Design and branding

This guide is designed to advise you on what you need to provide in order to brand your Talis Aspire Reading List (TARL) Tenancy as part of the implementation.  


As part of your Kick-Off webinar, we will discuss the design and branding of your tenancy, and show you a few examples. Your tasks post that webinar are detailed below.

First steps

  1. Name your design contact - Often universities will have a person that is responsible for overseeing the brand image of all external-facing websites and material. Where you do have this resource it is best to get them on the project early on not at sign off stage as often issues can be resolved in the mock-up or sandpit stages which will avoid delays at the end. Often a font size, background shading or spacing can make all the difference.
  2. Decide on your overall look - Point us to an existing site you hope to replicate. Most customers decide that the service they are trying to provide through Talis should reflect the brand values and attributes of the institution. As a consequence, their Talis tenancy looks very much like either their general website, the library website (if significantly different) OR inherits the theme of the main Learning Management System/VLE.
  3. Gather the essentials - This information is usually available from the University marketing team, or the web team.
    • Branding / Web Style Guidelines: Most/all customers will have institutional guidelines for how their presence is represented on the web, which can include things like colours, and image placement.
    • Logo Location: We will require a hi-resolution version of your institutional logo, for use in your Talis tenancy as well as on the customer directory.
    • Editorial Style Guidelines: Some customers will have editorial style guidelines - for example, how to capitalise their institution name.

Talis design team

As part of your implementation, Talis will assign a designer to work with you to achieve the desired look and feel. The designer will apply the look and feel to a running TARL sandbox tenancy where you can experience the final design as applied to the product. At this point, you’ll be asked to sign off on the design or suggest any amendments required before sign off. After sign-off we will transfer the design to your live TARL tenancy.

What can be styled?

General elements:

  • Link colour - This will be applied to all link and action buttons across your reading lists, homepage and footer.

Header elements


  • Your university logo - This needs to be in .SVG or .EPS file format with a transparent background. The image will be sized: width: 166px; height: 40px;
  • Links - up to 5 links
  • Colour for the top header
  • Colour for the bottom header (this portion of the header includes the navigation bar)
  • Application name - in the above image the name is 'Reading Lists'

Homepage elements


  • The welcome message - In the above image this is 'Search for lists, modules & courses'
  • Browse hierarchy text - can also hide this option
  • Recent changes text - can also hide this option

Footer elements


  • Text - can be a maximum of 100 characters but no styling such as bullets (in the above image this is '2008-2021 Talis Education Limited').
  • Links - Up to 10 links (link name & link URL). These should link outside of the Talis Aspire Application.

To make this process quick and easy, we've created a branding form for you to download, see the file attachment at the bottom of this article, complete and share it with us in a support ticket.

Accessibility Colours

We recommended when branding your reading lists tenancy that you look to see that background and foreground colours meet accessibility standards. The contrast checker takes hexadecimal values(hex) and gives an outcome based on the contrast. You can try this at

What can’t be done through the design process

Unfortunately, there are some customisations that can’t be completed via the design process:

  • Headers, footers and primary navigation styles are fixed across the system, and can’t be dynamically altered depending on which page the user is viewing in the system.
  • Major positional or ordering changes to functional screens, for example, you can’t move sidebars from left to right, or change the order in which menu items or properties in lists appear.
  • Rewording or changing of content in online forms.
  • Rewording of labels or help messages in the main functional screens.
  • Amendments to the login/user area of the header.
  • Amendments to the navigation bar.
  • Container paddings and spacing.
  • Inclusion of custom Javascript, as this may interfere with the Javascript used in the functional areas of the Talis product.
  • Font size.
  • Primary link colour can be customised, however additional link colours, for example, hover, visited, etc. are automatically selected as complementary to your primary link colour.
  • Inclusion of custom fonts, as this may affect the main field positioning of elements within the reading lists.


  • What if we need to make changes later on? Changes to the design can be accommodated after the application of the design to live - for example, if your corporate design guidelines or logo change. 
  • What colour will the navigation bar be? The navigation bar takes on the same colour as the Application header colour (element 6).
  • Can external links be configured to open in a new tab/window? Yes, you may choose whether you prefer header / footer links to open in the same tab or a new one.

Files in this article

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