MSU branded items can help bring awareness to your unit and play an important role in connecting with your key stakeholders. Be sure to follow brand guidelines and the procedures below when planning, designing, and purchasing promotional items.

Our guidelines are in place to present a consistent and unified brand. It's our Montana State University promise to our internal and external constituents. We want the messaging to be clear and of high-quality.

Faculty and staff who wish to create merchandise with Montana State marks and logos must follow the below guidelines:

There are two types of merchandise that may be created.

Internal use merchandise:

Any item created bearing the university name and logo, college or department logo, unit identifier or name to be used solely by faculty, staff or students within that college or department.

  • Apparel to be used by staff or faculty
  • Pens for department use

Internal use merchandise is subject to the university trademarks and licensing policy.

External use merchandise:

Any item created bearing the university name or logo, college or department logo, unit identifier or name to be sold for the purpose of generating funds or for giveaways outside the college or department.

External use merchandise is subject to the university trademarks and licensing policy.

Planning your Purchase

Choose useful and meaningful items that leave a positive lasting impression. Things to keep in mind:

  • Audience - Who is the item for? Will this resonate with this audience?
  • Budget - What is your budget? What do you want to spend per item? *Anything $5,000 or more needs to go through MSU's Procurement Office. Click here to learn more about purchasing authority. Some vendors may have discount codes or special promotions you can use.
  • Product Choice - Many vendors will offer to send a sample.
    • Choose a quality item.  Don't just choose the lowest-priced version of an item. Be careful of imitations or items that are cheaply made which will reflect poorly on the university and your unit.
    • Think about sustainability (especially when purchasing items for students). Consider the impact it will have on the environment if the recipient discards it.
  • Timeline - Give yourself plenty of time. It takes longer than you think to select an item, create or obtain approved artwork, purchase, and ship the item.
  • Graphics - Imprint areas on items may be small, especially if the item is small. Limited imprint areas make it challenging to include key information and adhere to university brands standards. The University Communications office will send unit logos directly to the vendor. Units are not allowed to create their own logos. We encourage you to send a draft to Audrey Capp, [email protected], to review early in your planning process.

Licensing Process

Why use a licensed vendor? Because it:

  • Supports MSU branding and brand standards.
  • Helps adherence to the MSU Purchasing contract for all shirts and embroidery.
  • Indemnifies MSU against liabilities from products, and reduces risks.
  • Protects the reputation of MSU and its identifying marks.

Please follow the steps below when ordering merchandise and apparel.

  1. Select a licensed vendor. Go to If you are unable to find product offerings from licensees that fulfill your needs, contact Amy Kanuch, [email protected].
    • Search vendors by choosing a specific product in the Pick a Product Category box.
      • Skip the product selection and only input the university to view all licensed vendors.
    • Select Montana State University in the Pick a School drop down menu.
      • Vendors who have an (Internal Only) indication next to their listing cannot be used for external use merchandise.
  2. Follow University Brand Guidelines and Standards. The Montana State University brand is more than a logo. It is a promise and the perception about who we are as a university, our mission and vision, and why we are important to our internal and external stakeholders.
    • Click here to access the MSU Brand Toolkit.
    • Designs must be reviewed and approved by the university licensing office. You can choose to have your design reviewed by us (especially if it is not just your unit logo/identifier) before you submit it to your vendor. Please email it [email protected]. Otherwise, the vendor will submit your design to MSU to approve.
    • Colleges and departments are not allowed to use the athletic marks in their designs. 
  3. Make the Purchase and complete proper paperwork. Save receipts. Submit receipts to your FSS liaison or fill out a Chrome River report to complete transaction.

Design Standards

Utilizing the below "Best Practices" will allow for a smoother process and likelihood for your request to be approved:

  • Graphics - Whenever possible, you need to use your Unit Identifier/Logo. If the imprint area is too small, your only option may be text. Colleges and departments are not allowed to use the athletic marks in their designs.
  • Product Colors- Merchandise should always be Blue, Gold, or White. Some products may allow for a Gray or Black option. If you are looking at another color, please contact Audrey Capp, [email protected].

Usage Examples

The examples below show some proper and improper applications of branding on merchandise and apparel.

dark blue t-shirt with honors college logo gold t-shirt front with msu logo, gold t-shirt back with a circle and text that says approved design light blue t-shirt with msu logo on sleeve and a circle and text that says approved design on the front
black t-shirt with cathead logo and a red strikethrough dark blue t-shirt with stretched out cathead over a gold seal and a red strikethrough green t-shirt with cathead logo and red strikethrough
dark blue drawstring bag with msu logo gold waterbottle with msu logo dark blue thumbdrive with msu logo


If you have any questions about this process or need assistance with your purchase, please contact Audrey Capp, [email protected].


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