Process Graphic identity
Understanding identity and graphic identity
What is the difference between identity and graphic identity? In short, a graphic identity embodies or represents an organization's identity. The MIT I.D. Team described it this way:
Graphic designers don't design an identity for an institution. That identity already exists. As with a human being, an institution's core values, goals, and mission are expressed in its characteristics and personality — in other words, in its identity. MIT's identity, for example, is that of a pioneering institution of scientific discovery and technological innovation. That is the image it holds of itself and the image it projects to the world.
The individual characteristics that form the identity include:
- academic mission
- roles of education and research, and the interaction between the two
- culture and history of the institution
- characteristics of the campus and campus life
- experiences and expectations of the faculty, students, and staff
- relationships with alumni, the local community, and the larger global community, including the worlds of academia, government, and business
A graphic identity is a set of visual icons that symbolizes an institution's identity. Historically, MIT's graphic identity has included such characteristics as its school colors (red and gray), the official seal featuring the Institute motto (mens et manus), and the three letters M-I-T in a straightforward typeface or logotype.
Of course, you would not likely see all elements of the Institute's graphic identity in one publication. Logos, logotypes, and the other elements of a graphic identity are used according to the tone of the medium in which they appear. The MIT seal, for example, is primarily used on formal or ceremonial publications, whereas MIT's mascot, the beaver, is usually seen on casual, whimsical, or sports-related media.
"I have trouble recalling exactly what the motto is, but when you mentioned it, I said, 'Oh yeah, that's it.'"
"I like the MIT red, you know, the Harvard crimson, because it really says Ivy League."
"In my last delivery of stationery, I was very upset that the red seemed too much like Harvard crimson red, not MIT red. We all know what that is, and it is not Harvard crimson."
MIT faculty member