Montana State University
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University Communications

Montana State University
P.O. Box 172630
Bozeman, MT 59717-2630

Tel: (406) 994-4571
Fax: (406) 994-4102
Location: 437 Culbertson Hall

MSU Brand Guide

From President Cruzado:

Montana State University is nationally recognized as a leading land-grant university. As I have travelled across Montana and around the world, I am consistently amazed and impressed at the excellence of our students, faculty, staff and alumni who so elegantly deliver our land-grant mission of learning, discovery and engagement. To tell the MSU story in the most compelling way, it is essential to use consistent communications both visually and in terms of messages. When we speak with one voice, our message is amplified and more powerful.

The MSU brand guide is designed to give you all the information you need to create consistent communications. I encourage you to use this guide to reinforce your knowledge of MSU's brand strengths and key messages and follow these guidelines in your communications. Your voices are essential to deliver a consistent presentation of the university-whether through personal interactions with students, collaborations with your colleagues, or presentations to external audiences.

MSU has a great story to tell. When we tell the story with one voice, it becomes even more powerful. Thank you for your commitment to MSU.

Waded Cruzado
President

 

What is a brand?

Definition: A brand is an image, an idea or a perception that presents a distinct impression to its audiences. A brand is more than a logo and a tagline; it is a set of unique experiences and the promise delivered to our stakeholders. It is the unique features and personality that create a strong and memorable brand.

Brand Promise: The Montana State University brand consists of our people, place, interactions and experience. Montana State University promises to be a leader in the integration of learning, discovery and engagement. The MSU brand is defined by the experience delivered to our students, the successes achieved by our alumni, and the innovative partnerships developed in communities we serve.

Reputation: At Montana State University, we are proud of our reputation for excellence in the integration of learning, discovery and engagement. Our university is consistently recognized as one of the top public research universities in the nation. According to the Carnegie Foundation for Advancement of Teaching, MSU is the only college-out of more than 4,600 in the country-that educates primarily undergraduate students, maintains "very high research activity" (the highest category), and is recognized for its significant commitment to community engagement. This combination means that our students participate in meaningful research and creative projects that not only enhance education, but improve lives in local and global communities.

MSU's increased visibility and enhanced reputation is demonstrated by the growth and profile of our student body, the increased involvement of our alumni and donors, and the enhanced town gown relationship.

Why is it important?

One of our greatest assets is our Montana State University brand. Consistent use of university key messages and visual design allow us to promote and increase our brand recognition. Using these guidelines across all media will reinforce Montana State University's identity as a leader in the integration of learning, discovery and engagement and help us achieve our goals.

The MSU brand is what differentiates us. It's what sets us apart, so it is important that we be mindful of how our brand is presented. It is our responsibility to promote and protect the excellence that defines Montana State University. Consistent presentation will leave an indelible mark in the minds of our audience and help the university achieve the goals set forth in the strategic plan.

Who does this guide apply to?

This brand guide applies to all university divisions that communicate to our key stakeholders. All Montana State University academic, research, outreach, student services, administrative and affiliated units, must follow these guidelines. All university units help tell the MSU story, so it is important that all communications present a consistent and unified message. Outside organizations and sub-contractors, including student employees who are creating materials for any Montana State University division must adhere to these guidelines as well.

These guidelines apply to all external and internal communications, including, brochures, websites, advertising, invitations, direct mail, postcards, fliers, catalogs, posters, billboards, banners and other environmental graphics, video, DVD, CD, film, presentations and stationery.

These guidelines are supported by the following MSU policies:
Graphic Identity
Trademarks and Licensing

The MSU Brand

In fall 2012, Montana State University finalized a new strategic plan that sets overarching goals for the university. The plan relies on every member of the MSU community—students, faculty, staff, alumni and our community partners—to contribute to its success. The strategic planning process also defined new mission and vision statements as well as guiding values. This strategic plan reinforces and supports MSU’s brand promise and strengths.

Mission/Vision/Values

Mission Statement

Montana State University, the state's land-grant institution, educates students, creates knowledge and art, and serves communities by integrating learning, discovery and engagement.

Vision

Montana State University is as remarkable as its setting. Created as a land-grant institution, it is a welcoming, adventurous community of students, faculty and staff distinguished by its commitment to address the world's greatest challenges. The university energizes individuals to discover and pursue their aspirations. It inspires people to engage with the university to improve the human prospect through excellence in education, research, creativity and civic responsibility.

