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Institute vs. Institvte

POSTED BY , ON April 27, 2012, 5 COMMENTS

Dear Art Institute,

Your graphic on your home page has a typo. You are calling yourself the Art “Institvte” of Chicago. It is a pretty huge error. Just thought you would like to know.

This e-mail echoes the most commonly asked question to my department: did you know that your logo is spelled incorrectly? We always reply to the people who ask, but for all of the people out there who didn’t feel compelled to write us, the answer to that question is a definite “yes.” But because we do understand why there might be confusion, we thought we would set the record straight and give you a little background on our logo.

Our logo was redesigned by Pentagram in 2008. And while it has a modern sensibility and was created in anticipation of the opening of the Modern Wing in 2009, Pentagram was inspired by the facade on the museum’s original building (see above). If you look at the text above the banners, you’ll notice that the museum’s name is spelled with a Latin “V.” This is a nod to the classical architecture of the building, as the uppercase “U” wasn’t introduced until the 16th century. Note that this convention extends not only to the museum, but also to the artists’ names that run across the upper border of the facade. If you look at the architrave of the building the next time you’re here, you’ll notice there’s no “U” in sight!

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5 Responses to “Institute vs. Institvte”

  1. Dr Defy says:

    Thank yov for this illvminating explanation!

  2. Lindsay says:

    In the didactic spirit of this posting, I’d like to point out that the artists’ names appear on the building’s frieze, not its architrave.

  3. Shoshannah says:

    That’s very interesting! Before the upper case U was introduced, would the “V” have been pronounced as “U”?

  4. CHIDRUPA BHATT says:

    i was not aware about this. i could find the difference from the photos shown here.

  5. Nadine Minnig says:

    I knew the spelling was meant to be the “V” but did not know the reason behind it. Interesting!