Visual Identity Standards - Guidelines
I. OFFICIAL UNIVERSITY Signature
The official graphic signature (logo) of the university consists of the words Mississippi State University and a crest featuring the M-State symbol.
The official University signature forms 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.
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 well as the spirit and the loyalty of its students, alumni, faculty, and staff.
The official University 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 crest. 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. The official University signature should be used with all communications produced by the university. The following guidelines apply:
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 on either the right or left.
The signature never should be used as a headline.
The signature always should be reproduced from official university artwork.
A. Clear Space
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.
B. Sizing and Proportions
Do not reproduce the official University signature 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.
Never alter or redraw the signature elements. 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.
D. Unacceptable Usage
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.
E. Color Options
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.|
|D) A single-color signature can also appear on a sufficiently contrasting colored background.|
|E) Other color combinations that provide sufficient contrast may be allowable in certain situations. Contact the Office of Public Affairs 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.|
II. TAGLINES AND SECONDARY LOGOS
The official University signature represents all Mississippi State University departments and offices; however, an individual unit may wish to identify itself by using a tagline or by developing a secondary logo.
- Taglines - The names of individual units should be presented as a tagline, using simple typography. The Office of Public Affairs will produce graphics for tagline signatures for campus units upon request. The font used for campus unit tagline signatures is ITC Cheltenham Std Book Condensed Italic.
- Secondary Logos - Secondary logos must be submitted to the Office of General Counsel for review and approval prior to use of the logo. In some instances, the design may be further routed to the Communications Council for discussion and ultimate approval. Mississippi State University must be the predominant element in all secondary logos. No spirit marks may be incorporated in a secondary logo.
When a department/unit name does not clearly identify it as a division of the University, the phrase “A unit of Mississippi State University” should be incorporated into the tagline.
III. University Seal
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 character 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 university documents, such as diplomas, high-level certificates, awards, letterhead, and business cards.
IV. STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS
Recognized student organizations may use spirit marks and/or the words “Mississippi State University” in combination with the name and logo of the organization, with prior approval from the Office of General Counsel. All merchandise that includes the name of the University and/or logos of the University must be ordered from licensed vendors – NO EXCEPTIONS. This requirement applies whether the merchandise is sold or given away. The Office of General Counsel should be contacted to confirm that the vendor is licensed.
V. SPIRIT MARKS AND VERBIAGE
A. Spirit Marks
The spirit marks or informal marks are used to communicate school spirit. Spirit marks may not be used in departmental secondary logos; however, Athletics, officially recognized student groups, and alumni organizations may use spirit marks in their logos with prior approval by the Office of General Counsel. These marks should be used only when a bolder, more informal look is desired, and should never compete graphically or be used as a substitute for the university's official signature. The marks must not be altered, either in appearance or color when used as part of the organization’s logo. Color variations and trendy designs may be allowed on merchandise.
1. Primary Spirit Marks
2. Secondary Spirit Marks
While the M-State signature or logo is the most recognizable of the Mississippi State University informal branding symbols, there are others that strongly represent the institution. These are the university mascot Bully, the paw print, and the cowbell. Innovative designs using these symbols have been created for use.
3. Spirit Wordmark
The spirit wordmark takes the M-State logo concept and expands it into a design with the words "Mississippi State" spelled out in a typeface. The use of this mark on business cards is reserved for Athletics.
In addition to the logos mentioned above, the University has rights to the following verbiage.
- Mississippi State University ®
- Mississippi State ®
- Bulldogs ™
- Dawgs ™
- Bully ™
- MSU ™
- State ™
- Welcome to Our State ™
- This is Our State ™
- Hail State ®
- #HailState ®
All uses of MSU’s marks/logos/verbiage shall incorporate the appropriate trademark identifier (i.e., ® or TM).
VI. Web Usage
By policy (http://www.msstate.edu/dept/audit/0113.html), the official University signature must appear on every official Web page of the university.
