Print Style Guide

Cover elements

Each recruitment publication should feature the following on the cover:

  • Missouri State University wordmark, to address trademark requirements
  • Title of publication: Department name (college name if applicable)

  • Appropriate Web address

Publication types and dimensions

Recruitment publications can be in various sizes and formats. A number of options are listed below. The size and format of the publication will depend on amount of content supplied by the client and budget available.

Folded brochure and booklets

Recommended brochure/booklet sizes to ensure they fit in the standard-sized envelopes:

  • 4" x 9" (designed to fit in standard #10 Official envelope)
  • 5.75" x 8.5" (designed to fit in standard #6 1/2 Booklet envelope)
  • 6" x 9" (designed to fit in standard #6 3/4 Booklet envelope)

Note: See recommended postcard sizes if the brochure or booklet is a self-mailer.

Postcards and oversized postcards

Postcards, oversized postcards also may be developed for small publication needs.

  • 5" x 3.5" (minimum postcard size)
  • 6" x 4.25" (maximum postcard size)

Oversized postcards that still meet the USPS "Letter-size Mail Standards" which can be mailed with an increased postage rate:

  • Anything larger than 6" x 4.25" (minimum postcard size)
  • 6 1/8" x 11.5" (maximum oversized postcard size)

Reference the Letter-Size Mail Dimensional Standards Template for the correct size ratios and to ensure adequate space is allotted for the OCR read area.

Note: Letter-size mail is the USPS term for any mail piece that is larger than the maximum postcard size, 6" x 4.25".

Direct-mail piece

A direct-mail piece is any type of printed publication that can be mailed without the use of envelope. A direct-mail piece is often considered as an effective communication tool because the absence of envelope means that the piece has higher chance of being read by the recipient.

A direct-mail piece can be a postcard or an oversized postcard. It can also be in the form of a fold-out brochure/booklet as long as the finished folded size follows theUSPS Letter-Size Mail Dimensional Standards.


Common sizes for posters include:

  • 11" x 17"
  • 18" x 24"
  • 22" x 28"
  • 24" x 36"

Layout margins and grids

Margins and gutters

For 8.5" x 11" and 9" x 12" documents, the margins should be 0.625" on all sides. Gutters for these larger documents should be 0.25 inch.

For 4" x 6" and 6" x 9" documents, the margins are 0.5 inch on all sides. Two-column documents follow the same margins, but with a 0.125 inch gutter.

Text grid

  • Smaller publications such as 4" x 9" documents will primarily use one column of text per panel.
  • Larger publications should use a two- or three-column grid structure.

Text specifications

This section outlines the specifications of text, including font selection, leading, tracking, justification and hyphenation.

Section headings

  • Use Serifa Bold or Black.
  • Section headings introduce new topic matter, which includes headlines and body copy.
  • The typeface for section headings will vary in size according to the dimensions of the publication.
  • The first word of a heading, as well as proper nouns, should be capitalized. All lowercase is not permitted.
  • As a general rule, ALL CAPS should be used sparingly in any recruitment publication.
  • Never hyphenate a header.


  • Use Serifa Bold.
  • Subheadings act to separate sections of body copy.
  • Subheadings are 12/15 or 14/17.
  • The first word of a subheading, as well as proper nouns, should be capitalized.. All lowercase is not permitted.
  • A hard return is used after the body copy and before the next subheading.
  • As a general rule, ALL CAPS should be used sparingly in any recruitment publication.
  • Never hyphenate a subheading.

Body copy

  • Use Rotis Sanserif, 9.5pt/12.5pt.
  • Tracking should not be less than minus -3/200 em (InDesign = -20) nor greater than 2/200 em (InDesign = 20).
  • Avoid overly long line lengths because if a line is too long, readers have trouble finding the beginning of the next line. If a line is too short, it breaks up the phrases the readers recognize. Rule of thumb, an ideal line length is 6-10 words per line or no more than 65 characters per line.
  • All paragraphs are justified left with no indentation. Do not force justify any body copy.
  • Use a hard return to separate paragraphs.
  • Try to avoid any hyphenation. When using the auto-hyphenation feature in Word or InDesign, limit consecutive hyphenation to two lines. Avoid too many hyphenations in any paragraph. Do not manually insert hyphens in any publication.
  • When directing the reader to a Web site or e-mail address, the address should be set in italic or bold text or use a different color.

