Visual Identity Standards
Signature (logo) Guidelines
The academic and tagline signatures form the foundation upon which the MSU Visual Identity Program is built. The crest in the signature incorporates a shield reflecting the traditional one that is part of the official MSU seal. The shape also is an architectural element of one of MSU's historic buildings, thereby tying this image to the history and tradition of the institution.
They should be used with all communications produced by the university. The following guidelines apply when using the signatures:
- The signature should be applied to the front outside cover of printed materials in most instances.
- When the signature is not applied to the front outside cover, it should be applied to the outside back cover of printed materials.
- For official Web pages, the signature must appear at the top of the page.
- The signature never should be used as a headline.
- The signature always should be reproduced from official university artwork.
This diagram indicates the staging specifications for the signature. The signature must be surrounded on all sides by the specified clear space to separate it distinctly from any other graphic elements. This clear space and separation from other elements provide graphic impact and preserve the integrity of the signature.
Clear space is equal to the height of the letters of the word "UNIVERSITY" from the signature. The clear space varies with the size of the signature. Leave at least 1/8 inch of protected white space around the signature.
Sizing and Proportions
Do not reproduce the academic or tagline signatures less than 1½ inches in width (2" for horizontal signatures) for printed material or as specified below for the web. At widths less than this, the clarity and integrity of the signature is compromised.
When resizing the signature, it is critical that it be resized proportionately. Use the shift key when drag sizing (applies to both Windows and Macintosh platforms), or use equal percentages when using a scaling tool.
The academic signature represents all Mississippi State University departments and offices. Individual unit or secondary logos should not be developed or used with university communications. The names of individual units should be presented using simple typography to avoid competing logos. Units with significant external responsibilities or a high level of visibil ity may have distinct logos that may be used as subordinate symbols with the academic signature remaining the dominant symbol. See below for specifics.
Never alter or redraw the signature elements. They should not be rearranged, rotated, animated, shadowed, or rendered in three-dimensional form without prior authorization. Do not place the signature elements inside any other shape or combine them with any other symbol or graphic. The crest may not be used alone. The logotype has been customized for the university, therefore campus units should always reproduce the signature or symbol from authorized digital files or authorized reproduction-quality originals.
Do not change the proportions of the signature.
Do not reconfigure or redraw the signature.
Placing the signature in another shape is not allowed.
Rotating the signature is not allowed.
Resetting the type is not allowed.
A) For print, the signature can appear in one color: Pantone 202, gray, b lack. For the Web, it must be #660000 (maroon). For licensed merchandise, use Pantone 505.
|B) The signature can also be reversed out of another ink color that provides sufficient contrast, such as black or Pantone 202, creating a white signature. Single-color publications often make use of this technique.|
|C) The signature in Pantone 202 can be overprinted on a third color if that color is light enough to provide sufficient contrast. Also, the white of the crest can be reversed out from the colored background.|
|D) A single-color signature can also appear on a sufficiently contrasting colored background.tr>|
|E) Other color combinations that provide sufficient contrast may be allowable in certain situations. Contact the Office of University Relations if you are considering other color combinations. In general, choose backgrounds that contrast with the signature to give it impact. Garish colors inhibit readability, as do busy or heavily textured backgrounds.|
- All Mississippi State University communications materials, whether printed or digital, must display an approved version of the signature.
- The signature should be displayed in a reasonably prominent, but not necessarily dominant, location. It should not be used as a headline.
- Use only authorized digital files or camera-ready art.
- When a signature is reduced or enlarged, it should be treated as one unit. Resize all elements proportionately. Do not reduce the signature below 1-1/2" in width or 2" in width for horizontal signatures.
- Check color for accuracy and ensure that the signature is legible in the chosen context.
- The signature should never be incorporated into illustrations, cartoons, or other symbols or logos.
- The signature does not have to be large to be effective, but it should have ample space around it for legibility and integrity.
- When applying the signature to materials to be printed using multiple colors of ink, the signature can appear in Pantone 202 and white, using the appropriate Pantone Matching System (PMS) colors, maroon (PMS 202) gray (PMS 431), black, the darkest color possible, or reversed out of any color that provides sufficient contrast. A two-color signature of maroon and a tint of 65 percent black is also acceptable.
Formal Signature (logo)
The official graphic signature (logo) of the university consists of the words Mississippi State University and a crest featuring a revised M-State symbol.
The M-State exemplifies the tradition and spirit of Mississippi State University. The crest symbolizes academic excellence and higher education. Together, the elements represent the academic strengths, dignity, and reputation of the university as we ll as the spirit and the loyalty of its students, alumni, faculty, and staff.
