MSU Extension Brand Standards Toolkit

The MSU brand is a distinctive and memorable representation of the organization that:

  • Announces our presence
  • Builds the credibility of our programming with audiences and partner organizations
  • Reinforces the sense of trust and loyalty that audiences have for our programming

Using the appropriate wordmark and other brand elements consistently on programming and promotional materials, apparel, signs and elsewhere, helps us to positively shape the way our clients, stakeholders and partner organizations think and feel about the MSU College of Agriculture & Natural Resources, MSU Extension and MSU AgBioResearch.

This toolkit is designed to guide you in following the MSU brand standards so that our audiences are exposed to a consistent message whenever they encounter or interact with our collegeMSU Extension and MSU AgBioResearch. The toolkit draws from the MSU Brand ( website. The site was developed and is maintained by MSU Communications and Brand Strategy (CABS), the university’s central communications unit.

What Is [a] Brand?

“A brand is not a logo, tagline, colors, TV commercials, or websites.

“A brand is perception. More specifically, it’s the sum total of people’s perceptions and experiences—what they think, feel, and respond to when they interact with an organization. And branding is the intentional process of shaping that perception.”

Source: “Brand Basics” ( from the MSU Brand website.

Brand Elements

This toolkit is designed to explain how to use the various elements of the MSU brand – the wordmark, Spartan helmet, color palette, typography (typefaces), key messages, and tagline – on various print pieces (such as brochures, fliers, and educational and promotional materials), business cards, email signatures, web pages and other online materials, signs, apparel, and more.

The Wordmark

CABS has approved the official MSU Extension wordmark (see Figure 1) for use on educational and promotional materials, signs, and more, but not for use on apparel. (See “On Apparel” for information on the approved graphic for use on apparel.). You can find all wordmarks for MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, MSU Extension, MSU AgbioResearch, Project GREEEN and 4-H on our Wordmarks & Logos page.

MSU Extension Picture

Figure 1: Use the official MSU Extension wordmark on educational and promotional materials, signs, and more, but not on apparel.

The Spartan Helmet

The Spartan helmet (see Figure 2) can be used on printed materials with or without a wordmark. The two elements may not be used so closely together (either side-by-side or above-below) that they appear to be joined, however. The helmet can also be used on apparel and signs (see the appropriate sections of this toolkit for guidance on those uses).

Spartan Helmet Image 1

Figure 2: The Spartan helmet can be used with or without a wordmark on printed materials, but must not be placed side-by-side with or so closely above or below the wordmark that the two elements appear to be joined. The helmet can also be used on apparel and on signs.

The Color Palette

The Primary Palette

MSU’s official school colors are green (see Figure 3) and white. Different applications and systems use different formulas to create the proper green for print, web, and other uses.

  • Pantone Matching System (PMS) color 567 – Mostly used by commercial printers.
  • CMYK: C=82, M=0, Y=64, K=70 – Used in four- or full-color commercial printing.
  • RGB: R=24, G=69, B=59 – Used in electronic documents, such as Word and PDF files.
  • Hex (web): 18453B – Used in web design.

Official MSU Green

Figure 3: The official MSU green and the formulas for creating it for various applications.

The Secondary Palette

The colors shown in the secondary palette (see Figure 4) have been tested for their appeal with a variety of audiences. The formula for creating each color in various systems appears below it.

greengraybright orangeturquoise

light purpledark graylime greentan

burnt orangelight greenpurpledark orange

Figure 4: The colors in the secondary palette that have been chosen for use in MSU-related materials (such as brochures, web pages, and educational and promotional materials).

The Typefaces

Two type families, Gotham (sans serif) and Californian (serif), are recommended for use in MSU materials. If these typefaces aren’t available on your computer, you may substitute:

  • For Gotham: Helvetica or Arial
  • For Californian: Georgia or Times Roman

The Key Messages

When writing articles, web pages, brochures, fliers, and other materials, keep in mind these three key messages from the MSU Brand:

  • Individual strength – We do well individually and excel when working in teams.
  • Collective power – We are skillful partners and we value differences.
  • Extraordinary impact – We are driven to deliver programming for a better tomorrow, helping individuals and communities around Michigan and beyond.