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 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. You can see an example of these type of guidelines for St Andrews.
    • 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?


To make this process quick and easy, we've created a branding form for you to download, complete and share with us in a support ticket. File link: Download

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.
  • 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 main field positioning of elements within the reading lists.


  • What if we need to make changes later on? Small tweaks to the design can be accommodated after the application of the design to live, and we can quote on any major work you might want to undertake in the future - for example, if your corporate design guidelines or logo change.

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