University Relations and Communications

Our Logo... the inside story and FAQ

> Guidelines for logo usage, official colors and naming conventions

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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, 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.


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.



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”).



The colors were updated to be more contemporary and to be easier to reproduce in print. The blue was brightened to represent Montana’s Big Sky, and the yellow was deepened to represent the hues of the Rimrocks. Color formulations were developed for both print and electronic uses.



No, the university seal remains the same.



In keeping with national trends in naming conventions, the university 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.