MSU BRAND TOOLKIT
Tone, copy, and headlines
The tone of the MSU brand, both in headlines and body copy, should reflect the core of the brand—hardworking excellence.
Michigan State University Spartans go the extra mile. They work harder. They relentlessly search for new ideas and avenues of exploration. Because Spartans want to advance the common good and make the world a better place, they are simply willing to do the things that others do not. That said, the tone of each story should also underscore the university’s natural inclination toward connectivity, collaboration, and inclusiveness.
Writing interesting headlines
When writing materials for the brand, keep in mind that virtually no one you’re trying to reach has to pay attention to what you write. In fact, many may actively try to ignore it. You have to get their attention. Aim for thought-provoking headlines that demonstrate how Michigan State University is a school apart.
A good headline serves as a lead-in to your story. It should always engage readers and entice them to read more. Think of it as a great first line of a novel. Ideally, it should possess a sense of irony, drama, humor, or human truth—if not all four of those traits at the same time.
Including the words “Spartan(s)” and/or “Michigan State University” in each headline is not mandatory, but if either of them can be used, so much the better. We should maximize the effect of our name as much as possible.
This downloadable boilerplate is standard language that briefly describes MSU and its priorities and may be used by all units.
Editorial Style Guide
For more editorial style, go to the MSU Editorial Style Guide. This guide is based on the philosophy that punctuation and style should follow function and clarity. It was developed for use by anyone creating print or electronic text pertaining to Michigan State University (other than materials created specifically for use by the news media, which follow the most current edition of The Associated Press Stylebook). The Chicago Manual of Style, Sixteenth Edition, and Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition, are primary style and spelling references for MSU text creation, unless superseded by entries in this guide.