Michigan Tech Brand Guide

Aerial view of campus

Understanding Our Brand

Who We Are | Our History | Why Brand Matters | Messaging | Attributes | Promises | Lifestyle | Tactics | Headlines

Visual Identity

Logo System | Size Restrictions | Business Cards | Letterhead | Unacceptable Applications | Color Variations | University Seal | Color Palette | Typography | Print Typography | Web Typography | Department Identifiers | Photography | Videography | Resources

PDF Version

Understanding Our Brand

Who We Are

We are Real

Real people. Real opportunities. And real experiences. The Michigan Technological University brand is built on these promises and our honest approach to life.

This is Who We Strive to Be

Following this brand guide produced by University Marketing and Communications is an essential element in reaching our 2045 Vision to become a premier technological research university of international stature. We invite you to become a brand ambassador by incorporating these principles, tools, and guidelines in your marketing materials.

Celebrate Tough

At Michigan Tech, classes nor climate come easy. Just like our very first mining engineers, we seek and celebrate challenge. The reward is not only in the outcome, but the process. We crawl into caves, explore deep under snow and ice, and study droplets high in the clouds. Neither our research or location is convenient—and we wouldn't have it any other way.

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Honor Our History

Historical mining picture

We started as Michigan Mining School in 1885 with 23 students and four faculty members. We are who we are now because of what we've always been; a community of people with grit, tenacity, and the will to dig deeper and reach higher. The spirit of the copper mines and the people who engineered them is alive in our students and campus today. Our unique and humble history is the foundation of our brand.

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Why Brand Matters

researchers in a lab
Insect specimens in a display box

From the Ground Up

The Michigan Technological University brand is more than our logo. It goes beyond listing our offerings. Brand is how we look, sound, and feel to our audience—it's perception. It is the intangible thread that connects every department, team, and area—it's consistency. And in true Husky style, we're rolling up our sleeves and building brand from the ground up. Every piece of external communication has the power to elevate, amplify, and strengthen our brand, reach, and voice.

That's why brand matters.

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student working on a peat sample


Our students, researchers, and staff are down to earth—and our messages should be, too.


Each story about Michigan Tech may have a different subject matter, but how we tell every story should consistently be specific, straightforward, and above all, honest.


Honesty radiates from all messaging and marketing we create. Our students and faculty invent, design, code, create, and build. We’re adventurous, hardworking—and yeah—a little bit quirky. We don’t pose against research-lab backdrops—we do research. We have wet feet, pink cheeks, and grit under our fingernails. We break things apart to see how they work, and then put them together better, faster, and stronger than before. We’re breaking out of the glossy brochure and telling it like it is.

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Brand Attributes


Michigan Tech feels purposefully raw and gritty.


How our students, faculty, and alumni actually talk about Michigan Tech IS Michigan Tech.


Michigan Tech doesn’t have to pretend we’re something we’re not. We don’t feel like we have to fit in. We’re unpretentious and proud of it.

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Every statement we make and every story we tell aligns with one of our brand promises:

Real Voices

Faculty, students, alumni, friends, prospective students, and you.

Real Experiences

Facilities, location, research, campus events, classes, weather, and more.

Real Opportunities

In the classroom, in the field, during internships and co-ops, research, and Study Abroad.

It's Real.
It Happened.
It Belongs in Our Messaging?


Real+ is an approach to our stories. We tell powerful stories in a strategic way to authentically represent real people who make a real difference.

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Snowboarding at Mont Ripley
Students in the cardboard boat race


Students don’t wind up here by accident. We are not the convenient choice. Most drive eight to 10 hours to find us, and when they do, are immersed in an entirely new, unique—sometimes difficult—land. A place bound together by remote location, water, STEM, and snow—lots of it.

We Are Different—and We Love it

Michigan Tech is not just a higher-ed brand. We're a lifestyle brand.

This is how we're different:

  • Research
  • Location
  • Water
  • Traditions
  • Snow
  • People
  • Events

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Make-it-Real Tactics:

Lead with the Outcome

Every message needs a result. Get to the crux of the work: What is the global impact? What does it mean for Michigan Tech? Focus on the human, their story, and how they're creating the future.

Dig for Specifics

Could-only-happen-at-Tech statement first. Cute and clever second.

  • 428 engineering students test concrete canoes in Lake Superior. Crazy smart!

Don't Tell—Show

Avoid saying: “We do hands-on research.” Say exactly what kind of research and who does it.

  • First-year student Jill Poliskey 3-D prints prosthetic hands for children in Nicaragua.
  • Research assistant Moises Siles tags Golden-winged Warblers to better understand bird migration.

Focus on Action

Use active voice.

