University Relations and Marketing

A New Logo... the inside story and FAQ

""Guidelines for logo usage, official colors and naming conventions
""Download logo files

What is the history behind the MSU Billings logo?
In recent years, the Bozeman campus of Montana State University underwent a marketing study and came to the conclusion that MSU needed its own unique identity. MSU hired a design firm to develop a new logo and graphic identity specifically for Bozeman. As a result, the system-wide logo, which had been in use since 1994, was no longer supported. This allowed the other three campuses to develop their own identities. MSU-Northern and MSU-Great Falls College of Technology, now Great Falls College, have also changed their institutional logos. MSU Billings began developing a new logo in 2005. The Office of University Relations spent more than a year conducting focus groups on campus and in the community. Hundreds of design variations were considered, among them stylistic images of McMullen Hall and the Rimrocks. A more abstract approach was favored, in part because it was less limiting and had more universal appeal.  The new symbol created is also prominently present in the logo for City College, formerly College of Technology.  In 2012 the College of Technology became City College at Montana State University as part of a Montana University System initiative titled COLLEGE!NOW.

For more information on the COLLEGE!NOW initiative visit

How much did the logo creation cost?
The logo was designed by staff in the Office of University Relations. No funds, other than salary, were spent on the design or creation of the graphic identity system.

What does the logo represent?
The symbol is an abstract letter “B”—for Billings—that is derived from local features. The design evokes the free-flowing Yellowstone River and the wind in the prairie grasses. The forward motion of the “B” represents the university’s progressive spirit. For reference purposes, the symbol can be referred to as the “Flying B” (not the flying or floating “bee”).

How did MSU Billings decide the school colors?
The colors have been updated to be more contemporary and to be easier to reproduce in print. The blue has been brightened to represent Montana’s Big Sky, and the yellow has been deepened to represent the hues of the Rimrocks. Color formulations have been developed for both print and electronic uses.

Has the official university seal been changed?
No, the university seal remains the same.

When will the logo be fully implemented?
In order to be fiscally responsible, the university is implementing the logo whenever new uses are funded. New signs or decals on newly acquired campus vehicles, for example, feature the new logo. Existing signs will be changed when funds become available. Letterhead, envelopes and business cards in the new design can be ordered through printing services. Offices and departments may use up existing stocks before replacing stationery with the new design.

Do we still use the hyphen?
In keeping with national trends in naming conventions, the university has dropped the use of the hyphen in its name. Most university systems with multiple campuses have gone to the new style because the hyphen confers secondary status on affiliate campuses.

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