What is Michigan State font called?

Michigan State University (MSU) is a public research university located in East Lansing, Michigan. Founded in 1855, MSU has one of the largest single-campus university populations with over 50,000 students. The university is known for its passionate school spirit and distinct visual identity. An important element of MSU’s brand is its official font called Spartan font.

Spartan Font

Michigan State University’s (MSU) official font is the Spartan font (https://famfonts.com/michigan-state-spartans/). This custom font was created exclusively for MSU and is based on their logo, featuring strong, bold letterforms.

The Spartan font aims to represent the strength and spirit of MSU’s athletic teams, known as the Spartans. It conveys a sense of movement and power which aligns with the university’s branding.

This unique font is used across MSU’s campus and materials, including buildings, wayfinding signs, brochures, websites, merchandise and more. It provides consistency and reinforces school pride and identity.

Only MSU has the rights to use and distribute the Spartan font. It is a key part of their visual identity system and cannot be replicated. This exclusivity helps the Spartan font strongly represent MSU.


The Spartan font was developed in the 1970s by a graphic design professor at Michigan State University named Norman Stewart. Stewart designed the font to reflect the strong, bold spirit of the Spartans athletic teams and create a unified visual identity for MSU.

According to the MSU Brand Studio website (https://brand.msu.edu/visual/typography), Stewart created the font by hand-drawing the letters to get the angles and details just right. He worked to balance readability with the geometric style of the font. The Spartan font debuted in 1976 as part of MSU’s comprehensive rebranding effort.

Over the years, the font has become an iconic representation of Michigan State University. It appears prominently on athletic uniforms and facilities, merchandise, university communications, and campus signage. The unique styling of the Spartan font makes it instantly recognizable to MSU fans and alumni.


The Spartan font was designed in 2010 by Jeremy Mickel, MSU’s director of creative services and art director.[1] Mickel wanted to create a custom font that captured the spirit and feel of MSU’s athletic teams. The bold, geometric letterforms were inspired by the angular edges on MSU’s Spartan logo and athletic uniforms.[2]

The Spartan font has a heavy, blocky aesthetic with thick strokes and edges. This gives it a bold, stoic look reminiscent of ancient Greek inscriptions. The letterforms use mostly straight lines and have a squared-off appearance rather than oval or circular curves. This matches the strong, straightforward attitude associated with Spartan warriors. Overall, the structured geometry and weight of the font aim to convey power, durability and determination.


The Spartan font is used extensively by Michigan State University across various branding and marketing materials. According to the MSU Brand Studio, the primary sans serif font family for MSU is Garamond. When Garamond is unavailable, Times New Roman is used as the next best option.

The Spartan font, along with the Spartan logo, can be found on MSU merchandise, publications, posters, banners, websites, and more. For example, the block “S” Spartan logo featuring the distinctive Spartan font is used on clothing, hats, bags, and other items sold at the MSU bookstore. Many MSU facilities also display signage and environmental graphics using the Spartan font.

While the font is widely used by the university, MSU Athletics utilizes its own customized Spartan font for use on team uniforms, marketing materials, facilities, etc. This is an edgier, stylized font created specifically by Nike for MSU Athletics (source).

Overall, the standard Spartan font plays a central role in reinforcing MSU’s brand identity and amplifying school spirit across campus and on merchandise around the world.


The Spartan font meets accessibility standards through its high legibility and readability. According to Michigan State University’s website on fonts and accessibility, it’s important to limit the number of fonts used and choose fonts with easily distinguished characters. The Spartan font does this through its clear, bold letterforms modeled after athletic lettering.

Additionally, accessibility services at universities like Michigan State test fonts to ensure they are readable by people with various visual impairments, learning disabilities, and other needs. While specific testing details are unavailable, the widespread official use of Spartan font across Michigan State digital properties and printed materials indicates it has passed institutional accessibility standards.

The font is available for free download, allowing anyone to install it and benefit from its accessibility features. Overall, Spartan font balances visual impact and branding effectiveness while remaining highly legible and accessible.


The Spartan font has received positive feedback from the MSU community and design experts since its launch. According to MSU’s visual brand guidelines, the bold, modern font helps communicate the strength and spirit of MSU Athletics. It has become popular for use on shirts, banners, social media posts, and other branding materials that showcase Spartan pride.

Kelli Stevenson, an MSU alumna and graphic designer, noted the polished yet edgy look of the Spartan font: “It perfectly encapsulates the tenacity and determination of MSU. The sharp angles juxtaposed with the bold letterforms exude confidence.” She commended Nike’s designers for creating something distinct yet aligned with MSU’s established visual identity.

While the font remains exclusive to MSU Athletics and official university partners for commercial use, members of the MSU community have responded positively to its usage and the visual brand consistency it enables. As the university continues expanding its reach, the font helps maintain strong branding and recognition tied to MSU.


The creation of the Spartan font has had a significant impact on strengthening MSU’s brand identity and recognition. According to MSU’s Brand Studio, the custom font “conveys the unique personality of Michigan State University” and is an important part of their visual identity.

By having an original and distinctive font, MSU is able to achieve instant brand recognition and consistency across all university communications and marketing materials. As described on MSU’s alumni website, the Spartan font increases brand awareness and equity by becoming associated with MSU in the minds of students, alumni, and the public.

The font also enhances school spirit and connects the MSU community through the sharing of a common visual identity. It is featured prominently on apparel, merchandise, signage, websites, and publications. Overall, the creation of the unique Spartan font has greatly benefited MSU by establishing a strong, unified brand image.

Fonts at Other Universities

Spartan font shares some similarities with fonts used by other major universities, but also has its own distinct look. For example, the Univers font used by Northern Arizona University is also a sans serif font with a modern, clean look. However, Univers has more rounded letterforms compared to Spartan’s sharper edges.

Classic serif fonts like Garamond and Caslon are popular choices for university branding as well. These evoke tradition and academic prestige. Garamond is used by University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, and Harvard University. While serif fonts are classic, sans serif fonts like Spartan offer a more contemporary, digital-friendly style.

Overall, fonts play an important role in university branding. Spartan font balances MSU’s history with a forward-looking aesthetic. It complements the university’s values of innovation and progress. Though other universities have their own signature fonts, Spartan remains uniquely tied to the visual identity of Michigan State.

[1] https://nau.edu/visual-identity-guide/typography/


The Spartan font brings distinction to Michigan State’s brand identity, serving an integral role as a visual representation of the university. With its roots in the feature lettering of traditional college football uniforms, it carries an aesthetic of strength and tradition.

As the official typeface, Spartan has been integrated widely in school communications, merchandise, and architecture. Its clean, classic design makes it highly readable and appealing for all audiences. The successful implementation of such a customized font demonstrates how typography can visually inspire pride and school spirit.

While many campuses have now adopted custom fonts, few can match the symbolism and longevity of Michigan State’s distinctive Spartan typeface. Decades since its creation, it remains one of the most iconic collegiate fonts in use today.

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