Culinary Institute Preps New Identity

Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv has redesigned the logo for the Culinary Institute of America, arguably the world’s premier institution of higher education dedicated to food. From its post-WWII origins as a technical school for training returning US veterans as cooks, today the C.I.A. boasts a multitude of undergraduate and graduate degrees in cooking, hospitality, food science, business, and the liberal arts. Alumni include Anthony Bourdain, Geoffrey Zakarian, Maneet Chauhan, Michael Symons, Anne Burrell, and more.

The updated identity is intended to support the CIA’s expanded mission to promote food’s relationship to culture, economic quality, health and the environment. As President Dr. Tim Ryan explains it, the overarching strategic imperative has been to elevate the school’s reputation as a leading university for food, and to nurture the traditions and loyalties of a liberal arts university. Thus, a key to the redesign was to replace a previous identity that was considered unwieldy and otherwise off message.

The new symbol by Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv grows out of the historic identity and its core concept of a sheaf of wheat – a centuries-old representation of food in many cultures. To this foundation, the new image adds allusions to the light of knowledge, an open book, and other appropriate associations to culinary and hospitality traditions. Combined with a slab serif wordmark and rendered in Fire Orange and Sage Green, the identity seeks to balance seriousness and vibrancy to represent this dynamic institution. The independent symbol can now be separated from the long name in the modular configurations needed for the C.I.A.’s many applications – from uniforms to flags, from cakes to diplomas.