Our Brand


A proud family and a distinctive university. As one of West Virginia's oldest public universities, our roots here run deep. Yet our vision is focused on providing world-class learning opportunities for students from across the country and around the world.

As stewards of Marshall University, an important part of our job is to ensure our university is represented in a professional and consistent manner. We have developed this style guide to assist everyone in maintaining the Marshall brand according to established guidelines.

We are all caretakers of the Marshall University brand. By utilizing these guidelines, you are doing your part to strengthen our brand and unify the Marshall image.

Who are the Guidelines For?
The Marshall institutional identity establishes a standardized visual identity for administrative and academic units throughout the university. It is to be used according to the specific guidelines outlined in this manual. All academic, research, outreach, student services, and administrative units of Marshall University must follow the visual identity guidelines that are described in this guide. Outside agencies that create print or electronic materials for any Marshall University unit must also follow the guidelines. These guidelines apply to all external and internal communications, including advertising, websites, brochures, invitations, direct mail, postcards, fliers, booklets, catalogs, case statements, posters, billboards, banners and other environmental visuals, video, DVD, CD, film, presentations, and stationery.

Referencing the University
The university should always be known by its proper name — Marshall University — as a first reference. The full name, Marshall University, should appear prominently on the front cover of all marketing materials or publications, as well as in the credits of all videos and films. Marshall is acceptable for second and subsequent references. Marshall University should not be referred to as MU. There are other MUs, but only one Marshall University.

What is the Marshall Brand?

TWG Plus was charged with developing an overall institutional identity. Given Marshall's communications demands, the new identity needs the flexibility to drive everything from recruitment marketing to advancement. The identity will be expected to introduce audiences to Marshall, shape perceptions of the institution as a whole, and promote Marshall's various departments and programs.

When we asked about the Marshall University brand, most respondents were unable to articulate it, or they talked about the brand as a reaction to other institutions — and acknowledged that this was a persistent issue.

"We have to stop perceiving ourselves as inferior."
"Collectively, we're not telling any story to the community at large. We just assume people know the history, or there is just a level of familiarity."
"Marshall has an inferiority complex... We haven’t crafted our own identity. Instead, we’re reactive, and we’ve lost sight of being a midsize regional institution serving first-generation students of West Virginia."

What Marshall Does Best
Despite the difficulty people had articulating the brand, the Marshall community had no trouble discussing its strengths. It clearly understands itself as an institution.

To develop a marketing concept that positions Marshall more advantageously, we asked the campus community what the university should be known for. Very quickly in our conversations, consistent themes emerged.

A New Era for Marshall
The most effective institutional marketing tells a clear, compelling story that encourages further exploration. Every aspect of your marketing should inspire some connection to your constituencies.


The theme speaks to the student experience — having the resources and opportunities to define yourself and belonging to a community that embraces you. It is simultaneously aspirational and traditional: It positions Marshall as a place to be bold, and it hearkens to the tradition and history of the university. It leverages the sense of safety and support students find at Marshall. And it fits within the established institutional messaging of "We Are...Marshall." but adds a new, individualized angle.

Although the campaign is an authentic reflection of Marshall's culture, it cannot simply be imposed on the university community. It is something the Marshall family has to live.


The tone of the copy is confident but friendly, direct but reassuring. Language should reflect the sense of belonging and family, such as "join," "find your spot," and "welcoming." It should balance this affirmative thread with action-oriented language, especially when describing academic programs.


Marshall's story is about finding a supportive community where students have the intimate relationships that give guidance and the breadth of resources that allows them to explore. Taken together, this is the perfect environment in which to realize their potential. Coming to Marshall means joining a family, and, like the best family environments, this means being pushed to go further and being accepted for who you are. Beyond giving students outstanding preparation for their chosen career, the Marshall experience gives them both confidence and momentum that are genuinely transformative.

To capture this sense of Marshall as a turning point in a student's life, as the moment when opportunities for real progress present themselves, we have built the campaign around the theme:

I'm descriptor
I am a daughter of Marshall.