  • Blizzard has skated becomes Blizzard skates.

Use simple, powerful verbs: Invent. Design. Code. Create.

Keep Sentences Simple and Flat

Strip away excess, avoiding unnecessary adverbs, adjectives, and prepositions.

Avoid Euphemisms, Lingo, Jargon, and Fussy Words

  • Use instead of utilize.
  • Help instead of facilitate.
  • We offer education-enhancing experiential opportunities becomes We offer internships.
  • Students benefit from global experiences becomes Students study abroad.

Embrace Staccato

Go underground. Stain bacteria cultures. Freeze a flower. Launch a rocket. 1,135 crazy smart middle and high schoolers experience STEM at Michigan Tech.

Use Call to Actions

Headlines and intro sections are valuable real estate in marketing—call to actions provoke audience response.

  • Do you have a unique skill to share with students? becomes Share your skills with students.

Let Your Audience Tell the Story

Use snippets of their actual words—not solicited, polished testimonials.

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Make-it-Real Headlines:

The Michigan Tech brand message lives—among places—in headlines, email subject lines, and social media posts. These branded power statements should be crafted as a fact, fragment series, a question or call to action—here's how:

Fact Statement

Weave in a number or person/group when able. Optional cute/clever statement can follow the fact.


  • Our buoys call home 144 times a day.
  • Michigan Tech ranks in top 11 percent of 4,322 universities around the world, or
  • Top 11 percent of universities worldwide.
  • $73 million in financial aid. Crazy smart!
  • Michigan Tech biomedical engineers design pre-vascularized tissue.

Fragment Series

Usually a series of three or four. Sometimes requires a clarifier or power statement following the series.


  • McNaughton Cup Champions. Desert Hockey Champions. And a Final Five appearance. That's Husky Pride.
  • You got your clothes ready. Polished your résumé. And climbed the big hill—in the rain. Here are your snaps from #mtucareerfair.
  • Flags. Floats. Food. Family. Parade of Nations celebrates one community.

Question or Call to Action

Weave in a person, group, or number when able.


  • Broken DNA helix? Michigan Tech biologists improve detecting technologies.
  • What advice do you have for our 1,354 first-year Huskies?
  • Share these five scholarships available now.

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Mountain biking on the Tech Trails.

Visual Identity

Logo System

Full Name Horizontal

Logo: full name horizontal

Full Name Wordmark Stacked

Logo: full name wordmark stacked

Full Name Wordmark

Logo: full name wordmark

When to Use

Use our stacked horizontal or full-name mark to provide immediate identity recognition in scenarios where the University brand is unfamiliar.

Michigan Tech Vertical

Logo: Michigan Tech vertical

Michigan Tech Horizontal

Logo: Michigan Tech horizontal

Michigan Tech Wordmark

Logo: Michigan Tech wordmark

When to Use

Use these marks only when the full University name is included elsewhere.

Husky Icon

Logo: husky icon

When to Use

Use this mark only when the name of the University is present elsewhere. On campus, this mark may stand alone when used in conjunction with signage, events, and internal communication.

Clear Space

visual showing clear space around logo

Maintain .25 inches of clear space around logo

Clear Space

Clear space is the protected area around the logo that maximizes its impact. This space must be kept free of all other graphics and text, including other logos.

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Minimum-Size Restrictions

Minimum-size requirements ensure legibility of the logo. Contact University Marketing and Communications with questions or concerns regarding logo size.

The full name horizontal logos should never be smaller than .5 inches tall.

example of logo on a business card

The Michigan Tech wordmark should never be smaller than .5 inches wide.

Michigan Tech Wordmark

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Business Cards

Front side (two options)

business card front options

To place a business card order, email umc@mtu.edu or download the form.

Reverse side (three color options or blank)

business card back options

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Department Letterhead

To place an order, contact umc@mtu.edu.

Digital Letterhead

Download digital department letterhead. Digital letterhead is not intended for print.

letterhead example

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Unacceptable Applications

Do not re-create the Michigan Tech logo, change the logo’s color, stretch the type, alter, move elements of the logo, or add or subtract design elements.

Use only official logos prepared by and available from University Marketing and Communications.

example of logo stretched vertically

Do not stretch the logo vertically.

example of logo condensed horizontally

Do not condense the logo horizontally.

example of transparent logo

Do not make the logo transparent.

example of logo with elements moved

Do not move elements of the logo.

example of the logo with the color changed

Do not change the one color logo to any other color.

example of another color within the logo

Do not use another color within the logo.

example of a blurry logo

Do not use a web logo on a print publication.

example of logo positioned vertically

Do not tilt or position the logo vertically.

example of logo with mixed color options

Do not mix the one color logo options.