Values

Respect
Value respect for diversity in all its dimensions. Respect and civility foster collaboration and open communication, which in turn create productive local, regional and global communities.

Integrity
Value honesty and professionalism in all work. Each individual is personally accountable for his/her work and behavior.

Student Success
Value all students and believe in creating an environment in which they can be successful and reach their full potential.

Excellence
Belief in challenging the MSU community in the pursuit of the highest quality that can be attained.

Montana State University Brand Promise

Montana State University integrates learning, discovery and engagement.

MSU Brand Stengths: MSU’s key brand messages are designed to be customized based on the audience you are trying to reach and what you wish to accomplish.

The MSU Logo and Tagline

MSU university-related colors

The MSU graphic identity program consists of logo and tagline information as well as branded fonts, color palettes and photography style. These visual identity guidelines apply to use of the MSU name, logo, and brand strengths in print, electronic, and video communications.

MSU colleges, departments, research centers and administrative units should not use logos other than the MSU logo.

The MSU name and logo is reserved for the exclusive use of the MSU community on university-related projects. Outside entities wishing to use the logo may apply for a license to create commercial products. Outside organizations wishing to use the MSU name and logo should describe the specified use and request permission from jkipfer@montana.edu.

The MSU Logo

MSU Logo Downloads

The Montana State University logo is the primary representation of MSU and should appear on all communications. Departments promoting events and symposium should always ensure that the university name or logo is properly and prominently displayed.

Logo Symbolism:
Block M - The Block M is a tribute to the M on Mount Baldy that was built by students in 1916. According to the 1917 yearbook, the M stands as, "a symbol of our loyalty to Montana State and a reminder of what a united class can accomplish."

Arc - The M is supported by an arc that represents the reach across the state and communities that we serve.

Flame - Housed within the heart of the M is the flame of knowledge, the lamp of learning, the academic fire that is nourished through the integration of learning, discovery and engagement.

The MSU Tagline: Mountains and Minds
MSU's official tagline is "Mountains and Minds." The tagline was first implemented in 1983 to promote MSU summer session. It's roots are in the poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins: "O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall / Frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed."

The tagline is highly regarded and recognized by our stakeholders across Montana and beyond. The tagline is recommended for use/inclusion across all communications.

MSU College of Letters and ScienceMSU Extension

 

Brand Extensions:
Academic colleges and agencies have been assigned a graphic that integrates their name with the core signature.

All academic departments and research units that are directly affiliated with an academic college or one of the agencies should use that organization's brand extension.

MSU Residence LifeMSU Career, Internship & Student Employment Services
MSU Thermal Biology Institute Header

 

Unit Identifier: If university administrative units that serve the entire university need to showcase their name in a small space, a unit identifier graphic can be provided. Unit identifiers are not designed to be used on MSU letterhead, business cards or websites. Please contact creativeservices@montana.edu for a unit identifier graphic.

Montana State Bobcats athletic marks

MSU Athletic Marks

Montana State Bobcat athletics utilize several spirit marks to promote and enhance the visibility and build positive associations with Bobcat athletics. The family of athletic marks is reserved for the exclusive use of Bobcat athletics. These marks cannot be used by academic or administrative departments in their official communications.

Exclusive Athletic Marks

Use of the athletic and spirit marks by entities outside of the university is strictly forbidden. Vendors wishing to develop merchandise bearing the MSU or Bobcat name or logo must apply for a license through Collegiate Licensing Company. Businesses wishing to promote their service or product by aligning with the MSU Bobcats must negotiate an agreement with Bobcat Sports Properties.

For student use of the Bobcat logo, please see student use section.

For more information on Bobcat Merchandise: Bobcat Spirit

Vendors wishing to produce products bearing the Bobcat name or logo:
Trademarks and Licensing
FAQ

Champ athletic mark Cats athletic markMSU Athletic MMSU Athletics Bobcat Logo

Print Guidelines

All communications, whether printed or electronic, must include the proper MSU branding. The MSU core logo or the college brand extension logo is required on all communications. 

Sample Publications

Creative Services is available to help create on brand publications like the following samples. Click on image to enlarge.

