MSU Logo

Michigan State University LogoMSU Logo PNG

The emblem of Michigan State University is decorated with an ancient Greek (Corinthian or Dorian) helmet worn by the warriors of Sparta. At first, the warrior symbol was used only by the sports teams of the educational institution, but then the designers created the MSU logo with the same image. The helmet represents the courage, perseverance, and perseverance of the students.

MSU: Brand overview

Founded:February 12, 1855
East Lansing, Michigan, United States
Michigan State University, also known as MSU, has existed since 1855. At first, only agricultural education was possible there, but over time, the list of disciplines studied has expanded noticeably, up to nuclear physics, hotel business, and music theory. It is noteworthy that this educational institution owns the largest system of hostels for teachers and students, museums, research centers, and laboratories in the United States. And its sports teams, known as the Michigan State Spartans, have repeatedly broken records and won national championships.

Meaning and History

Michigan State University Primary Logo

The roots of MSU go back to 1855 when the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan appeared in the USA, which was subsequently renamed several times. Seventy years after the establishment of the educational institution, its program expanded: several applied sciences began to be taught there, which was accordingly reflected in the university’s name. In 1964, the former agricultural college received permission to remove all words from its name except “Michigan State University.” Now the short version has taken root more – MSU.

And to visually shorten the name, the university uses catchy trademarks, particularly the Spartan helmet. In some cases, the helmet logo can turn into a graphic element, which can be changed. But all of this must meet the standards specified in the branding guide.

What is MSU?

MSU is an abbreviation for Michigan State University. This is one of the oldest educational institutions in the United States, a member of the Association of American Universities, and the owner of sports teams nicknamed the Spartans. MSU is included in the list of universities with the largest number of students, and all thanks to the expanded educational programs.

There is also a seal that is part of the MSU identity. Its use is more selective. She authenticates university documents, including graduate diplomas, and decorates branded stationery such as business cards and stationery for promotional purposes. At the same time, it is strictly forbidden to print on souvenirs: for example, on key chains, mugs, or clothes.

MSU’s main logo features a Spartan helmet. This is a long-standing badge associated with the Michigan State Spartans, which got their heroic nickname in the first half of the 20th century. Sports success and deep traditions contributed to the fact that all students and graduates of the university began to be called Spartans, and the corresponding symbol appeared on the emblem of the educational institution.

The helmet is turned to the right side. It consists of several parts that are painted green (shade #18453B) and separated by white voids. The first fragment, in the form of an inverted hunting horn, should represent feathers. Where it arches upwards are connectors: eight small elements lined up in a row and forming a half-arc. Under them is the base – a face mask. It has an uneven shape because the back of the helmet is slightly beveled, and the jaw plate looks like a triangle. A protruding strip to protect the nose is depicted on the front. There is a recess for the eye at the point where it begins.

In 2021, MSU executives wanted to change the design to match the shape of a real Spartan helmet more closely. It was supposed that the drawing would have many angles and beveled lines, making it ferocious. Modernize the overall look of the logo undertook the company, Nike. But neither the students, nor the graduates, nor the sports teams of the university liked the new version. Numerous protests and a wave of negative reviews led to the educational institution abandoning the rebranding.

The combo version of the logo pairs the helmet with a wordmark that reads “MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY.” The title is divided into two lines, with a long horizontal line drawn between them. The words “MICHIGAN STATE” are at the top, and “UNIVERSITY” is below them. In order for both parts of the text to match in length, the designers adjusted the letter spacing accordingly.


Michigan State University Seal Logo

The MSU seal is of particular historical value because it depicts the ancient symbols of the educational institution. First of all, we are talking about College Hall – the first building erected on campus. It was built in 1856 and used for educational purposes. Later it turned out that cheap labor reduced the quality: many defects were found in the walls, foundation, and roof. The structure collapsed unexpectedly in 1918 due to an orchestra playing music and marching under its windows.

Despite the sad fate, College Hall has been immortalized in the seal of MSU. Cumulus clouds swirl around him, hiding the rising sun. The rest of the sky is illuminated by rays: sixteen thin stripes diverge in different directions. They symbolize the advent of a new era in American education. More precisely, the time when the teaching of agriculture joined the humanities.

The road leading to the entrance to the building represents equal opportunities for all citizens. This refers to an egalitarian ideology, equal rights to education for representatives of all social categories of the population. The trees and shrubs that are depicted around perform not only a decorative function. They symbolize growth and growth in terms of teaching new knowledge.

Below College Hall is the year MSU was founded: “FOUNDED 1855”. This inscription and the drawing are placed inside a white circle. The general frame is a wide ring with the words “MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY.” Two of them are at the top and have the shape of an arch, and the third is located at the bottom and curved in the opposite direction.

Font and Colors

MSU Symbol

The key symbol of MSU is the Spartan – a warrior who is distinguished by strength, endurance, and the ability to work in a team. At first, this image applied only to the university’s sports teams, but then it was made the basis of the identity of the entire educational institution. This explains why the helmet of the Spartan is depicted on the emblem.

Michigan State University uses a wordmark for its identification, which contains its full name. The inscription is made in a font with a contrasting thickness of the main and additional glyphs. The letters have short serifs. The overall shape of the typeface is partially reminiscent of Dragon Serial Light from SoftMaker.

Both the logo and the MSU seal are in the signature green known as Spartan. It is in shade #18453B (Pantone 567). And white is optional, although it may vary depending on the background.

MSU color codes

Brunswick GreenHex color:#18453b
RGB:24 69 59
CMYK:65 0 14 73
Pantone:PMS 3305 C