Any of the following 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 official signature must appear at the top of the web page, right or left. 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 official signature may be used, but is not required, on student and faculty personal web pages located at a msstate.edu address.
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 Heather M. Rowe at 662-325-3442.
VII. EMAIL SIGNATURE BLOCK
Individuals who wish to include a logo in their email signature block may use the official University signature with or without the crest or one of the Spirit Marks (excluding the Paw Print and Bulldog Head). Phrases such as “Go Dawgs,” “Hail State,” or other MSU-related phrases may be used. No other phrases or quotations should be included.
University stationery sends a powerful visual message about the writer and the university. While a consistent visual image provided by the official University signature is needed to project a sense of institutional unity, there is room for variation in the design of letterhead. Several examples of letterhead using the signature can be downloaded below.
The official signature, University seal, or the approved secondary logo must be the main identifying element on university letterhead and must be printed in PMS 202 maroon or black ink. Certain units of the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine may use adaptations of the basic Mississippi State letterhead that are necessary to comply with federal regulations on the use of penalty mail (Penalty Mail - official federal government mail, other than franked mail, which is authorized by law to be transmitted in the mail without prepayment of postage.)
- Example with Official University Signature
- Example with Official University Signature and Tagline for Department
- Example with Seal
IX. BUSINESS CARDS/STUDENT NETWORKING CARDS
Employee Business Cards
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.)
The primary side which includes the contact information should contain the University signature, seal, or approved secondary logo. 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.
Student Networking Cards
Students may use the MState logo and the words “Mississippi State University” for networking cards. The official University signature may not be used. The cards must identify “student” status and include expected graduation date. Cards must be printed by an approved vendor/licensee and approved by the Office of General Counsel.
X. Envelopes and Mailing Labels
University envelopes in various sizes should be printed with the official University signature, seal or approved secondary logo and return address in PMS 202 maroon or black. Special event logos or themes also may be used, but must be printed on the back flap of the envelope.
The official University signature must appear prominently on the front or back cover of all university publications.
The Office of Public Affairs and Agricultural Communications 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, the design should be reviewed by the Office of Public Affairs or Agricultural Communications prior to printing to ensure consistency with these standards.
Xii. Vehicle Identification
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 signature will be displayed in maroon or white, depending on the vehicle color. Artwork for vehicle identification is available through the Office of Public Affairs.
XIII. LICENSING REQUIREMENTS FOR VENDORS
The University requires vendors who produce merchandise/products using MSU logos/marks to be licensed through its licensing agency, the Licensing Resources Group (LRG). Vendors who produce merchandise for resale are required to pay a royalty to the University, which is distributed at the President’s discretion to fund various programs and scholarships. A vendor is only exempt from paying royalty when the product is produced for an internal department of MSU and the product is not resold.
These Visual Identity Standards, along with OP 06.03, should provide general information and guidance regarding the use of the University’s logos/marks. Contact the Office of General Counsel, PO Box 6171, Mississippi State, MS 39762 or call 662-325-8131 for specific questions not addressed in this document or the policy referenced above. A list of current licensed vendors will be provided upon request.
Forms, Advertisements, Videotapes, Displays, Exhibits, Etc.
Any university-related advertisements placed in print media or on television must contain the official University signature. The University signature must be used in any university videotape productions as well. Exhibits, displays, and forms for external use representing the university must display the official University signature or spirit mark, excluding the paw print and bulldog head.
XV. Development and Modification of Standards
The university's standing Communications Council periodically will evaluate and, if necessary, recommend revision of the visual identity standards. Requests for exceptions to these standards should be submitted to the Office of General Counsel.
Questions concerning internal use of the university signature and other approved university symbols should be addressed to the Office of Public Affairs at 662-325-3442 or to the Office of General Counsel at 662-325-8131. Questions concerning commercial vendors and licensing should be addressed to the Office of General Counsel at 662-325-8131.