I'm descriptor
I am a son of Marshall.


Messaging: Descriptors
The descriptors that follow the "I'm _____" line should ideally be one word, three at the most. Avoid lengthy or overly modified phrasing.

Messaging should be tailored for each particular audience while retaining the "I'm _____" framework. The flexibility of the strategy comes in the use of images. The image might change to reflect the audience. For example, an ad targeting prospective faculty might feature a faculty member with the headline offering an attribute of Marshall professors ("I'm creating citizens" or "I'm changing lives"), or it might feature a student with descriptors that sell the strengths of Marshall students ("I'm driven"; "I'm unafraid").

doing my part
in demand
forward thinking
out in front
an original

Messaging: John Marshall
To maximize the effect of John Marshall, treatment should be simple and focused. The purpose of this treatment is to introduce the reader to Marshall and inform him or her of Marshall's prestige. Rather than offering a lengthy institutional history, copy should highlight the figure of John Marshall, his historical significance, and his influence on the United States' legal system.

Visual Identity


Primary Palette
Marshall University kelly green is who we are. We wear it with pride. Our branding should wear it with pride too. Marshall University is instantly recognizable by many of its audiences through kelly green.

Kelly green (PMS 354) should always stand front and center in our branding of visual communications. We use black, gray, and white to accent it and support it. These colors are to be used for all marketing materials of the university. Consistent use of our official colors helps us continue to build recognition with our audiences.

Secondary Palette
The colors in our secondary palette were chosen to complement our primary palette of green, black, and white. When using one of the colors, remember that kelly green should always be the dominant color in every piece.

All the colors should not be used within one piece. It’s best to find a strong combination of three or four colors and use that color scheme consistently and creatively throughout a piece or series of pieces. For additional information and samples of color combinations, contact the Printing Services design team.


If you are unable to access Sentinel Book, we have two recommended substitute fonts. For the primary substitute font, use Bookman Old Style Regular and Bookman Old Style Bold. A secondary substitute found on most systems is Times Regular and Times Semi Bold. It has a rounder, thinner serif versus the boxier serif on Sentinel, but letter shapes and weights are similar. Sentinel Book and Myriad are print only fonts. The Web Guide covers fonts used for websites.


Primary Logo
The Marshall University primary logo is the Bar M logo. It should appear on all communications, printed or electronic. Do not print the primary logo any smaller than 1.5".

Official Colors of the Logo
The preferred Marshall logo is the two-color version using the specified Marshall Green PMS 354 and Black. No other colors may be used for the two-color logo. When using the logo on a solid background, a solid white line should be around the logo for maximum visibility. In instances where budgetary constraints are a factor, the black, one-color logo version may be printed in 100 percent black.

Marshall University Athletic Logo
This logo should be used in sports-related publications for which it is deemed appropriate. Use of the athletics logo is limited to sports teams, athletics branding communications, and trademarked merchandise. Additional athletic word and stylized buffalo logos are available; see the official logo sheet for samples.

Presidential Seal
The Latin version of the seal is reserved for the use of the president’s office only.

The English version of the university seal may not be substituted for the Marshall logo. This version of the seal may be used only for merchandising and certain documents, such as commencement, diplomas, some invitations, and certificates. It may not be used on letterheads or general publications, either printed or electronic.

The reversed version of the seal should be used on any dark background for print or merchandise. In general, the seal can appear in black or green PMS 354. The seal should never appear in two colors. When a black and white application of the seal is used, it must be printed as solid black on a white field. At no time should it have other graphic devices, colors, and/or shapes added to it.

If the seal is to be foiled, embossed, or reversed on a dark background, a reversed version of the seal is available from University Communications.

The university seal and Marshall University logo should never be combined.

The seal should be used at a size no smaller than 1 1/4" in diameter to prevent the details from filling in.

The university seal should never be positioned at an angle.

Incorrect Usage

In order to create a strong, unified Marshall brand identity, it is imperative to avoid improper uses of the logo. The logo is NOT to be altered in any way.