Other styles for setting type

  • Use italic and bold sparingly. For instance, do not highlight the name of the department/program by using bold type in every occurrence.
  • Never use two hyphens instead of an em dash (long dash).
  • Use hyphen ( - ) for hyphenating words or line breaks.
  • Use en dash ( – ) for indicating a duration such as hourly time or months or years. Use it where you might otherwise use the word "to."
  • Use em dash ( — ) for indicating an abrupt change in thought. Use it in a manner similar to a colon or parentheses, where a period is too strong and a comma is too weak.
  • Use quotation marks and inch marks appropriately.
  • Avoid bad line breaks. (Pay special attention to a person's name, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, Web addresses.)
  • Use one space in between sentences. Break the habit of traditional typewriter rules of using two spaces after the period.


  • Folios should include the following elements: Missouri State University, Web address, page numbers.
  • Publications of 6 x 9 and larger, or 8 pages or more, should have page numbers.
  • A table of contents may be added to a publication as needed.
  • Type size of the folios should be 6 pt.


  • Cutlines or photo captions are Serifa Roman 9pt/12pt.
  • Text for cutlines should be left justified.

Drop caps

  • Drop caps are reserved for special featured articles within the publications, such as testimonials, message from the dean/president, etc. They should be used sparingly.

Color palette and color usage

  • The official colors for the University are maroon and white.
  • The number code for the Pantone Matching System (PMS) is 505.
  • The four-color process equivalent of Pantone 505 is C=0, M=100, Y=65, K=75 and is used for four-color offset and digital printing.
  • The official Web color of the University in RGB mode is R=74 G=0 and B=16 or hexadecimal #4a0010.
  • Color should be primarily led by the photography. Complimentary color, including Pantone 505, is encouraged, but is to be used sparingly.


Request photography

Photographs and other imagery will serve as the primary graphic elements in recruitment publications. When ordering photo shoots from the Office of Photographic Services it is best to specify that they shoot in “recruitment” style. This alerts the photographer to pay particular attention to angles and framing.

To request a photographer or to order digital files of previously shot images, visit the Office of Photographic Services Web site and fill out the appropriate order forms.

When at all possible, attempt to show diversity in photos, not only with mix of male and female participants, but also through inclusion of ethnic minorities. Cropping is encouraged to give personality to photos and publications.

Photo gallery

A selection of fall and spring campus scenes may be found in the Photographic Services Gallery.

Photo release form

During photo shoots, ensure photo release forms are signed and on file with the Office of Photographic Services.

Photo quality

Photos must be at least 300 dots per inch (DPI) at the size they are to be reproduced to ensure print quality. Images used online at 72 DPI will not reproduce clearly in print.

Photo appearance

Text wrap for each photo should be set to no less than .0139 inches (InDesign).

Other important messages to include in publications


Use the University’s tagline whenever possible: Follow your passion. Find your place.

Graduate study opportunities

If applicable, include information on the graduate opportunities within the program, including courses that offer an accelerated master’s degree option. More than 50 percent of incoming freshmen report they plan to pursue a master’s degree.

Contact information

Each publication should have a list of contact information, which may include one or more of the following:

  1. Phone number: Use 417- as the prefix, as well as 800- for toll-free numbers
  2. Email address: Include current department address
  3. Web address: Use simplified Web addresses for departments and programs. If a redirect address is needed to represent, contact the Office of Web and New Media for further instruction.

Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action

Each publication must include the University's EO/AA/M/F/Veterans/Disability statement. There are a number of statement options from which to choose in the Equal Opportunity Publication Policy.

Binding and finishing

Binding and folding are addressed for each publication need. Options include:

  • Saddle-stitch
  • Glue bind
  • Spiral bind
  • Wire-O bind
  • Pocket folder
  • Perfect bind (min. 48 pages)

Mailing publications

Postal regulations change periodically, which may cause increased postal charges for a publication in violation. Most publications may be preapproved by the U.S. Postal Services mailpiece design analyst, 816-374-9486.

