Page 1

















Proper MSU Logo Use Improper MSU Logo Use Watermark

SECONDARY LOGOS Service, Business and Committee Logo Use Using Secondary Logos and MSU Logo in Tandem Minimum Size and Clear Space

STATIONARY Letterhead, Business Cards, Envelopes

COLOURS Primary MSU Colours Secondary MSU Colours

IMAGERY Quality Subject Matter Credit

5 6 7

8 8 8 8

9 9

10 10 10

11 11 11 11





Posters Brochures Banners

Website Shortcodes Web Typography Web Banners Content & Photographs Image Resolution Image Credit Colours for Use on the Web

SOCIAL MEDIA Usernames Profiles Logo Use Content & Photographs Official MSU Twitter Hashtag

12 13 13 14 14 14 14 14 14 14

15 15 15 15 15 15



Accessing the Residence Information System (RIS)


APPAREL T-Shirts Suppliers Merchandise/SWAG

TYPOGRAPHY Gotham Caslon Typeface Misuse


17 17 17 18

19 19 19 19


The contents of this document are the property of the McMaster Students Union (MSU). This guide outlines the visual identity guidelines as set forth by the MSU, for the MSU. The guide within is to be used by MSU departments, service managers and committees in the creation and facilitation of promotional campaigns and visual content. The Visual Identity Guide is only to be used by designated agents of the MSU and no one else. All rights reserved.


The visual communication of an organization acts as the primary portal to its market. A cohesive, consistent visual campaign is absolutely invaluable in establishing the McMaster Students Union presence on campus and positioning the organization in the circadian lives of students. The visual tapestry of this organization is much more than just graphics and typefaces - it is about creating an experience with which our membership can identify.

The Identity

The McMaster Students Union appeals to the senses of all undergraduate students at McMaster University. Our identity can be touched, tasted, viewed, heard and smelled. Our identity can be experienced through the onslaught of businesses, services and clubs and their respective mandates. The MSU’s visual identity should thus represent not only the brand of the organization, but also the desires, whims and hobbies of undergraduate students. It should represent our inquisitiveness, instincts and responsibility to our stakeholders. Our identity should represent every student who gets involved in the politics and those who utilize our services. Our visual identity should communicate information and express emotion. It should synthesize the MSU brand, make it relevant and accessible, assigning value to the student experience. Every service, business and club administered by the MSU acts as a conduit for the organization’s mandate, brings substance and meaning to the undergraduate experience and provides access to resources invaluable to student success. The MSU is the undergraduate student’s fearless companion - the Baskin to your Robbins, the Huck Finn to your Tom Sawyer, the Damon to your Pythias. Whether it is a morning coffee from the Union Market, free confidential mentorship at SHEC, a flash of your student card to board the HSR, or the funds to start up the ‘Bring Back Kirk’ club; the MSU is there to compliment the student experience.

The Guide

The following pages act as a portal for the MSU’s visual representation. It provides the outline and structure for how the MSU positions itself in the McMaster University community and brings a sense of cohesiveness to the process. Through the organization’s natural shifts, the MSU Visual Identity Guide provides the necessary guidance, stability and consistency.



RESOURCES & ADVERTISING The McMaster Students Union handles advertising sales for all student media through Underground Media + Design. The main functions of Underground Media + Design are advertising, print shop services and graphic design.


The student population at McMaster University has grown to an excess of 20,000 and Underground Media + Design is the most direct point of access to this vibrant market. By offering a variety of advertising options, Underground Media + Design strives to offer professional services, while keeping the cost of advertising affordable. There are many avenues through which organizations may choose to advertise, including The Silhouette (McMaster’s campus newspaper), The Almanac (a planner made available to students), The MSU Welcome Week preview, and much more. If you want to hear more about the exciting advertising opportunities at McMaster University, contact Sandro Giordano at

Print Shop Services

Underground Media + Design also operates as a print shop for students and the greater community. Its services include copies, faxing, lamination, binding, printing and cutting.

Graphic Design

Underground Media + Design employs an in-house designer that is available to design your projects, ranging from web banners and business cards to reports and displays. This option is encouraged because they are familiar with the standards outlined in this guide and can bring expertise and consistency to your communications. Please contact Underground Media + Design for a quote or consultation.



