The NSU Brand

Northern's Communications and Marketing Department shares stories about our students, faculty and programs.
In 2017, the Communications and Marketing team was tasked with enhancing and updating Northern's brand. It is critical for a higher education institution to have a clearly defined identity, commonly referred to as a brand. Defining a brand is difficult, but our team was eager for the opportunity to outline and harmonize how we portray our institution. We feel our brand guide truly represents what Northern stands for.

Review Northern's comprehensive brand guide

Focus Group Findings

Our focus groups overwhelmingly showed NSU stakeholders want to see a caring and supportive brand instead of an angry or intimidating portrayal. Certain exceptions, such as athletics, are anticipated. Stakeholders also want to see professional portrayals of campus and its students, faculty and staff, but also fun and engaging interactions among faculty and students. Stakeholders believe students should be serious and focused, but willing to have fun, while being responsible.

For more information on Northern's brand, please visit our comprehensive guide.

Employee business cards can be ordered through an online order form.

Review business cards in the brand guide.

Review the official NSU colors in the brand guide.

PMS ​CMYK ​RGB ​Hexidecimal
Maroon ​202 ​0 100 65 47 ​153 5 51 ​990033
​ Gold ​121 ​0 8 69 0 ​255 204 102 ​FFCC66
​Beige ​155 ​2 10 31 0 ​248 221 154 ​F8DD9A
​Creme ​7499 ​1 1 14 0 ​255 255 205 ​FFFFCC

The Communications and Marketing Department plays an important role in the planning and promotion of events and activities on campus. If your department or school is looking to host an event, please reach out to We will set up an initial planning meeting and work through our event checklist.

Review the event planning services the Communications and Marketing team provides.

Illustrates and explains acceptable usage of NSU's key identity elements, including primary logos, lettermark, tagline, colors and more. Review the Northern's design elements in the brand guide.

In 2017, the Northern State University Foundation entered into an agreement with Learfield Licensing Partners, a trademark management company specializing in collegiate licensing and branding. Learfield provides retailers and their vendors a formal process of submitting artwork for university approval. It also creates a structured payment of royalties from the use of NSU logos and designs. The NSU Foundation works with NSU Communications and Marketing personnel to approve artwork and promote our brand to regional retailers.

Review a list of frequently asked licensing questions.

Please consult our brand guide before using any Northern logos or marks.

If you receive a media inquiry, please reach out to us at 605-626-2552 or

Employee name tags can be ordered through an online order form.

View a sample name tag in our brand guide.

The Communications and Marketing Department can assist campus departments and organizations with photography services. Please email with the details of your request at least two weeks in advance.

To view a list of approved marketing photos, please visit our flickr page.

Learn what makes a great Northern photo in our brand guide.

We offer a handful of PowerPoint templates; right-click the link below and select 'Save Link As...' to download to your computer.

To view a list of design elements, visit our comprehensive brand guide. To request print materials, contact

View samples of print materials in our brand guide.

Table cloths can be ordered through an online order form.

View table cloth designs in our brand guide.

Unleash your potential | Join the pack

The brand refresh process revealed common themes of the university, and our new tagline captures those themes: a momentous time for enrollments, scholarships and campus development (unleash); a diamond in the rough, undervalued institution (potential); and a caring, supportive environment with a strong community (pack).

Read more about our tagline and brand essence in our brand guide.

Consistent use of type gives a recognizable look to all communications materials. These fonts are flexible enough to work across all media.

  • Univers family
  • Rockwell family
  • Avenir family
  • Bebas family
  • AS Speedway

These fonts may not be available in all programs, e.g. Microsoft Word.

Preferred fonts can be found in our brand guide.

The Communications and Marketing Department can assist with promotional videos, typically through an external vendor. Please email with the details of your request at least four weeks in advance.

Learn what makes a great video in our brand guide.

In addition, NSU Media Services offers limited video production services.

NSU communicates a consistent message using its Writing Style Guide. Also, please consult our brand guide.

Discover the four levels of Northern webpages in our brand guide.

Second-tier pages, or pages that are one click away from the homepage, aim to draw the user deeper into our website, where more information is hosted. This page layout is graphic-heavy, with numerous photos and calls to action, and little text. Examples include: Admissions and Academics.

Third-tier pages are found deeper within our website. This layout typically contains fewer graphics but more information. Text should still be concise, as users rarely read full paragraphs of information. Examples include: Records and Registration and Costs and Aid.

Fourth-tier pages are deep within our website. They rarely include graphics, but contain a large volume of information. These pages are usually designed for frequently asked questions and detailed instructions. Examples include: Transcripts and Diplomas and Technology FAQs.

If you have any questions or feedback, please email the Communications and Marketing team.

History of the Wolf

In the Feb. 3, 1923, edition of The Exponent, a contest was announced to identify a team name for Northern Athletics. No entries were received, but after two losses on the road, the basketball team voted to call themselves the Wolves -- and they won their next game, against Madison College. It wasn't until 1954 that the Exponent again announced a contest to formalize a mascot, and the NSU Art Department entered "Waldo the Wolf." Waldo made his first homecoming appearance in 1956.

Eventually, in 1993, the current mascot, "Thunder" was born. Then in May 1994, NSU announced a public contest to replace the logo rendering. Out of 65 entries, local artist Thomas Gross, a 1982 NSU grad, was selected as the winner.

To learn more about current logo and graphics standards, read the NSU Brand Guide.

- Information from Ron Pollworth