Montana State University

MSU chooses new logo

May 4, 2005 -- by Annette Trinity-Stevens

The new MSU logo, which will be phased in beginning this summer.    High-Res Available

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
Montana State University has chosen a new logo for the Bozeman-based university that reflects such elements as the spark of learning and the statewide reach of the university's land-grant mission, university officials announced today.

At the center of the design stands a block "M," with an arc underneath and a geometric shape above. The words "Montana State University" appear below the logo in traditional serif type. The design incorporates various tones of blue and gold, the university's official colors.

The new logo, which will be implemented during the next several months, does not replace the Bobcat head used by MSU Athletics, nor does it apply to MSU campuses in Billings, Great Falls and Havre, said Suzi Taylor, head of MSU publications and graphics.

However, it will be used by most entities affiliated with the Bozeman campus, including the MSU Extension Service, the agricultural research centers and off-campus nursing programs, Taylor added.

The new design replaces what many refer to as the "hotel sign" logo created 10 years ago when MSU merged with campuses in Billing, Havre and Great Falls.

Taylor said the new logo was designed to integrate both historical and aspirational values. For example, the "M" is reminiscent of the "M" on Bozeman's Mount Baldy, a familiar sight to thousands of city residents, alumni and visitors. The arc from which the "M" rises symbolizes the university's reach across the state.

"Together, the 'M' and the arc convey positive, upward motion--a university on the rise," said Taylor.

The geometric element above the letter represents a spark of energy, or the academic flame of knowledge.

"Taken as a whole, the logo's elements signify Montana State University's key strengths and core values," Taylor said. Those attributes include discovery, creativity and the ability to integrate such elements as learning with lifestyle and teaching with research.

Following its implementation beginning this summer, the logo will appear on all university letterhead, business cards, publications and Web sites. It also will appear on official university merchandise including clothing.

Taylor said MSU will phase in the new logo rather than ask departments to toss out any publications, letterhead or other materials made with the present logo.

The logo often will appear with the phrase "Mountains and Minds," which the university has chosen as its official tagline, according to MSU marketing director Julie Kipfer.

Hundreds of other tagline suggestions were solicited from alumni, faculty, students and staff last summer, but "Mountains and Minds," which has appeared on various MSU marketing and recruitment materials for several years, best encapsulates the institution's essence and core values, Kipfer said.

MSU began the logo redesign process last fall, with Esser Design of Phoenix, following a communications audit that found more than 70 different logos in use on campus. The logo steering committee unveiled two proposed designs in March to faculty, alumni, staff, students and the public.

Taylor said the committee took the groups' comments into account and came up with the final design, which has drawn strong support from campus leadership and student groups.

The cost of the project was $23,500, paid for with private funds from the MSU Foundation.

The new mark is just one element of a larger marketing effort aimed at increasing the university's visibility and better communicating its overall strengths, said Kipfer.

For more information on the logo or other university marketing efforts, see or contact Suzi Taylor at 994-2721.

Contact: Suzi Taylor, (406) 994-2721; Julie Kipfer, (406) 994-4571