MSU PROMOTIONAL PACKAGE Underground Media + Design’s MSU Promotional Package

The MSU Promotional Package details the base or starting point of any promotional campaign. This package, available only through Underground Media + Design, will allow you to craft an image which will remain consistent throughout your entire campaign, thus reinforcing your message(s) and advertisement(s) in an effective, professional and poignant manner. Moreover, within every image created by the MSU for promotional purposes, the brand of the MSU must be distinct. The contents of this guide and the items contained within this package will simultaneously work to help you create quality campaigns for your service, while simultaneously strengthening the brand awareness of both your department and the MSU. As stated, this package represents your starting point, not your end point. Your creativity, ingenuity and enthusiasm will come to the forefront as you work with various resources, people and departments to help spread your message(s). The beginning of every promotional push starts with the design team, knowledge, skill and resources provided by Underground Media + Design.


60 Posters • 43 for Promotions and Advertising Committee distribution • 8 for MUSC submission • 9 for MSU boards/main office/specific service location Some services will require more than 60, as they will utilize spaces not defined in this breakdown. For example, TwelvEighty has a tremendous amount of space inside their service, which small services do not have.

Digital • • • •

Residence Information System (RIS) file creation and submission .jpg conversion of the poster for use on a service’s webpage and the MSU Events Calendar Web banner creation for use on (721 x 317 pixels with a 0.5 corner radius) Image uploaded onto Underground Media + Design’s in-house display screen

Additional Items

Promotional Cards Multiples of 100, 200, 300, etc.

Stickers Stickers can be formatted for use on Union Market’s coffee sleeves.

Buttons Both artwork and buttons are available. Consult Underground Media + Design for even more promotional opportunities!

Underground Media + Design Dave Dedrick Graphic Designer Phone: 905.525.9140 ext. 22027 (Front Desk) Email:

Phone: 905.525.9140 ext. 26020 Email:



MSU LOGO McMaster Students Union Logo

The MSU is represented with a logo that is active and asymmetrical. Its use therefore, must be tailored to reflect these features and not create too much tension with the elements surrounding it. There are several acceptable variations of the MSU logo that can be applied in specific circumstances. The following pages will outline the proper and improper uses of the MSU logo.



Proper MSU Logo Use

It is essential that the MSU logo be used correctly and accurately in order to perpetuate our brand recognition. Every time we represent an MSU business, service or committee, the MSU logo must be present. Several variations are acceptable, as there will be times when the colour logo is most appropriate (posters, brochures, website, banners, staff uniforms). Other times, a black and/or white logo will be most useful (swag, tote-bags, umbrellas, staff uniforms). Any questions about logo use should be directed to either Dave Dedrick, or Michael Wooder.

Minimum Size and Clear Space The MSU logo must not appear with a width of less than one inch.

1 Inch

Please allow for buffer space of at least one seventh the width of the MSU logo. Buffer space to logo ratio should be 1:7.




Improper MSU Logo Use

Much as it is essential to use the MSU logo properly, so too must we ensure that the logo is never used improperly. Deconstructing or manipulating the MSU logo, or any service or committee logo, is completely unacceptable. Tailor you graphic(s) to incorporate our logos, never tailor a logo to incorporate it into a graphic.

Do not under any circumstance separate elements of the logo, change the corresponding fonts, alternate the colours, overlap the logo with other images, stretch or skew the logo, etc. The MSU logo should not appear in any form other than the proper usages indicated in this guide.




The shield of the MSU logo can be used in isolation as a watermark. This is the only circumstance in which it is appropriate to separate the shield from the rest of the MSU logo. The official MSU logo can never be used as a watermark - below are the only acceptable examples of watermark usage. Watermarks usually subtly accent a page, and do not serve as primary graphics.

Watermark Under Text Opacity: 10%

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Curabitur hendrerit fringilla varius. Nullam tortor nisl, dictum at condimentum sed, euismod eu urna. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Aenean justo purus, dictum in eleifend quis, faucibus eu lectus. Phasellus

Stand-Alone Watermark Opacity: 25%

nisi velit, accumsan non pharetra ut, aliquam in turpis. Donec sed tortor at felis ullamcorper porttitor. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. In vestibulum elementum nunc, et ullamcorper dui tincidunt ut. Aenean hendrerit adipiscing elementum. Maecenas ut nisi purus. Vestibulum

Other General Usage Opacity: 25%

Greyscale watermarks can also be used when appropriate. The necessary adjustments to opacity should be made when incorporating text (see above).



SECONDARY LOGOS Service, Business, and Committee Logo Use

Secondary logos represent the individual services, businesses and website modules that fall under the MSU umbrella. New logos will be designed in adherance to the rules outlined in this guide. All secondary logos must be designed by Underground Media + Design and approved through the MSU Executive Board.

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Using Secondary Logos and MSU Logo in Tandem

Service and business logos should always be displayed alongside the MSU logo at a 1:1 ratio. Left to right, the service or business logo should be placed first with the MSU logo placed alongside.

