Branding, Style, and Identity Guide

Why have guidelines?

This style guide is our set of standards for the writing and design of fraternal documents, either for promotional, ceremonial, or internal use. A team of Brothers have collaborated with the Standards Advisor and National Historian to establish this style guide and improve fraternal communication. These are commonly used by designers, and tips are available to make them better.

Keep this guideline handy when you’re designing. It will make your limited time more productive — the basic methods and meanings are all here, with recommendations for using them to maximum effect. When we use our fraternal symbols in the same way, we reinforce what they mean and we help others understand what they’re seeing.

Consider this style guide as the foundation for your work as a communicator, to take these building blocks and apply them effectively.

Brand versus Theme

We work together to clearly, consistently, and frequently communicate “Fraternity”. It's one of the most powerful ways to increase the public’s awareness and understanding of what we do. These guidelines make it easier for you to produce a consistent, appealing, timeless design. That way, our reader recognizes it. When new ideas come forward in design, consider the balancing act you — the designer — must play between innovation and retention.

Themes and brands are very different. And any confusion between them will dilute the impact of both.

National Brands

The national brand, reflected in this document, succeeds by plastering the brand on everything. e.g. letterhead, table tents, folders, slides, brochures. The national brand is carefully­-planned, and timeless. The same can be said for national events’ branding. The national brand must appear in many forms, so it’s tested carefully. It should look great in color, but should degrade gracefully in black­-and­-white.

National Themes

We design particular themes exclusively for the specific opportunity at ­hand. Maybe it's for the next National Convention, or for a major campaign. The best themes succeed by staying frivolous, fun, and fleeting. National themes are best created by one or two people quickly, captured in a spark of inspiration (or silliness). The focus should be on fun themes which showcase the specific opportunity at the current moment in time. A theme will only appear once. This is your chance to let loose and make a decision without getting exhaustive, unanimous approval.

Chapter Variations

For every rule there's an exception. But effective variations take time. Rushing this step is an easy way to miss something that must be readdressed the following year. That makes your Chapter seem inconsistent and unrecognizable. It is in your best interest to avoid long­-term repercussions. So approach variation with care, conservatism and patience.

Whenever possible, a Chapter should align with existing standards and styles.

Our Name

Our Full Name

The National Constitution describes our name as: Mu Beta Psi, National Honorary Musical Fraternity The comma may be removed in instances lacking punctuation, such as our Fraternity Seal.

Our Short Name

We often go by our short name, Mu Beta Psi

Our Initials

Our initialism uses the capital Mu, the capital Beta, and the capital Psi. These three letters next to one another, ΜΒΨ, represent us.

Our Mottos

The only motto that may be publicly shared is “May Brotherhood Prevail.”

May Brotherhood prevail. Brothers adopted this motto as an English phrase for our Greek letters, and is commonly used in Officer installations and formal events. Despite being public, this motto’s purpose is customarily ceremonial and reverential in nature.

Capitalization Rules

  • Brotherhood is capitalized when it refers to the collective membership of our Fraternity.
  • brotherhood is lower-case when referring to endearment and kinship experienced by members in our Fraternity.
  • Brother is capitalized when it refers to members of our Fraternity.
  • Chapter is capitalized when it refers to one of the Chapters that comprise our Fraternity.
  • chapter is lower-case when used as an adjective. e.g. “our chapter office is in Pullen Hall.”
  • Convention is capitalized when referring to a specific event or using it in a title of an event, but not when referring to conventions in general.
  • Fraternity is capitalized when it refers to Mu Beta Psi, National Honorary Musical Fraternity
  • fraternity or fraternal are lower-case when used as an adjective. e.g. “fraternity symbol”
  • Letters is capitalized when it refers to the adornment of Greek letters on traditional apparel worn by members of our Fraternity.
  • letters is lower-case when referring to the three letters.
  • National Officers and specific national officers are capitalized.
  • Rush is capitalized when referring to the event.
  • rush is lower-case to refer to a person attending the event.
  • The Clef is capitalized and italicized when referencing our national publication.

Chapter Capitalization

Chapter names are capitalized. e.g. “Omicron and Nu are throwing a party.”


Offices are capitalized when referring to a specific office. e.g. “I want to run for the office of National Treasurer.” Offices should be written in lowercase when not referring to a specific position. e.g. “It is recommended all presidents attend.”