Newsletter
Newsletter
College of Letters and Science publication
2012 Ag Excellence

Typography

Color Palette

The following type fonts are recommended for all printed materials. These fonts were chosen to complement the MSU logo and wordmark font. There are two classic fonts, one serif and one sans serif that can be used for both headlines and body text. A third font is a display font to be used for headlines only.

ITC Franklin Gothic Std OTF
Sans-serif - communicates a clean, modern impression; available in a wide range of weights.
The main font use for the MSU business suite (letterhead, envelopes, business cards) publications and promotional materials. Arial narrow is used as a substitute in the electronic template version of the letterhead. Recommended for headlines and body text.

Book

Medium

Demi

 

Adobe Garamond Pro OTF
Serif - communicates a sophisticated, classical impression.
Recommended primarily for body text, especially in correspondence and copy.

Regular

Semibold

Bold

 

Caecilia LT Std OTF (pronounced Ka-silia)
Slab serif display font - communicates a strong impression with a collegiate look with echoes of MSU's wordmark font; use Bold and Heavy weights. Recommended for headlines only.

Roman

Bold

Heavy

We recommend Open Type Fonts (OTF) because they are cross platform, meaning they can be used interchangeably by Macintosh and PC systems. Licenses for these fonts can be purchased at these sites:

www.fonts.com
www.fonthaus.com
www.myfonts.com
www.linotype.com
www.fontshop.com

You do not need to buy the entire font families, especially in the case of Caecilia-Bold and Heavy are the only weights you would need. ITC Franklin Gothic Standard has many weights and variations to choose from. Choose the ones you expect to use most often. Adobe Garamond offers the standard selection of Regular, Italic, Semibold, Semibold Italic and Bold. All of these are useful in creating publications.

blue
gold

MSU's primary color fonts are blue and gold, and we recommend using them in publications and promotional materials, particularly those that are targeted to MSU core audiences. Audiences, especially in the state of Montana, instantly recognize blue and gold as representing MSU.


Extended Color Palette

athletic gold
red
green
light blue
yellow
black
dark teal
grey brown
purple
grey
white

The extended palette consists of additional recommended colors that complement the university's blue and gold, while providing for a sophisticated color scheme. These colors are meant to be used in four-color process publications and follow the CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black) naming convention.

Web Guidelines

The MSU website is one of our most powerful communication tools. All academic, administrative, research and outreach units must use the MSU branded Web templates and follow the guidelines of the Web style guide.  
 
MSU Web and Digital Communications is responsible for the design and management of the Web branding program. In addition to providing the Web templates, they are responsible for reviewing and approving all website designs before they are published publicly. MSU Web and Digital Communications must be contacted early in the Web development process to ensure design plans meet branded Web standards.

All graphical development for Web pages must be in accordance with the Graphic Identity and Branding Guidelines.
 
For more information on web branding: Visit www.montana.edu/web

Downloads:
Web Templates
Web Style Guide Resources
Facebook covers
Desktop, Mobile and Tablet Wallpapers
Ringtones, Audio and Mobile Apps

Video Guidelines

Video has become an effective media to showcase the excellence of Montana State University and help the university and its departments achieve their goals. Just like other mediums, it is important to properly represent and include MSU branding. Several tools are available to brand MSU video pieces. 

Bumpers: Opening and closing graphics, called bumpers, are to be placed at the beginning and end of the video piece. Custom bumpers with college brand extension graphics are available upon request. Bug: The MSU logo bug is a transparent graphic that is placed throughout the video piece.

Bumper

An opening bumper includes the MSU logo and should be placed at the head of any video project to brand it as an MSU production. The closing bumper identifies that the production is the intellectual property of MSU and should appear at the end of the production.

Opening (mov)

MSU Intro MSU Intro with SFX

Closing (mov)

MSU End

Lower Third

Lower Thirds: To identify subjects in video productions, use a lower third bar in the MSU branded video style.

  • When adding subtitles to the video, use Arial or Helvetica font
  • When showing a name and title use:
    First Name Last Name: Jane Doe
    Department Name: MSU College of Business

The graphic is an editable file so text can be updated. However, the selected font (Arial or Helvetica) should be used, as this is part of the MSU branding. Once finished, the graphic should be saved as a TIFF file with 'layers' and 'alpha channels' selected. This file should be compatible with most video editing applications. The graphic can be placed at the bottom of the image-safe area of the screen using keyframes or your editor's particular option for moving graphic layers.

