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Policy on Institutional Identity and Use of Name and Marks

About This Policy

Effective Date
Policy Owner
VP Communications & Marketing

Policy Statement

To protect and enhance its brand image and reputation, Montclair State University has established an official name and its variations, and created signature images and identifying marks to differentiate it in the marketplace. These valuable assets are property of the University, and the University has set forth rules governing their use.


This policy applies to all members of the University community when they are communicating on behalf of the institution or its schools, colleges, offices, divisions, departments, centers, institutes and other component units (collectively referred to as “Units”), as well as any affiliate organizations that it has established or will establish to further its mission. This policy also applies to all student organizations and to any person or organization acting as an agent of the University.

Policy Rationale

As a major public research university, the University competes globally to recruit students, faculty and staff, and attract philanthropic support and other resources crucial to carrying out its mission. These goals require Montclair State to project a clear, consistent identity to the world. To accomplish this goal, the University has established a carefully-constructed identity system, consisting of names, marks and visual and editorial standards.

When that system is adhered to, employees, students and agents of the university have clarity about how the university represents itself and its component units, in print and online, and how its name and signature marks and images may be used. The policy promotes efficient operations by, and reduces confusion for, the public. Failure to adhere to the system diminishes the University’s ability to project its excellence and may expose the institution to legal, financial and reputational risks.

Policy Details

  • The University will have an official Institutional Identity system.

The University, through the Division of University Communications and Marketing, will create an Institutional Identity system, consisting of names, terms, marks and images which may be updated from time to time, and it will establish a set of visual and editorial standards to ensure that these assets are used properly so that the institution presents itself in a clear, consistent manner appropriate to its stature as a major public research university.

The Division of University Communications and Marketing will publish the Identity system and provide guidance to all members of the University community on its use.

  • The university shall define and control its name and marks.

The University’s official legal name is Montclair State University. This full name is to be used on important documents such as contracts and diplomas.

The approved short name is Montclair. The preferred practice is to use the full name on first reference and the short name on second and subsequent references, alternating with the University

It is never acceptable to refer to the University or any of its component units in public documents or announcements by other names, including but not limited to MSU, Montclair, Montclair State College, etc.

The University’s official sports nickname is the “Red Hawks.” The name of the mascot is “Rocky the Red Hawk” which may be shortened to “Rocky” when appropriate.

Unit names

The Identify system will specify the official names of the Colleges, Schools, Divisions and other subdivisions of the University and provide guidance on how these unit names should be presented in conjunction with the name of the University.

The official seal

The official university seal is strictly reserved for use by the University’s Board of Trustees for formal academic uses, such as authenticating diplomas, transcripts and other official documents, as well as for official communications issued by the Office of the President. It is not to be used for any other purposes. The seal may be updated from time to time by the Division of University Communications and Marketing. Previous versions of the seal may not be used for any purpose other than historical/archival reasons.

Official marks and signature images

Montclair State will establish one or more official logo(s) and wordmark(s). These must be used conspicuously on all official communications, preferably on the front cover of printed materials, on all pages of websites and opening or closing frames of all videos and TV spots.

Certain marks may be reserved for certain purposes (for example, to serve as a symbol of the University’s intercollegiate athletics programs) and prohibited for use for other purposes.

The University may also establish and create rules for use of certain “signature images” (which may include photos,videos and graphics) that represent its distinctive campus and brand identity.

Units of the University may not devise their own logos and/or wordmarks to represent themselves or their programs or initiatives. The University’s identity system will specify how all component divisions of the university are to be represented via logos and wordmarks. Any exceptions must be approved by the Vice President, Communications & Marketing.

The university’s marks should always be legible. These marks should never be distorted nor re-colored, must not be redrawn or set in different type, and the proportion of height to width must remain constant when they are resized.

Use of the term “Red Hawk”

To avoid overuse of “Red Hawk” and “Hawk” in the name or title of a program, service, event etc., all such proposed uses must be approved in advance by the Division of University Communications & Marketing. The approximately 40 uses as of October 2020 are allowed to continue. Any future use must be requested in writing in advance and include a justification. Submit requests to the Vice President,  Communications & Marketing.

“Red Hawk” should always be written as two separate words. “Redhawk” and “RedHawk” are unacceptable. The “R” in Red and the “H” in Hawk should always be capitalized

Use of the Red Hawk Icon 

Student clubs and organizations may use the Red Hawk icon (a graphic representation) to represent and promote their club or organization. It may be used alone or with the club/organization name positioned underneath, allowing for 3/16” of space on all sides of the icon.

(3) The University will establish and promulgate a set of guidelines for proper use of the institution’s name and identifying marks.

The Division of University Communications and Marketing will establish, publish, and educate the campus community about the Institutional Identity system, including providing written standards.

Visual identity standards will include specification of official typographic fonts, color palettes, and other design elements necessary to projecting a clear, coherent and consistent identity for the university and all of its component and affiliate units. This system will govern all applications, including printed materials, digital assets, signage (both exterior and interior) and interior design.

Editorial standards will include specification of official style, a glossary of terms specific to Montclair State, and other editorial elements necessary to project a clear, coherent and consistent identity for the University and all of its component units.

Both sets of standards may be modified from time to time by the Division of University Communications and Marketing.

(4) Third parties must request explicit permission to use the University’s name and marks

Use of the University’s name, marks and signature images by external entities for any commercial purpose (other than “fair use” under copyright law, or the listing of the University on a list of a vendor’s clients), requires the prior written approval of the Vice President of University Communications and Marketing or designee.

The university’s name, marks and images may not be used in any way that discriminates or implies discrimination against any persons or groups based on age, race, religion, color, national origin, age, ancestry, nationality, gender, gender identity or expression, marital status, disability, as a participant or veteran of the U.S. military, or sexual orientation, or in any other way that would be a violation of Montclair State’s anti-discrimination policies or practices.

The university’s name, marks and images may not be used in any manner that suggests or implies the institution’s endorsement of other organizations, companies, products, services, political candidates, parties or views, or religious organizations or beliefs.

Montclair State will not approve nor license the use of its name, marks or images in connection with products, causes or organizations it deems inconsistent with its educational mission.

The University may require commercial entities to pay it a licensing fee and/or royalties as consideration for commercial uses of its name, marks and images.


The Vice President, Communications & Marketing  has been delegated authority to oversee and enforce this Policy, in collaboration with University Counsel.  Failure to comply with this Policy may result in termination of business relationships with the University, civil or criminal prosecution,  employee or student discipline, including suspension or termination of employment, in accordance with applicable University policies and/or collective bargaining agreements, and/or student discipline in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct.

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