Process Graphic identity
Developing a graphic identity
In its discussions with the community, the MIT I.D. Team soon found that many people didn't understand what "identity" was all about. Identity, they realized, is one of those invisible aspects of the wider culture that everyone sees, but no one ever thinks about. So the team dug deep into its resources and its experience to explain the different but interdependent realities of identity and graphic identity.
The MIT I.D. Team also discovered another vital unifying element in its conversations with the MIT community: Virtually everyone surveyed eagerly embraced the idea of a common symbol around which they could unite, and they felt that the Institute brand, M-I-T, held significant power.
Inspired by this enthusiasm and by all it had learned about the nature and psyche of the Institute, the I.D. Team set out to create a new graphic identity for MIT. The team's talented design component of renowned graphic designers and typography experts determined a set of visual criteria that would symbolize the attributes of the Institute.
Working with the terms that the community had used to describe the Institute's identity, the I.D. Team translated these MIT characteristics into these design elements:
|this MIT characteristic||could be symbolized by this design element|
|bold, proud||heavyweight type, not a delicate serif type or script|
|unique, curious, innovative, entrepreneurial, risk taking, irreverent||customized drawing over standard font, unconventional or quirky type solution|
|determined, rigorous, accomplished, intense||strong lines, solid mass, firm base|
|practical, relevant, not an ivory tower||functional, hardworking, without gratuitous flourishes, not a seal|
"I mean, just between us that's where we see the most powerful representation of the Institute, using those three letters, M-I-T. What other three letters mean as much? IBM? Not even as much."
MIT undergraduate, 1999