will this help the School of Pharmacy do?

    3. How should this be used?

    4. How were these developed?

    5. Communication opportunities

  2. UCSF

  3. School of Pharmacy

    1. Positioning defined

    2. UCSF School of Pharmacy differentiators

    3. UCSF School of Pharmacy driving forces

    4. How these elements work together

    5. Positioning statement: School of Pharmacy

  4. PharmD Program

    1. Positioning statement: PharmD program

    2. Messaging: PharmD curriculum

    3. Curriculum from the student’s perspective

  5. Audience messaging

    1. Faculty

    2. Volunteer faculty

    3. Staff

    4. PharmD students

    5. Alumni

    6. Public

Looking ahead

We hope that you will use this document as a touchstone to guide your communications, to assure key points are made, and to contribute to the ongoing effort to amplify our story in ways that best engage our critical audiences.

Your contribution is critical to our ability to bring our vision, mission, and promise to life in meaningful and compelling ways. Collectively, we can generate understanding and appreciation for our leadership in science, pharmacy, and PharmD and PhD education.

Next: Overview