A new look for the MITAA

“You can’t overestimate the contribution to the design of true legends like Muriel Cooper [MIT Press’s longtime design director and a cofounding faculty member of the Media Lab] And Jacqueline Casey [an Institute graphic designer who achieved renown for her posters]”In the 1960s and ’70s, they helped define visual language that not only communicated the MIT experience better-it also helped the world understand MIT in a new way,” says Birut.

Cooper and Casey, devotees of the “Swiss style” of graphic design that emerged in the first half of the 20th century, were instrumental in bringing the typographic profiles that are still prevalent today, including the ubiquitous Sans Serif font Helvetica. Designed by Max Middinger and Edward Hoffman at the Haas Type Foundry, it was originally known as the New Haas Grotesque. Linotype Corporation licensed it and renamed it (in 1960, with some minor modifications).

“I would argue that any US educational institution – and perhaps even outside the academy – that is using this style today is indebted to MIT, which in my opinion owns Helvetica from the beginning,” says Byrut.

Along with the design process, Pentagram writing partner Andrea Jarrell developed a kind of “manifesto” to provide language with the brand.

“The MIT alum is happily full of contradictions,” says Jerrell. “In one breath, they are enthusiastically talking about solving the most difficult problems there to create a brighter future, their anxious need for progress. And yet in the near future, they are enthusiastically talking about the history and traditions that shaped their MIT-Ness. To be authentic in both words and design, we needed respect for gravity and the changing advances in society, along with the factor in the fun and eccentric fun of the famous MIT Hex and Tim the Beaver. “

Birut and his design team, which includes Sachi Chandiramani, realized that bilingualism was a key part of the assignment. His gaze wandered back to campus – specifically, to the endless corridor that connects MIT buildings between Kendall Square and Massachusetts Avenue. There, they found the quiet but important work of sign-maker Glenn Silva, who has been crafting department and faculty titles at the hallway doors for decades. Early in his time at MIT, Silva shared responsibility with the late Gifford Hudson.

The serif lettering style used by Silva has visual connections with other parts of the organization’s history, including the exterior decoration of the “main group” of the original Buks Arts building, which dates from the organization’s 1916 relocation from Boston to Cambridge. Birut also learned that typeface designer Tim Ripper was designing a digital type based on the letters on the door at MIT; In fact, he called it a corridor.

143,000 alumni, one design

As Jarrell wrote a manifesto on the experience of MIT alumni, highlighting many of its themes, designers explored a way forward in terms of establishing visual identity. While the manifesto will be used behind the scenes as a guide to express the community spirit of the alumni, the graphic branding elements will be seen by all. The association knew it was important to get it right.

One key recommendation was that the logo designed by the group focus on the idea of ​​”MIT Alumni” rather than the MIT Alumni Association as an organization. This will ensure that the alumni community felt they represent – about 143,000 live institution graduates. In this sense, “MIT Alumni” is a visual brand, and the MIT Alumni Association has helped make the alumni experience easier since it was formed in 1875 with the mission of “advancing the well-being of the institution and its graduates.” Increasing the interest of members. ”

To ensure that the design was chosen with the echoes of great alumni, Pentagram and staff turned to the MIT Alumni Association Board of Directors as representatives of the wider alumni community. In March 2020, Birut attended the board’s quarterly meeting on campus and offered three design directions for the new logo that came with his team. Two were heavily tilted towards the Helvetica-inspired camp, while the third corridor was original in approach.

Hearing feedback from volunteer leaders that each font could resonate strongly with the community for a variety of reasons, Pentagram developed a concept that would allow for both. Will be brand new Two The official typeface, New Haas Grotesk (in its original form) and Corridor GG, which the association officially and exclusively licensed as a digital type, pay homage to the letters “GG” Silva and Hudson. The former will be used as a font for the new mark, “MIT Alumni”, while the latter can be deployed as a display font to convey key messages in the design.

Espich says, “What Pentagram showed us was a design path that enabled us to integrate both fonts, both aspects of our community.” Practicality is rooted in, while always reaching for new knowledge and new understanding. There is no one way to define them. With this new symbol, we seem to have found a solution. “

When Beirut returned to introduce the new concept to the MIT Alumni Association Board of Directors during their December 2020 meeting, he received overwhelming support. Subsequent presentations for the small group of MIT volunteers and the organization’s office bearers confirmed the warm welcome. The new visual identity – which includes two typefaces, as well as an updated color palette – was officially debuted with a new alumni video during the 2021 MIT Alumni Leadership Conference.

“I like to think our new logo is more than a compelling logo with beautiful fonts and color choices, but it’s a story,” says Analisa Weigel, president of the association ’94, ’95, SM’00, PhD’02. “It tells the world who we are as MIT alumni. To be successful, alumni need to resonate with that story. Our story is telling very well. “


Notice of Proposed Changes in the Governing Document of the MIT Alumni Association

The Board of Directors of MITAA unanimously supports the amendment

In accordance with the current Article XI (“Amendments”) Organization and Articles of the Constitution Alumni of the Association of Alumni and MIT (“Constitution”), Hence the proposed amendment to the Constitution has been notified. The proposed amendments, after in-depth scrutiny by the Ad-hoc Committee on Governance, will make the constitution more accurate and more consistent with MITAA’s current operational framework.

Changes and summaries can be found at http://alum.mit.edu/constitutionamendment. The constitution includes a procedure for alumni to review changes before they are implemented or to collectively apply for a full alumni membership vote requirement.

The members of the ad-hoc committee on governance are Stephen Defalco ’83, SM’88 (chair), Elaine Harris ’78, Kevin Prizeboki ’86, SM’87, Ramon San Pedro ’86, SM’88, Analisa Weigel ’94. 95, SM ’00, PhD ’02 (incumbent), and Whitney T. Speech (incumbent).

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