Brand Architecture

Our brand is a reflection of the many attributes that define MIT. It celebrates our entire community and is designed to be leveraged across the Institute. There are different approaches for using the brand within your own department or group.


MIT parent brand

The MIT logo functions as the shorthand representation of the Institute’s parent brand and is our most widely recognized graphic identifier. Using the MIT logo in your department or organization’s identities and communications sends a clear message: you are connected with the power and promise of the Institute.


In this option, your department or group is presented as a direct extension of the MIT parent brand. Sub-branding allows your DLC’s brand to be consistent with the overall system. This option connects you to the parent brand, yet there is still room for creative expression through design and the use of color.

Why consider a sub-brand logo for your DLC? 

The strength of the MIT brand is closely connected with your department, increasing recognition and trust. 

Clarity and consistency
Sub-brand logos eliminate ambiguity by presenting a unified look across MIT. 

By leveraging MIT’s visual brand language, you save time, energy, and resources.


The sub-brand strategy is the best way to leverage MIT’s strong name recognition and global reputation.

Approved uses

Sub-branding may only be used for a department, group, or program’s name.

It may not be used for publications, events, committees, or resources (such as this Brand Guide website); by departments or programs that include the name of an external organization; or by student groups.

If you choose the sub-branding strategy, the Institute Office of Communications (IOC) will create your logo at no charge and provide you with the appropriate web and print files (social media icons are available for download). Sub-brand logos must be created by the IOC to ensure that they qualify to use sub-branding and that they are built correctly. Do not build your own logos. Contact to request a sub-brand logo.

Sub-brand logo colors

Sub-brand logos may appear in any of MIT’s core colors—MIT red, silver gray, bright red, black, and white—for communications collateral. On a colored background, sub-brand logos must appear in either black or white.

There are no restrictions on the use of background colors. If you choose to use colors outside of MIT’s core palette, we recommend selecting from the expanded palette. To ensure legibility, always check that the background color you’ve chosen provides sufficient contrast. The WebAIM Contrast Checker is a free tool for checking color contrast.

For branded merchandise only, sub-brand logos can be used in any color on a background of any color, but designs need to be submitted for review to ensure legibility and contrast. We recommend using the core palette for sub-brand logos when possible.

Sub-brand logos in the core palette colors

Sub-brand logos in white on the core palette background colors

Sub-brand logos on secondary palette colors

Endorsed branding

While we strongly recommend that DLCs use sub-branding whenever possible, you also have the option of using an existing custom logo or creating a new one. This strategy, known as endorsed branding, makes your department or group’s brand the primary focus, with the MIT brand playing a supporting yet significant role. This option requires the MIT logo to be within the same field of vision as your logo.

Endorsed branding can be used for events, publications, and resources (such as this Brand Guide website); by departments or programs that include the name of an external company; and by student groups.

Endorsed branding example that shows the AeroAstro logo separated from the MIT logo.

When using both your logo and the MIT logo on the same communications piece, it is important to consider position and scale so that both brands are effectively represented. See the guidelines for placement on digital and print communications.



Place the logos purposefully. Seek placements that give equal prominence to both logos while also maintaining a visually pleasing composition. Be sure to have the MIT logo at the top of all web pages and in the header area of your digital emails. There's more flexibility on print materials, as long as the MIT logo is in the same visual field as your logo.

Example that shows a department's logo vertically centered with the MIT logo.
Example showing proper distance between a department's logo and the MIT logo.
Three examples of how to position a department's logo relative to the MIT logo.


Ensure that the sizes of the two logos are visually balanced and that both logos are visible and legible. Adjustments may be needed, depending on the application.

In some instances, space limitations may make it difficult for the MIT logo to appear in the same size as your department’s logo. It is still important to consider the overall scale relationship between the two logos.

Logos that are similar in scale but slightly different appear imbalanced and unconsidered. If the MIT logo needs to be smaller than your department’s logo, consider reducing the scale of the MIT logo by half.

Endorsed branding showing a department's logo and the MIT logo at equal sizes.
Endorsed branding showing a department's logo and the MIT logo sized optically in half.
Website example showing a department's logo at the top left and the MIT logo at the top right.

Only MIT student groups sponsored through formal channels (those that request and receive written approval to be sponsored by a department, laboratory, or center) or clubs recognized by the Association of Student Activities are authorized to use the MIT name and logo for club-related purposes. Approved student organizations are not permitted to alter MIT’s logo or combine it with any other logo, text, or image, or to use the MIT logo as their social media icon. For additional guidance, please contact the Institute Office of Communications.