MICA's new logo, officially launched on April 1, 2007, was designed by Abbott Miller of the internationally recognized design firm Pentagram. Working with Abbott was senior designer Kristen Spilman, a 2005 graduate of MICA’s MFA in graphic design, and a member of Abbott's team in his Baltimore studio.
The logo marks the culmination of a seven-year evolution of Maryland Institute College of Art’s nomenclature system towards valuing the acronym, MICA, as the College’s primary identifier. MICA was founded in 1826 as The Maryland Institute for the Promotion of the Mechanic Arts, and has been known by a number of different names, including its official business name: The Maryland Institute. Many alumni, as well as long-time faculty, staff, and friends, still refer to the College as "the Institute," or even "the 'Tute." While MICA embraces its long, varied, and rich history, and the wonderful memories of those who knew it when its size and scope of offerings were different from those of today, the move to embrace "MICA" as our primary name is a reflection of usage among current students, faculty, and staff, and of how we are known nationally. With the College’s accreditation and awarding of bachelor’s degrees in the mid 20th century, its name—Maryland Institute, College of Art—reflected our movement towards becoming one of the top colleges of art and design in the country. The comma was dropped after a 2000 research project which also confirmed the acronym as one of three options in the official nomenclature system: Maryland Institute College of Art, the College, MICA. The new logo recognizes that MICA’s name recognition has broadened enough to allow us to simply be "MICA."
About the New Logo
- The logo uses letterforms based on industrial and commercial graphics from the time of MICA's founding. Rendering the acronym with historical letters in a modern way reflects MICA's unusual culture, balancing tradition and innovation in its curriculum and physical campus.
- The full signature of the institution, Maryland Institute College of Art, is set in a sans serif font, Griffith, designed by Chauncey Griffith in 1937. Griffith was the design director of Mergenthaler Type, whose founder, Ottmar Mergenthaler resided in Bolton Hill, the neighborhood that is home to MICA's campus.
- The rules between the letters offer a visual reference to the architecture of the College's two most visible buildings: the 1907 Main Building (National Register of Historic Places) and the 2003 Brown Center, a crystalline glass structure which sits directly across Mount Royal Avenue from Main. The logo's rhythmic lines echo the juxtaposition of the classical Italianate structure (Main) and the linear geometry of the building designed by Charles Brickbauer (Brown). The angled line specifically recalls the distinctive "prow" of Brown Center’s facade.
- The colors of the branding system are drawn directly from MICA's campus: the oxidized green of historic copper railings and details, and the brown and slate colors of stone and brick.
- The logo is executed in two versions: the main logo features solid letterforms, and a secondary version incorporates a graphic pattern that alludes to the profusion of ornamental architectural patterns on MICA's campus.