The academic signature consists of two elements: the logotype, which is the words Mississippi State set in the ITC Cheltenham Bold Condensed typeface, and the word University, set in the Futura bold typeface; and the M-State symbol, framed by a cres t. The signature serves to identify the university in all forms of communications, and it preserves the integrity of its reputation for academic quality, innovation, and leadership in higher education.
The signature is designed to be used as ONE UNIT, as shown. Requests to use the M-State crest alone will be evaluated on the basis of the potential to advance the mission and reputation of the university, the audience, and the proposed medium.
The academic signature represents all departments and offices. NO individual unit logos should be developed or used with university communications. The names of individual units should be presented typographically to avoid developing competi ng logos.
Campus Unit Tagline Signatures
The campus unit tagline signature combines the academic signature with the tagline of each of Mississippi State University's campus units. The tagline communicates the identity of the university's campus units in a concise, distinguished manner. This signature should be applied to all print and electronic communications published by campus units, including stationery and business cards.
When applying the campus unit tagline signature to printed materials, the tagline and signature never should be separated.
The font used for campus unit tagline signatures is ITC Cheltenham Std Book Condensed Italic.
Use only authorized artwork when reproducing the campus unit tagline signature. This ensures proper and consistent size and space relationships between the tagline and the signature. University Relations will produce graphics for tagline signatures for campus units on request.
Tagline Signatures for Other Entities
Special signatures have been created for selected campuses and units that are vital to the core identity of Mississippi State University. These custom signatures recognize the unique identity needs of these entities and their audiences while maintai ning a strong relationship to the central university brand. The following units are authorized to use custom signatures:
- Meridian Campus
- Extension Service
- MSU Foundation
- Alumni Association
The University Seal is the formal identifier of Mississippi State University. The seal was adopted by the institution in 1932 and has been modified several times since then. Elements in use since the 1890s include a sword, symbolizing the military c haracter of the early institution, and a key, representing the "key to knowledge." The shield, symbolizing the federal role in a land-grant institution, has been part of the design since its inception. Use of the seal should be restricted to official univ ersity documents, such as diplomas and high-level certificates and awards. For most other forms of university communication, the academic signature should be used.
The seal should never be reproduced smaller than 1 inch in diameter.
Contact the Office of University Relations for more information about when it is appropriate to use the seal.
Informal Signatures (Spirit Marks)
The informal marks are used to communicate school spirit. These marks are friendly and casual, and they should be used only when a bolder, more informal look is desired, particularly by athletics, student groups, and alumni organizations. These marks should never compete graphically or be used as a substitute for the university's academic or tagline signatures.
- The marks must not be altered, either in appearance or color.
- The TM symbol must appear with all commercial, promotional, and fund-raising uses of the mark.
Primary Spirit Marks
Apart from the more academic or corporate usage of the formal signature or logo with the crest, the M-State logo, identified for many years with university athletics, has been revised for usage as a more informal logo. Subtle changes have been made to update the former M-State logo without taking away its familiarity as a branding statement for everything that is Mississippi State.
The Office of University Relations does occasionally use the M-State logo on designed pieces such as printed materials, specialty items, and more for campus clients. Requests to use the M-State logo on materials other than those produced by athletic s, the Alumni Association, and student groups will be evaluated on the basis of the potential to advance the mission and reputation of the University, the audience, and the proposed medium.
Currently, five different one- and two- color versions are available for use. Use only authorized artwork when reproducing the M-State signature. This ensures proper and consistent size and space relationships.
Secondary Spirit Marks
While the M-State signature or logo is the most recognizable of the Mississippi State University informal branding symbols, there are three others that strongly represent the institution. These are the university mascot Bully, the paw print, and cowbell. Innovative designs using these symbols have also been created for use.
The Office of University Relations does occasionally use these logos on designed pieces such as printed materials, specialty items, and more for campus clients, even though they are mainly used by athletics. Requests by departments other than athlet ics, the Alumni Association, and student groups to use these logos will be evaluated on the basis of the potential to advance the mission and reputation of the university, the audience, and the proposed medium.
Different full- and one-color versions are available for use. Use only authorized artwork when reproducing these logos. This ensures proper and consistent size and space relationships.
The intercollegiate athletics program uses a customized signature or wordmark to recognize the unique role of intercollegiate sports and the role they play in building relationships with the university's constituents.
The wordmark takes the M-State logo idea and expands it into a design with the words "Mississippi State" spelled out in a typeface created specifically for use on informal university logos.
This wordmark will appear on designed pieces such as printed materials, specialty items, and more for athletics and other groups. Requests to use these logos will be evaluated on the basis of the potential to advance the mission and reputation of th e university, the audience, and the proposed medium.