The stylized elements of the logo and the official Marshall green color, as well as the typography, are all integral elements of the logo. These elements should not be modified.

Do not:

  • Stretch or condense the logo (in most software, hold down shift key to avoid this)
  • Do not isolate the logo in a frame, except for the branded flag element
  • Display the logo at an angle or distort it
  • Add a unit name in place of "MARSHALL" in the Bar M logo
  • Alter the proportions of the words "Marshall University" or the stylized "M"
  • Set the words "Marshall University" in another typeface and use them in the official logo
  • Combine the official logo with another logo or add graphics to the logo


Photography should be selected with the audience in mind — showing students, activities, and locations that will resonate with each specific audience. Photography should appear authentic and candid, as opposed to staged and formal.

Marshall Flag Element

The green Marshall "flag" can be used with or without the Marshall Bar M logo. If the flag is created in InDesign, care should be taken to ensure that the "v" notch in the top edge of the flag retains the correct angle and depth.

The sides of the "v" notch should reflect a 57-degree angle. For a flag of 1.5 inches in width, the bottom of the v should be 0.18 inches in depth from the top edge of the flag. If the Bar M logo is used with a 1.5-inches-wide flag, the logo should be placed at 1.25 inches in width at its maximum (the width of the bar). The black outline on the top edge of the logo should align with the bottom point of the "v" notch.

Acceptable uses shown below.


The distinctive look of Sentinel and oversized numbers are used to draw attention to facts and figures that underscore the strengths of Marshall. Stats can be used in vertical and horizontal formats.


University Communications
and Printing Services

University Communications staff will be helping offices edit and design publications intended to be seen by those outside of the university community, as well as publications that may present a first impression within the university campus. Publications that fall under these guidelines should follow the university text, logo, and design requirements in this branding guide.

Our graphic designers are located in the basement of Old Main, Room B24. Projects include but are not limited to the following: brochures, posters, postcards, ads, programs, university stationery/letterhead/envelopes, invitations, digital ads, and newsletters.

How to Get Started
Step 1
Call or e-mail your University Communications representative to discuss your project. He or she will start a job ticket for your project once the following information has been provided:

  • Type of publication you are requesting
  • Purpose of the publication
  • Audience of publication
  • Quantity
  • Photos and/or graphics you would like to include

Step 2
E-mail the publication text — Microsoft Word document format preferred — to your University Communications representative for editing after it has been approved by those involved in the project. Only the most basic of formatting should be done to the Word document (important words and headings in bold); do not spend time designing the document. University Communications will work with you to refine your message using grammar and style guidelines and can help to create text for your publications. Your representative can also suggest images for projects if needed.

Step 3
After the text is finalized, your University Communications representative will send the document to Printing Services for design and production. Printing Services will provide proofs to the University Communications representative, and he or she will coordinate reviewing the document with the department contact that submitted the job, requesting changes or approval.

Step 4
After the document is approved, the job will be sent to print. The final job can be delivered to the department/contact person who requested the job or to Printing Services, Old Main 24, to be picked up.

University Communications
Contact Information

Click here to view Contact Information.

Best Practices

E-mail Signature

Every communication from Marshall University is part of our branding, including e-mail correspondence. An e-mail signature acts as an authorized correspondence from Marshall University. Therefore, it is important to follow the e-mail signature guidelines for all external e-mails. Follow the signature configuration shown here.

Please don’t use watermarked, colored, or photographic backgrounds in your e-mails. They make your message difficult to read and do not render correctly in every e-mail program. White is the only permissible background color. Do not customize or personalize an e-mail signature. Do not include any logos or social media icons.

The recommended font is Helvetica. If it is not available on your operating system, use Arial or Calibri.

