Original text and images from Novum Gebrauchsgraphik, 7, 1973, J. J. de Lucio-Meyer – Publicity for Higher Education in the USA – The Design Service Office of the M. I. T.
The communicative function of graphics has never been as evident and indispensable as today in our age of mass media. And so it is not surprising that even the venerable Alma Mater relies more and more on experts of visual communication who replace the undesirable reputation of dusty academic isolation by a new image of progressive research. The first American university to accept graphic designers as members of the faculty was the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, called M.I.T. , for short. In this way, the M.I.T. has once more justified its reputation as a pedagogic pioneer enjoying international fame in many fields of learning, in the natural sciences, engineering and architecture as well as in philosophy and sociology. Its publicity program was conceived in the early 50s by John Mattill.
Today the Design Service Office of the M.I.T. . is directed by Jacqueline S. Casey; Ralph Coburn and Dietmar R. Winkler, together with some European guest designers, have contributed to what is known as the M. I. T. style. Jacqueline S. Casey has been a graphic designer since 1955 but she also holds a diploma in fashion design and illustration and acquired the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1950. Moreover, she has ample experience in advertising, interior design and publishing. Ralph Coburn studied architecture and painting at the M.I.T., in Boston and in Paris. Among others, he has displayed his work in the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles in Paris, in the M.I.T. Hayden Gallery and in the Alpha Gallery of Boston. Dietmar R. Winkler studied at the Hamburg Alsterdamm Art School and under Max Mahlmann, worked as a designer for the Chemie Grünenthal in Stolberg, was next a «fellow» at the Rhode Island School of Design and then worked as a designer in Boston.
The work created by the design group reflects the high level of instruction, the realistic setting of the training and the progressive philosophy of this institute. The argumentation of the designs is always direct and precise. It is supported by an excellent image and commensurate typography. Although they often treat similar motives they preserve their individuality and originality. The pictures treat a great variety of realistic, abstract and surrealistic themes. Their purpose is not only to make a convincing impression on academic circles and to attract students but also to attract the attention of the public to cultural and scientific events. In one word they are intended as professional vehicles of contemporary communication in the field of education. But they are surely more than that: their design, and their visual and textual excellence makes them an educational success.