The creation of the MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing was announced in October 2018. The college was developed to address global opportunities and challenges presented by the ubiquity of computing and the rise of artificial intelligence. With the college’s founding, MIT also sought to strengthen its position as a key international player in the ethical evolution of technologies that are poised to fundamentally transform society. In order to do this, the college needed a strong visual identity to express its mission and its connection with the broader MIT brand.
We selected design firm Pentagram as a creative partner because they were already engaged in other high-level branding work at MIT, including the forthcoming campus-wide wayfinding program and rebranding for the Alumni Association. The goal of this project was to create a unique brand identity for the college that was closely related to MIT’s parent brand and guided by the aesthetic of iconic MIT logos such as the MIT Press, the Media Lab, and Technology Review.
Because the college is an interdisciplinary hub linking MIT’s five schools to provide a shared structure for collaborative education, research, and innovation in computing, many of the initial design directions included forms that suggested connection. It was also important to include representation of the more human and organic components of the college. In the final design, two letters connect and form a third, suggesting the transformative power of computing. In addition to the central symbol, we developed brand guidelines to help the college build its brand equity going forward.