The Museum of Modern Art has acquired the MIT Press colophon, created by Media Lab founding faculty member Muriel Cooper in 1965

Marie Cosindas

by Chia Evers

April 18, 2023

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) has acquisitioned the MIT Press colophon into its permanent collection. Created by pioneering graphic designer Muriel Cooper, one of the founding faculty members of the Media Lab, the iconic emblem has graced the spines of all of the books and journals published by the MIT Press since 1965. 


The MIT Press

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. 

“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 of the MIT Press. “We are proud of the colophon’s legacy and thrilled that it has been selected and acquired for MoMA’s collection.”

Professor 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 as a 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.