Mailing indicia

For self-mailing publications of 200 pieces or more, the nonprofit organization U.S. postage paid indicia (Permit No. 1555) should be included on the upper right corner of the mailer. This will assist with the bulk-mail process. The indicia must be at minimum 5/8 inch square in size to meet postal regulations.

Only the bulk-mailed publications can have indicia; hand-distributed publications cannot — it can be covered with a white label or crossed out with a marker. Therefore, it is recommended to split the print quantity so that a certain amount of brochures have indicia and certain amount do not.

If a self-mailing publication is going to have sprayed-on addresses, this indicia can be sprayed at the time of addressing, avoiding the hassle of split quantities. However, if the address is printed on sticker label, the indicia will have to be pre-printed.

Business reply mail

  1. If a publication is printed at Printing Services, the Qualified Business Reply Mail (QBRM) Application must be completed and sent to Printing Services for typesetting together with the work order.
  2. If a publication is printed at an off-campus vendor, a Qualified Business Reply Mail (QBRM) Application must be completed and sent to Printing Services for typesetting. Printing Services will, in turn, supply a PDF file to be placed in the design and return the original QBRM form for processing.

Follow-up procedure for a publication that has a BRM tear-off card includes:

  1. If the publication is printed at Printing Services, no follow-up procedure is needed.
  2. If the publication is printed off-campus, 10 samples of the actual printed BRMs and the original QBRM application will need to be sent to the USPS mail-piece analyst to ensure the correct bulk rate is charged.

Courtesy reply mail

  • A Courtesy Reply Mail is a barcode that Printing Services can set up on a self-addressed return envelope.
  • A Courtesy Reply Mail is used when the sender has to affix a postage stamp to send his/her response back to the University. The barcode expedites the delivery of the mail.
  • This barcode can only be set in black or dark colors with enough blacks in its mix. If you are designing a return envelope with one Pantone color (e.g. blue), be aware that the blue may not have enough black for the barcode to scan properly. In such case, your return envelope will need to be printed in 2 colors instead of 1 color.


Envelopes are constructed in a number of standard sizes and closures.

Common envelope sizes for brochures/booklets:

  • #10 Official/Commercial envelope (enclosure: 4" x 9")
  • #6 1/2 Booklet envelope (enclosure: 5.75" x 8.5")
  • #6 3/4 Booklet or #1 3/4 Catalog envelope (enclosure: 6" x 9")

Note: Booklet envelope has opening on the long end and Catalog envelope has opening on the short end.

Common envelope sizes for note cards or invitations:

  • A2 envelope (enclosure: 4.125" x 5.5")
  • A6 envelope (enclosure: 4.625" x 6.25")

Paper weight

Postal regulations require that postcard and reply card meet minimum paper weight, which is 10pt. Some brands of 80 lb. cover weight paper may be borderline when used for a reply card or postcard. The following list of papers are recommended:

  • C1S Cornwall cover (coated on one side)
  • C2S Cornwall cover (coated on both sides)
  • Utopia matte 100# cover
  • Carnival uncoated 100# cover
  • Exact uncoated 80# cover

Most folded brochures or booklets meet the postal regulations due to the added thickness when folded; however, if a tear-off reply card is part of the brochure, that tear-off card must meet minimum paper weight per postal regulations.

Folded brochures or multiple-page booklets will have to be tabbed for mailing.

Paper and aqueous coatings

For a postcard, it is recommended to use C1S Cornwall cover paper. C1S stands for Coated on 1 Side; therefore, the front of the postcard will be coated, while the uncoated back (mailing) side will prevent the sprayed-on address from getting smeared. If a label address is being used, then the postcard can be coated on both sides (C2S).

If a publication is going to have an overall aqueous coating, choose the dull aqueous instead of matte aqueous coating. The sprayed-on address will not dry on the matte coating, causing it to smear.

Postal clear zone on postcard

Every postcard should have a “clear zone” for USPS barcode. There are two possible layouts to allow for this clear zone:

Postal clear zone on post card