Minimum Size and Clear Space P ro

The same rules apply for secondary logos as they do for the MSU logo. Logos must not appear with a width of less than one inch.

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1 Inch

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Please allow for a buffer space of at least one quarter the width of the logo.

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Buffer space to logo ratio should be 1:4.




STATIONARY Letterhead, Business Cards, Envelopes All MSU stationary must be designed and printed through Underground Media + Design. No variations to the letterhead, envelope and business card designs are acceptable.

Standard Letterhead

Standard Envelope McMaster Students Union Inc. McMaster University Student Centre Room 201 McMaster University 1280 Main Street West Hamilton, ON, Canada L8S 4S4

McMaster Students Union Inc. McMaster University, 1280 Main St. W., Hamilton, ON, L8S 4S4 P: 905.525.9140 x22003 F: 905.529.3208 |

Katie Ferguson

Mary Koziol


P: 905.525.9140 x22041 F: 905.529.3208 E: Student Health Education Centre McMaster University 1280 Main St. W. MUSC Room 202 Hamilton, ON, L8S 4S4

President & CEO

Service Card

Dave Dedrick Graphic Designer

P: 905.525.9140 x26020 F: 905.529.3208 E:

Business Card

P: 905.525.9140 x23885 F: 905.529.3208 E: McMaster Students Union McMaster University 1280 Main St. W. MUSC Room 201 Hamilton, ON, L8S 4S4



Underground Media + Design McMaster University 1280 Main St. W. MUSC Room B117 Hamilton, ON, L8S 4S4

Board of Director Business Card

President & CEO

John McIntyre

Vice President Administration & CAO

Nick Shorten

Board of Director Business Card (back)

Vice President Finance & CFO

Joe Finkle

Vice President Education & CO

Michael Wooder

Student Life Development Coordinator P: 905.525.9140 x24861 F: 905.529.3208 E: McMaster Students Union McMaster University 1280 Main St. W. MUSC Room B117 Hamilton, ON, L8S 4S4

Administration Business Card (not affiliated with an individual MSU service or business)



COLOURS The following are the official primary and secondary colours of the McMaster Students Union. These colours may be used in conjunction with black and white in the creation of visual imagery and logos. Please pay special attention to these values when converting between RGB, CMYK and Hex values.

Primary MSU Colours PANTONE 1235 CVC

C: 0 M: 29 Y: 91 K: 0

R: 253 G: 187 B: 48

HEX: #FCB514


C: 0 M: 100 Y: 10 K: 59

R: 124 G: 0 B: 64

HEX: #70193D


C: 4 M: 0 Y: 0 K: 45

R: 148 G: 156 B: 161

HEX: #919693


C: 65 M: 0 Y: 100 K: 42

R: 56 G: 124 B: 43

HEX: #3A7728


C: 100 M: 57 Y: 0 K: 38

R: 0 G: 70 B: 127

HEX: #003F77

Secondary MSU Colours




Depending on the medium, images require a certain resolution to appear crisp. All imagery featured in promotional material must be print quality. As a standard, images require a minimum of 300dpi. If you are unsure about the quality of your image for the medium you will be using, please refer to Underground Media + Design for assistance. As a general guideline, do not feature images pulled from the Internet - not only are they rarely print quality, but there are often copyright issues to contend with as well.

Subject Matter

When generating imagery for services or businesses, try to capture a combination of action and non-action photographs or video clips. Imagery should feature an accurate depiction of the student demographic (ethnic and gender diversity). When shooting photographs or video to represent services or businesses, be sure to get permission from those being featured. This does not apply to large group shots wherein faces are not distinctly visible, but any shots where subjects are recognizable requires a signed waiver. Be sure that your photographer or videographer keeps some waivers on their person when taking promotional shots for services or businesses. Keep the signed waivers on file. Do not use your staff for promotional material - plan to find students to volunteer to be part of your projects. As well, ensure that the consumption of alcohol is not present in any video or photographs.


Be sure to credit the photographer or videographer responsible for capturing material. This means that this information should be visible someplace alongside the work they created or helped to create. When submitting photos to Underground Media + Design for design work, the name of your photographer should be provided. If creating the promotional material yourself (not recommended), the photo credit needs to be displayed in the bottom right corner of the photograph, right-justified in Gotham, size 4pt, all capital letters. Photo credit should read ‘PHOTO C/O NAME LASTNAME’. Example:




POSTERS, BROCHURES & BANNERS For any printed material to represent MSU services and businesses, it is strongly encouraged that Underground Media + Design is the source for design work and printing of promotional materials. MSU services and businesses have budgets allocated for promotions and Underground Media + Design knows the MSU brand best. If for some reason this is not an option, there are certain guidelines that must be adhered to during the design process. In addition to specific typography and colour schemes, a basic knowledge of grids and design principles can help. Refer to this section of the guide to gain a general understanding of how posters, brochures and banners should be laid out.