Lower Third (psd)

Banner Blue Bar

Bug

The bug identifies the production as an MSU production. This graphic is placed in the lower-right corner of the image-safe area of the video and should remain on the screen for the production between the opening and closing bumpers. The bug is intended for video purposes only and is not appropriate for other print or online uses.

Bug

HD (1920x1080) 4:3

Film and photography on campus: Outside vendors producing films on campus for commercial purposes must comply with the film and photography policy and complete the facility use permit.
 
Campus departments and units filming their own video or contracting outside sources to film should:

  • Advise building supervisors.
  • Procure model releases for individuals featured in the piece. 
  • Receive authorization from a parent or guardian in order for minors to appear in an MSU video.

All videos produced using MSU resources must have MSU branding applied.

MSUTube is the central source for all MSU videos. Individuals wishing to have their videos included in the MSUTube feed must adhere to the above branding guidelines. University Communications has final sign-off on all video projects. Requests to post videos to MSUTube should be directed to: websupport@montana.edu.

Photography

The following guidelines apply to all communications such as brochures, posters, direct mail and websites.

The MSU photography style mirrors our brand personality-natural, authentic and focused on people. Photos should be high quality and highlight students and professors engaged in their dynamic learning and living environment. Imagery featuring students and mentors actively involved in research, creative projects and community involvement are preferred to snapshots of individuals or groups in static poses.

MSU photography is:

  • Personal-focused on the individual in their environment
  • Active-highlights students and professors actively involved in learning, discovery and engagement.
  • Simple, balanced, natural
  • Showcases ambitious, friendly people
  • Vibrant and captures diversity

The University Photographer gathers imagery to illustrate news releases and key university events. Contract photography for specific print, web, or video projects is available. Any university entity using photography for marketing purposes should ensure that recognizable subjects have signed an image release form.

More information on MSU Photography.

Communication Tools

All communications, whether printed or electronic, must include the proper MSU branding. The MSU core logo or the college brand extension logo is required on all communications. 

Business Suite

Business Suite

Montana State University has created an official business suite to ensure consistent communications on our letterhead, envelopes and business cards. All orders for the MSU business suite are completed online: EZTemplating.

Electronic Letterhead

Electronic letterhead is meant to create official MSU communications that are distributed electronically. The electronic letterhead is not meant to be used as a stand-alone communications vehicle. Place orders for electronic letterhead here: http://www.montana.edu/cpa/graphics/workaround/lh-ordering.html

Downloads

Powerpoint Templates

Powerpoint Template blue
Template - Blue
  Powerpoint Template light
Template - Light

Stick-on Nametags  - Word Document, for use with Avery labels #5395

Nametags

Tent Card Nameplate - Word Document, for use with Avery product #5309

Tent card

Electronic Communications

Email Signature file
When communicating via email, it is important to include a professional signature file:

  • Signature block should include name, title, Montana State University, campus address, phone number and website URL if applicable.
  • Use a web friendly, sans serif font in black.
  • Do not add other logos, background graphics or quotes.
  • For external communications an alternate electronic signature could include an MSU logo or MSU benchmark shown below.

Example:
Jonathan (Jonny) Doe
Title
Montana State University
Department/Office/Program
Bozeman, MT 59717
406-994-XXXX
montana.edu/webpage
(not necessary to repeat email address in signature file)

Optional Elements:
Key message "benchmarks" are available to communicate the university's strengths to external and internal audiences. A selection of these messages are located here:

  • Montana State University is among just two percent of all colleges and universities in the U.S. with "very high research" activity according to the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
  • Montana State University, the state's land-grant institution, educates students, creates knowledge and art and serves communities by integrating learning, discovery and engagement.
  • Research expenditures have exceeded $100 million five out of the past seven years and make MSU the largest research enterprise in the state.
  • Montana State University earned the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching's engagement classification in fall 2011 which recognizes MSU's commitment to teaching that encourages volunteer service in communities and the spreading of knowledge that benefits the public.
  • MSU students and faculty are nationally and internationally recognized as thought leaders in their disciplines. 
  • MSU offers a top rate education that has enabled many students to compete successfully for prestigious scholarship, grants and placement in top tier graduate programs. MSU students earned National Science Foundation, Boren and Fulbright Fellowships, and Marshall,  Rhodes, Udall and Goldwater scholarships.