The Cooper Union Logo, Before and After

Comprised of the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture, the Albert Nerken School of Engineering, and the School of Art, New York’s The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art is one of the most prestigious colleges in the city and the country — also one of the most selective, boasting the honor of having one of the lowest acceptance rates in the nation. But those that do get in are treated to a tuition-free education. In the design industry, its School of Art is quite celebrated, with many industrious and talented alumni, including the founding members of Push Pin Studios — Seymour Chwast, Reynold Ruffins, Edward Sorel, and Milton Glaser — as well as Herb Lubalin, Lou Dorfsman, Ellen Lupton, Abbott Miller, and Stephen Doyle who just had the task of designing the identity for the 150-year-old institution.

As the Cooper Union prepares to open a new, contemporary building across the street, and celebrates its 150th anniversary, the time is just right for a new logo. Attempting to convey the relationship of science and art, Doyle arrived at a three-dimensional representation of a square “C” and “U” that, through color layering, create a unique and engaging new mark. Last week Steven Heller presented the new logo, showing an animation of how the logo came to be, and is accompanied by some generous insight from Heller and Doyle.

I’m sure most people will complain that if you need a video to explain the logo it doesn’t work. Fine. But this logo works really well on its own. It’s vibrant and it’s distinctive, and the contrast between the bright, primary colors with the isometric rendering create an interesting tension between playful and serious.

The Cooper Union Stationery

Elements from the stationery suite.

The Cooper Union Stuff

A range of applications shown at the presentation stage. Actual items may be different.

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Reviewed February 19, 200902.19.09 by Armin

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