All posters must be approved by Underground Media + Design before they can be posted on campus. Posters provide more targeted information about a specific event or program. Some key features are: Imagery (photos, illustrations, etc) Size (11 inches x 17 inches–tabloid) Message (key points of information) Logos (MSU and secondary logo)


There are lots of different variations that can be used for poster design, but logos should remain consistent at the bottom of the poster.

IMAGE Download the Poster Kit for templates that include the MSU logo and a placeholder for the Underground Media + Design approval stamp that is required for all posters.









This medium provides more thorough, detailed information. Be sure to include a balance of images and text, so as to not overwhelm readers. Keep the style consistent - for example, use the same font for headings throughout the brochure. Be sure to include the MSU logo alongside your business or service logo, along the bottom (either on the front or back of your publication.






Banners should display a small amount of key information that will stand the test of time - a banner should be relevant from year-to-year. High-resolution, crisp imagery should be used.



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Fresh, local produce, right on campus. a joint initiative by

HospitalityĂŠSer vices



WEB PRESENCE Services and businesses should strive to keep their web page up to date. All event and service information should be found on your web page and you should immediately remove old or outdated information.

Website Shortcodes

All MSU services and businesses have a website shortcode that links to their specific page. Please consult Pauline Taggart at ext. 23252 for your shortcode.

Web Typography

The only typeface that is permissible on the MSU website is Verdana. This is a system font and is the default option on the website editor.

Web Banners

The size for web banners is 721 pixels x 317 pixels with a 0.5 corner radius. Web banners must be designed to be read quickly. They usually feature an event or specific service. Be sure to save “For Web�, and only .jpg, and .png formats are acceptable. Banners are not advertisements, but rather they are an image-based medium that directs the viewer into a deeper section of the website. Do not overwhelm the user with too much text on a web banner. No clipart, images taken from the internet or copyright material should be used in web banners. Only copyright-free vector graphics and original photographs may be used.

Content & Photographs

Remember that any content placed on service or business web pages reflect on the service or business, as well as on the MSU as a whole. Do not use profanity, depict the consumption of drugs, alcohol and/or promiscuity, or reflect any content that is not official in nature via the service or business web page. Likewise, photographs posted on the web page should not contain any of these elements.

Image Resolution

Images on the web require a much lower resolution to ensure a fast load time. Images should be in RGB colour, 72 dpi.

Image Credit

Please be sure to give credit to whomever captured the images you are posting on the web.

Colours for Use on the Web

Please refer to the following Hex values of the official MSU colours:





R: 253 G: 187 B: 48

R: 148 G: 156 B: 161

R: 124 G: 0 B: 64

R: 56 G: 124 B: 43

R: 0 G: 70 B: 127

HEX: #FCB514

HEX: #919693

HEX: #70193D

HEX: #3A7728

HEX: #003F77

SOCIAL MEDIA Having a social media presence that reflects the MSU is incredibly important. Please be sure to clearly identify that these services or businesses are associated with the MSU through any media used as promotional tools


MSU services and businesses are asked to employ a username that begins with MSU_. For example, on Twitter, your username should read ‘MSU_UndergroundMedia+Design’ or ‘MSU_Marmor’. If there is an accronym for your service or business (for example, the Student Health Education Centre is SHEC), you are welcome to place that in your username as ‘MSU_SHEC’. If the particular medium you are using does not allow for an underscore in the username, be sure to include MSU at the beginning of the username regardless (for example, MSUMacCycle).


If you are creating a profile page for a particular service or business, please be sure to include a crisp, colour version of the official MSU logo somewhere on the page.

Logo Use

Be sure to use a clear, crisp version of your logo in social media. The service or business must be associated with the MSU in some capacity when you are using social media. Whether it be in the description of the service or business, there should be logo representation.

Content & Photographs

Remember that any content you create through social media reflects on the service or business, as well as on the MSU as a whole. Do not use profanity, depict the consumption of drugs, alcohol and/or promiscuity, or reflect any content that is not official in nature via these channels. Likewise, photographs posted through social media should not contain any of these elements.