Titles, whether of a National or Chapter nature, are capitalized when referring to a specific officer or position holder. e.g “President Williams” and “the National Editor of The Clef is publishing next week.”

Our Colors

We take the inspiration for our colors from the campus of our founder, North Carolina State University. Red, white, or both should be prominent in any publication’s color scheme. Our official colors are:

Primary Colors: Red and White


For Electronic and Web Use
HEX          #CC0000
RGB         R204 G0 B0
For Print
CMYK      C0 M100 Y81 K4
PMX        186 C (Coated)
                186 U (Uncoated)
For Electronic and Web Use
HEX         #FFFFFF
RGB         R255 R255 R255
For Print
CMYK      C0 M0 Y0 K0

Secondary Colors

In a two-color design, accent grays can be used.

10% Grey
HEX         #F2F2F2
RGB         R242 G242 B242
CMYK      C0 M0 Y0 K10
25% Grey
HEX         #CCCCCC
RGB         R204 G204 B204
CMYK      C0 M0 Y0 K25
60% Grey
HEX         #666666
RGB         R102 G102 B102
CMYK      C0 M0 Y0 K60

90% Grey
HEX         #333333
RGB         R51 G51 B51
CMYK      C0 M0 Y0 K90
Your Tertiary Colors

Chapters and offices may incorporate colors other than those specified here into their publications, but may not deviate from our use of red on any symbols described below unless it’s being produced in one-color process.

Using Color Effectively

Consider legibility and contrast. Red text on black is hard to read.

Do not use colors that are too similar with each other. For instance, avoid layouts that place our red Coat of Arms on top of maroon backgrounds.

Our Symbols

Our Achievement: The Coat of Arms

An achievement is a full display of all the heraldic symbols to which the bearer of a coat of arms is entitled. The central element, which we’ll refer to as our Coat of Arms.

Any guide to reading a coat of arms can apply to ΜΒΨ too. Can you see our history as a bunch of musical dudes who wanted a practical education from a university focused on military tactics and the mechanical arts?

Elements of the Coat of Arms
  1. The Crest, The Lamp of Learning, resting on our…
  2. Coronet, The Books of Knowledge, placed atop the…
  3. Escutcheon, a white badge on a…
  4. Field in red, behind…
  5. Ordinaries such as a vertical line or the staff which bound the…
  6. Charges such as the Pipes of Pan, the Lyre, the Horn, and the Harp, followed by our…
  7. Motto, of which only the letters Μ Β Ψ appear.
When to use the Coat of Arms

As our most formal, heraldic symbol, the Coat of Arms is best used in moderation. It represents Mu Beta Psi, National Honorary Musical Fraternity; its presence implies authority and reverence. It is important to use it with care. Unlike our name or Greek letters, the Coat of Arms is not meant for frequent graphic use in our publications.

Use it as a standing element, and avoid using it more than once in official publications pertaining to Mu Beta Psi, National Honorary Musical Fraternity.

Variations on the Coat of Arms

Two Colors The two­-color setting of the Coat of Arms is most common one, because it incorporates red and white as it’s used most often.

The Coat of Arms is red and white. Whenever a publication allows for red and white, this is the preferred one to use.

One Color Not all publications allow the use of color. In those limited circumstances, there are three ways to apply a one­-color setting of the Coat of Arms. One­-color settings of the Coat of Arms are to be avoided when two colors are possible.

One Color, Additive The additive setting of the Coat of Arms can be used to produce a raised relief or embossed presentation; for instance, perhaps the Coat of Arms is to be engraved onto something or used as an element of the Fraternity Seal.

One Color, Reverse Used only in screen printing, the reverse setting of the Coat of Arms will allow ink to pass through shapes that would appear white on the two-color setting. Consequently, this setting is used to create the subtractive setting when applied onto other things; for instance, when applying bleach to a dark shirt.

One Color, Subtractive Though it appears simply to be a grayscale version of the two­-color setting, the subtractive setting will show whatever base color in place of the white elements on the Coat of Arms.