E-mail Template Specifications
YOUR NAME (all caps, bold, font size 12 pt)
Your title (font size 11 pt)
Your department (font size 11 pt)

Marshall University (font size 12 pt)
Your building (font size 12 pt)
Your building street (font size 12 pt)
City, State Zip (font size 12 pt)
000-000-0000 / fax 000-000-0000 (font size 12 pt)
email@marshall.edu / www.marshall.edu (bold, font size 12 pt)

Recommended color specification for name, title, department, etc. (located under the Gray Scale Slider): 35% brightness (65% tint).

Social Media Links in E-mail Signatures
If you would like to include a social media link(s), we recommend linking text in lieu of a social media icon. When a signature contains an embedded image, Outlook will show the paperclip icon or the image as a separate attachment in the e-mail. Place the linked social media text at the end of your signature in the same size and color of the other e-mail signature text.

Social Media

University-affiliated social media accounts are an extension of our brand and reflect directly on the university’s reputation. Please keep this in mind before you post, comment, or share on an associated university account.

All university-affiliated social media accounts must be registered through University Communications. This includes usernames, passwords, and account administrators. Learn more at www.marshall.edu/connected, or contact socialmedia@marshall.edu.

Before creating a new account, please check with your college or department to ensure other accounts do not already exist that could be used to better serve your audience. If another account does not exist, contact University Communications at socialmedia@marshall.edu for assistance in creating an account that is compliant with our brand guidelines.

Usernames and Descriptions

Example: official university accounts


Marshall University

Account descriptions should include your affiliation with Marshall University and a link to your website or the college/ department you are associated with, e.g., student organizations should link to www.marshall.edu/student-activities.

Campus Communications

Contact your University Communications representative for assistance with designing, approving, and scheduling your content for digital signage. If you aren’t sure who your University Communications representative is, contact ucomm@marshall.edu.

Herd Happenings: A Guide to what’s going on at Marshall University
Herd Happenings is the newsletter designed to give students information on events taking place in the Marshall University community.

To view the current issue of Herd Happenings, please visit www.marshall.edu/herdhappenings.

WE ARE...MARSHALL: The Newsletter for Marshall University
University Communications publishes the online newsletter, We Are...Marshall, for the university community.

To view current and past issues of the We Are...Marshall newsletter, visit www.marshall.edu/wamnewsletter.

Digital Signage
In an effort for university departments and registered student organizations to increase publicity for on-campus events, Digital Media Services and University Communications have established a process in which groups can advertise their events on the digital signs around campus.


Correct Logo Use
Use the primary logo or the unit identifier mark. DO NOT ADD more than one unit logo on signage. When more than one school, college, or other campus unit is represented in a single marketing communication piece, list the school, college, or other campus unit names in text in the appropriate space.

Web Practices

Online content has now become the primary way in which a lot of users obtain information about Marshall University. As an online content creator, one of your responsibilities is to represent the university in a consistent and professional way. Because not all units have the same level of technical expertise, tools are being provided within the Marshall University content management system (WordPress) that make it very easy for your unit to utilize the same consistent theme that sites developed outside of this system will use. For more information, visit the online web guide.

The web guide is designed to provide creators of online content a framework that allows content to be presented on behalf of the university in a consistent way and in a way that preserves appearance across multiple devices. As more of our users begin to explore content with a mobile first experience, it is more important than ever to present your content in a way that ensures the best compatibility for the site visitor.

By using the tools provided in the web guide, your site will be compliant with University Branding Standards for online content and, additionally, will meet the needs of users on a variety of devices, from desktop to smartphone.


Every year, the Marshall University logo and Marshall University name are placed on a wide variety of merchandise — apparel, gift items, and sporting goods — found around the world. Adherence to the university’s identity program is extremely important to the Marshall brand.

Marshall University requires that businesses producing its merchandise be licensed. The licensing process (administered by the Collegiate Licensing Company in Atlanta, Georgia) ensures that the Marshall University name and logo are used appropriately and that merchandise is manufactured under a code of conduct designed to reinforce fair-labor practices and prohibit sweatshop conditions.

For specific information regarding the trademark licensing program, including obtaining a license, visit www.marshall.edu/brand or contact Mallory Jarrell at 304-696-3490 or haye1@marshall.edu.


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