The Museum of Modern Art acquires the MIT Press colophon

The MIT Press colophon, an internationally recognized design icon of modern aesthetic, was created by Press design director and MIT Media Lab founding faculty member Muriel Cooper in 1965

The MIT Press is proud to announce that the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) has acquisitioned the MIT Press colophon into its permanent collection. Created by pioneering graphic designer Muriel Cooper, the iconic emblem graces the spines of all books and journals published by the MIT Press since 1965. 

The MIT Press colophon.

“For almost 60 years, the MIT Press colophon has served as the symbol of the Press’s distinctive design and innovative publishing program,” says Amy Brand, director and publisher, the MIT Press. “We are proud of the colophon’s legacy and thrilled that it has been selected and acquired for MoMA’s collection.”

The MIT Press colophon, or logo, is made up of seven bars that represent the lowercase letters “mitp” as abstracted books on a shelf. Created during Cooper’s tenure as the first design director at the MIT Press, the colophon is featured on all Press books, journals, digital products, and collateral materials. The colophon today serves as the standard bearer for all MIT Press publications, which are known for their intellectual daring, scholarly standards, interdisciplinary focus, and distinctive design. 

Cooper, who died in 1994, was an influential designer, researcher, and educator. As the  design director of the MIT Press, she created the encyclopedic volume Bauhaus by Hans M. Wingler and the graphically dazzling first edition of Learning from Las Vegas by Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, and Steven Izenour. During her four-decade career at MIT, Cooper also served as cofounder of the Visible Language Workshop and founding faculty member of the MIT Media Lab. She was also Associate Professor of Advertising Design at Massachusetts College of Art from 1962 to 1967. 

As part of this acquisition, the Morton R. Godine Library at Massachusetts College of Art and Design generously gifted an additional contemporary image of the colophon. The Muriel R. Cooper Collection is available for research at the MassArt Archive.

Media Contact

Jessica Pellien 
Director of Marketing and Communications
The MIT Press

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