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Color Variations

These are approved logo variations when applied on color backgrounds.

white logo on a dark background

White logo on a dark background.

black logo on white background

Black logo on white.

white logo on black background

White on black.

black logo on a light background

Black logo on a light background.

black logo on gold background

Black logo on gold.

color logo on white background

Full-color logo on white background.

gold logo on black background

Gold on black.

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How to Use the Logo


The following are recommendations of logo use on photographs. The designer should use their best judgment when overlaying the logo. Never place logo over people, complex images, patterns, or main focal points in the photograph.

full-color logo on a photograph

Use full-color logo on a light photo.

black logo on a photograph

Black logo may also be used on a light photo.

white logo on a photograph

Use white (or gold) logo on a dark photo.

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University Seal

  • Black and white seal
  • Full color seal

When to Use

The University seal is used for formal and official documents, such as diplomas and communications from the president. It is not for general use. The seal may not be used on apparel. The seal may not be altered in any way or blended with other designs or symbols.

The seal may be used on pre-approved specialty items.

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Color Palette

Primary Palette

The official colors of Michigan Tech are black and gold.

gold swatch

PMS 116
CMYK: 0/18/100/0
RGB: 255/206/0
HEX: #ffcd00

black swatch

CMYK: 0/0/0/100
RGB: 0/0/0
HEX: #000000

Secondary Palette

The secondary color palette provides additional options when working on publications. These colors ensure University publications share a cohesive and unified theme.

aerial photo of campus

blue swatch

PMS 3115
CMYK: 74/0/17/0
RGB: 0/191/214
HEX: #00bfd5

aerial view of the golf course

green swatch

PMS 7737
CMYK: 64/15/100/2
RGB: 108/164/57
HEX: #6ca438

molten metal being poured

red swatch

PMS 172
CMYK: 0/86/99/0
RGB: 255/70/18
HEX: #ff4611

black and white photo of students building snow statues

grey swatch

PMS 423
CMYK: 48/39/39/4
RGB: 138/140/140
HEX: #8a8b8c

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Primary Font Family

Avenir Next—Our sans-serif typeface for body copy and headlines.

avenir next

Atletico—Our serif typeface for headlines only. Contact UMC for recommendations on how to use this font in layout.


Secondary Print and Web Font

Georgia—serif typeface, use for print and web headlines, call outs, and display copy.


Primary Web Font

Open Sans—Our sans-serif typeface, primary web font used for body copy.

open sans

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Typography for Print

Sample Paragraph

sample print paragraph

Sample Paragraph

sample print paragraph

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Typography for Web

Sample Paragraph

sample web paragraph

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Department Identifiers

Horizontal and Vertical Variations

While the University logo system is available to all Michigan Tech colleges, schools, and departments, unique identifiers are available. They include the department name with the University logo and name.

Vertical Identifier

vertical identifier example

Horizontal Identifier

horizontal identifier example

Unacceptable Applications

Do not re-create the Michigan Tech identifiers, change the logo's color, stretch the type, realign the text, move elements of the logo, or add or subtract design elements.

Use only official logos prepared by and available from University Marketing and Communications.

example of stretched logo

Do not stretch the logo vertically or horizontally.

example of mis-aligned logo

Do not center align or reformat the text in any way.

example of identifier with  moved elements

Do not move elements of the logo.

example of identifier with another color

Do not change the logo to any other color.

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What Makes a Michigan Tech Photo?

  • Our shots are not staged; they are honest examples of who our students, faculty, and alumni are and what they do.
  • Our photos show students and faculty doing real work—in the lab, in the field, on campus, and abroad. We work hard and play hard in all types of environments.
  • We avoid unnatural filters, gels, and lights.
  • We capture images from eye level—our subjects are not always smiling at the camera.

Photos Should Highlight Our:

  • Natural environment
  • Extreme adventure
  • Extreme conditions

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What Makes a Michigan Tech Video?

  • Our videos are made on location. Wherever our faculty, students, and staff are, we go.
  • Our campus is active, gritty, and adventurous. Our lens doesn't live on a tripod, it follows the action.
  • We film with natural light whenever possible.
  • Students, faculty, and alumni use their own words—to the point and with conviction.

Videos Should Highlight Our:

  • Culture, campus, and beautiful spot on the map
  • Passion for the subject at hand, from both sides of the lens
  • Secure identity—we are not everything to everyone

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Contact Information

Shannon Rinkinen
Brand Manager
G16 Administration Building
1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, MI 49931

Jaclyn Johnson
Art Director
G23B Administration Building
1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, MI 49931

Crystal Verran
Director of Operations
G16A Administration Building
1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, MI 49931

Web Resources

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