Calculating the value of a graphic identity
The MIT I.D. Team found that one of the most effective ways of describing the concept of graphic identity was to define it in terms of value. What exactly is the point of creating a unified symbol for MIT? The team set out to show that the benefits of a cohesive graphic identity are practical and elusive, tangible and incalculable, but no less powerful for their variety. Team members condensed those benefits into three core categories:
A graphic identity is an ambassador. It tells people what you are about when you don't have the opportunity to communicate your identity more fully. The photographs on this page, part of the larger kit of tools in the Institute's graphic identity, have the greatest visual power to communicate the MIT experience to the world. The logo, while having less expressive power, has a much higher rate of exposure than any photograph because it appears on all media generated by MIT.
A graphic identity unifies an organization. A cohesive set of symbols tells the world that the Institute is one community united around a common mission, an extended team of people who value collaboration. Just as important, it reinforces that sense of unity within the group. School logos give members of an academic community a symbol with which to identify.
A graphic identity cuts both time and costs. An established graphic identity means that members of an organization don't have to reinvent the wheel every time they produce business papers or publications. Members of the MIT community can even download the logo and other elements of the graphic identity — an efficiency that saves considerable time and money over trying to re-create or reproduce logos, letterhead formats, and other graphic aspects.
"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
"It appears on virtually every official business card, every sheet of letterhead, every website generated at MIT. The Institute logo has to be one of the most hard-working symbols in the world."
The MIT I.D. Team