Official MSU Twitter Hashtag

The official MSU Hashtag is #McSU. Please be sure to use this hashtag when directly referring to any official news and/or events associated with the service or business. In lieu of utilizing #McSU in your tweets, register your service or business twitter account with Pauline Taggart, to have your tweets automatically redirected to the MSU feed. Pauline Taggart Telephone: 905.525.9140 ext. 23252 Fax: 905.529.3208 Email:



RESIDENCE INFORMATION SYSTEM (RIS) Accessing the Residence Information System (RIS):

The Residence Information System (RIS) is a series of digital displays located in the foyers of each residence on campus. These screens broadcast messages and advertisements from a variety of campus groups. The MSU has open access to these screens – free of charge. This is a very simple and essential addition to your promotional pushes. Always incorporate the RIS into your promotional plans. The RIS system is a great way to get your messages (i.e. club recruitment, meeting times, events, etc) to the firstyear population. Underground Media + Design is your gateway to the Residence Information System. Only Underground Media + Design can access the RIS for MSU services, businesses and clubs. When creating a visual campaign, always ensure that Underground Media + Design is creating your poster image, and subsequently supplying the RIS system with said image.


Dave Dedrick 905.525.9140 ext. 26020 Duncan Thompson 905.525.9140 ext. 28684



APPAREL T-Shirts MSU LOGO ON STAFF UNIFORMS All MSU staff uniforms are required to place an MSU logo on the right-hand sleeve, near the shoulder/ bicep area of the shirt, approximately 3.5 — 4 inches2. This is in addition to the service logo which is to appear on the chest of the staff shirt (preferable), or upper left-hand area of the chest. The left-hand sleeve is reserved for promotional consideration if a supplier subsidizes your staff uniforms. Only the official MSU logo and the official service logo are to be used on staff uniforms. Alternative images and/or text must be approved by the Executive Board in advance and only in certain circumstances will permission be granted. The MSU logo that is to appear on all staff shirts is below. Please contact Michael Wooder at sldc@msu. or Dave Dedrick at for a vector version of the logo. In addition, all official MSU logos can be found in both vector (.eps) or web version (.jpg) on the server here: MSU DATA: Public > Logos-MSU+Services You may select the vendor of your choice in purchasing uniforms / staff shirts. In departments such as Union Market, staff shirts are subsidized by suppliers in return for promotional consideration. Feel free to explore this option if possible. Please consult your service’s transition files to determine which vendor was used in the past. The MSU logo to be used is:

Suppliers Universal Links (preferred) Web: Phone: (800) 981.9788 Battlefield Web: Phone: 905.662.1199 Coyote Promotions Web: Phone: 905.332.5118 T.Litzens Web: Phone: 905.628.3344 Services and businesses are not limited to the above suppliers, these are simply suppliers that the MSU has used in the past. Ensure the vendor is using the full official MSU logo and not an image supplied in past years. Verify the service logo is up-to-date and do not rely on a vendor’s old files.



Merchandise / SWAG

Services and businesses often produce merchandise and SWAG to help promote themselves or their event. Keeping the examples below in mind, both the MSU logo and the service logo must be equally represented on all merchandise and/or SWAG.



Sta Shirt

Tote Bag


Refillable Mug

TYPOGRAPHY The McMaster Students Union employs Gotham as its primary official font and Caslon as its secondary, complimentary font. These are only available via licence and therefore only licensees can legally use them.


Clean and contemporary, this sans-serif typeface reads well in both print and web projects, and maintains this clarity at small sizes, while also being a great option for headlines. This is the primary MSU font, and should be used for the majority of projects. Minimum size for this typeface is 7pt.

Bold Bold Italic Medium Medium Italic Light Regular Light Italic

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.


This typeface is a serifed compliment to Gotham and is suitable for use as body text or headlines. Minimum size for this typeface is 8pt.

Regular Regular Italic Semibold Semibold Italic Bold Bold Italic

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

Typeface Misuse kerning: space between letters

leading: space between lines of text

baseline shift

G o t h a m L i g h t Regular

Caslon Semibold Italic

vertical scaling (to 150%)

horizontal scaling (to 150%)

Absolutely do not under any circumstance adjust the leading (space between lines of text), kerning (space between letters), scale horizontally or vertically, or adjust the baseline shift.



CONTACT For design and printing questions, including the creation of posters, brochures, web banners and RIS files, please contact Dave Dedrick.

Dave Dedrick 905.525.9140 ext. 26020 For consultation on promotional strategies, or any questions on items within the Visual Identity Guide, please contact Michael Wooder.

Michael Wooder 905.525.9140 ext. 24861



MSU Visual Identity Guide  

A year-long effort to streamline the visual identity of the McMaster Students Union lead to the development of this manual.

MSU Visual Identity Guide  

A year-long effort to streamline the visual identity of the McMaster Students Union lead to the development of this manual.