One-color versions are available for use. Use only authorized artwork when reproducing these logos. This ensures proper and consistent size and space relationships.
By policy (http://www.msstate.edu/dept/audit/0113.html), the university signature (wordmark) must appear on every official Web page of the university.
Any of the three signature versions may be used. They may be either maroon or white, but no other color; however, transparency is permitted to show the signature on a background. They may not be used any smaller than:
|270 pixels wide by 72 high|
|345 pixels wide by 85 high|
|270 pixels wide by 160 high|
These sizes include the protected space surrounding the signature.
The signature must appear at the top of the web page. No other Mississippi State graphics may be used in place of the signature. Nothing else may appear higher on the page than the signature.
The signature may be used, but is not required, on student and faculty personal web pages.
The official MSU maroon color for Web pages is the Web-safe color 102,0,0 (RGB) or 660000 (hex). The named color "maroon" should not be used; in other words, use <body bgcolor="#660000"> rather than <body bgcolor="maroon">.
MSU Web sites should be brought into conformity with these standards as soon as possible.
For questions about Web usage, contact John Genin at 662-325-3442.Graphics for MSU Web sites
University stationery sends a powerful visual message about the writer and the university. While a consistent visual image provided by the official graphic signature (logo) is needed to project a sense of institutional unity, there is room for varia tion in the design of letterhead stationery. However, the signature and crest should be used as one unit. Several examples of stationery using the signature can be downloaded below. Additional examples may be seen at Printing Services.
The signature must be the main identifying element on university letterhead and must be printed in PMS 202 maroon or black ink. In addition to the signature, special event logos, themes, etc. also may be used but must be less prominent and not in co nflict with the university signature.
Certain units of the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine will use adaptations of the basic Mississippi State letterhead that are necessary to comply with federal regulations on the use of penalty mail.
Business cards often introduce the university to people who are not familiar with the institution. It is important that this visual contact convey an identity that can be reinforced in subsequent contacts through consistent use.
University business cards should be printed in PMS 202 maroon or black ink. (Foil stamping and blind embossing may be used.)
Because of the size of a business card, other logos and slogans should not be used on the primary side of the card in competition with the university signature. This additional information may be added to the secondary side of the card, usually at a n additional cost. The primary side includes the contact information.
Envelopes and Mailing Labels
University envelopes in various sizes should be printed with the signature and return address in PMS 202 maroon or black. The signature and crest are to be used as one unit.
Special event logos, themes, etc. also may be used, but must be printed on the back flap of the envelope, usually at an additional cost. This additional information can also be printed on the front of the envelope in a pre-approved area as stipulate d by postal regulations.
The signature must appear prominently on the front or back cover of all university publications, usually as a secondary element and not the predominant design element.
The departments of University Relations, Agricultural Communications, and Printing Services offer design and project coordination. Units of the university are encouraged to seek assistance with publication design and production through one of these departments. If these units choose to develop and produce their own materials for off-campus distribution, the design should be reviewed by University Relations, Agricultural Communications, or Printing Services prior to printing to ensure consistency wit h these standards.
University vehicles will be identified by display of the signature on both sides and on the rear of the vehicle in a manner consistent with state regulations. The name of the university unit may be added below the signature when appropriate. The sig nature will be displayed in maroon or white, depending on the vehicle color. Artwork for vehicle identification is available through Printing Services.
Many items licensed for production by commercial vendors display the university name, as well as other approved university symbols. These visual identity standards encourage the display of the approved university symbols on commercial products. Univ ersity authorization is required for use of the university name or any university symbols on any commercial product. Graphics that deviate from the approved university symbols are not acceptable. A complete list of the approved university symbols that are trademarked, registered, or copyrighted, and corresponding electronic files are available at the licensing office. Address any inquiries concerning such use to the University Licensing Office, P. O. Box 6171, Mississippi State, MS 39762-6171; 662-325-252 5.
Forms, Advertisements, Videotapes, Displays, Exhibits, Etc.
University forms for external use, to be consistent with these standards, must include the signature as one unit.
Any university-related advertisements placed in print media or on television must contain the university signature. The university signature must be used in any university videotape productions as well. Exhibits and displays representing the univers ity must display the university signature.
Development and Modification of Standards
The university's standing Licensing and Trademarks Committee periodically will evaluate and, if necessary, recommend revision of the visual identity standards.
Requests for exceptions to these standards should be submitted to the president via normal administrative channels. The appropriate vice president may present a request for an exception to these standards to the Executive Council for its recommendat ion before forwarding the request to the president.
Questions concerning the use of the university signature and other approved university symbols should be addressed to the Office of University Relations at 662-325-3442. Questions concerning commercial ve ndors and licensing should be addressed to the Licensing Office at 662-325-2525.