Incorrect Uses of the Coat of Arms

In Print/On The Web:

  • Anything not representing the Fraternity proper; that is, something that the Fraternity or Chapter is not specifically involved in as an entity.
    • ex: Three Brothers from Rho Chapter are performing in a Symphonic Band concert. Posters are hung throughout Northern Michigan’s campus, advertising the concert time and location. These posters incorrectly feature the Coat of Arms prominently.
  • In use as a background or repeating image.
  • In silhouette or abstract forms

In Clothing:

  • On any form of clothing that would be inappropriate in a 'casual professional' setting
    • ex: underwear, swimsuits

Our Emblem: The Fraternity Seal

A seal is any device used to make an impression — in wax, on paper — to authenticate a document or package which holds value.

Elements of the Fraternity Seal

The Fraternity Seal begins with a circle surrounding the Coat of Arms, and includes our name and incorporation date.

When to Use the Fraternity Seal

The Fraternity Seal carries the organizational ethos of our service program, and its stable design reflects a level of professionalism befitting a nation­wide nonprofit organization such as ours. When applied to a document, it confirms that document was prepared by a Brother of Mu Beta Psi acting on official business.

The Fraternity Seal should be used as a mark of authenticity on all official documents pertaining to the National Organization, such as Shingles/Charters and bids to pledge.

Variations on the Fraternity Seal

There are a few ways to apply the Fraternity Seal. In all cases, the design and proportion of these elements are fixed, and may not be redrawn, altered or recreated.

Two Colors If the Fraternity Seal is being applied to an electronic or web publication, or if printed off as a sticker, then a two­-color setting of the Fraternity Seal is appropriate.

One Color Foil seals on our Shingles rely on embossed elements to appear, so a one­-color additive setting is best. In the case that the Fraternity Seal is used to produce physical wax seals or if used in coinage, then a one­-color setting of the Fraternity Seal will correctly reproduce the embossed elements.

Incorrect Uses of the Seal

Anything not representing official documentation or communication of Fraternity business. We intend to expand on this section as Brothers explore what it means to be a symbol of authenticity.

Our Badge: The Shield

A badge is a personal device worn to indicate allegiance to a group. Ours customarily takes the form of a pin worn by Brothers.

Elements of the Shield

The shield is comprised of a metal backing shaped into a Reuleaux Triangle. The face is then enameled in red, with the letters Μ Β Ψ shining through the enamel.

When to Use the Shield

The shield represents the bonds of brotherhood shared by everyone who wears it. The shield is best applied when representing our members; for instance, when selecting an avatar for a Brothers-­only account or network.

When used as a standing element, alone or in a pattern, the shield may not be arbitrarily rotated.

Using the Shield and Coat of Arms as a Badge

Pledge Pin When the pin has no Greek letters on it, then it is used as the pledge pin. This variation should not be used in publications to represent the organization as a whole.

Brothers Pin Some older (more expensive) settings of the Brothers Pin may be embellished with a ring of pearls and even three rubies set into the corners. These and other variations are acceptable, and do not represent exclusivity; as the National Constitution says, there is one class of membership.

Brothers Key Some Brothers (chiefly members of Zeta Chapter, but not exclusively) may elect to adorn themselves with a gold key in the shape of the Coat of Arms. Though its appearance is different, the Brothers Key has the same intended usage as the Brothers Pin.

Incorrect Uses of the Shield

The shield should not be used in repetition to form a pattern

What's Next

Future additions to this guide

Our Wordmark

Mu Beta Psi A wordmark is a distinct text­-only typographic treatment of the name of a company, institution, or product name. As of the making of this guide, Mu Beta Psi does not have a standalone wordmark associated with our national brand.

ΜΒΨ Any sequential combination of the Greek capital letters Μ Β Ψ connotes our brand.

The Clef The Clef has a wordmark currently in use.

Our Informal Mottos

Music. Brotherhood. Service.

Music. Service. Brotherhood.

Your Ideas: How to Get Approval


Approved by the Board of Trustees, March 11, 2016
Contact Information
* Andrew Fleming, Standards Advisor
* Nick Rosencrans, National Editor of The Clef, 2015-2016
* Jen Staten, Chief Financial Officer, 2016-Present
* Joe Sener, Chapter Vice President, Rho Chapter, 2015-2016
* Julia Kester, Chair, National Information Technology Committee, 2011-Present

Request for Materials
If you'd like to get any of the materials mentioned in this guide, please contact the webmaster using the contact form on the Mu Beta Psi website.
  • policies/branding-guide.txt
  • Last modified: 2018-08-05 18:08
  • by Mu Beta Psi Webmaster