Communications Toolkit

Overview

Hi, we’re the AeroAstro communications team! We are here to tell AeroAstro’s story, support the community, and protect the brand. Our responsibilities include: maintaining the AeroAstro website; writing and amplifying the department’s news and research; handling press outreach and media relations; managing content on the department’s digital and physical displays; approving and ordering swag and other branded merchandise; working with the MIT Technology Licensing Office and Office of Communications on use of name, brand identity, and IP issues; coordinating with AeroAstro’s leadership and community on internal communications; and acting as a general resource for advice, strategy, best practices, and consulting on all aspects of communications for the AeroAstro community.

Below you’ll find details and resources on all this and more. Please reach out to us any time with your news, questions, and ideas: aa-communications@mit.edu.

The Team:

Janine Liberty

Communications Manager
jliberty@mit.edu

Rachel Ornitz

Communications Coordinator
rornitz@mit.edu

Quick Links

Summary of Communications Channels

Channels & Services

Events

Event advertising is self-service. Individuals and groups are responsible for advertising their own events, but the communications office is available to consult on available channels and processes. AeroAstro provides the following tools and channels for members of the community to use at their discretion to advertise their events.

Send an Email to the Department

Take a look at the email lists in the section below and identify your appropriate audience. For events that are not restricted to AeroAstro-only, use the aa-events email list. It includes all members of AeroAstro, as well as first-year undergraduate students, and people outside of AeroAstro who have requested to receive notifications about AA events. Non-members of AeroAstro can opt-in to receive emails from this list.

For events that are restricted to AeroAstro-only but are open to the whole department, use aa-all. Depending on your audience, you can choose which email list is appropriate for your message.

To prevent excessive email volume, we recommend limiting direct email advertising to three messages or less per event.


Digital Signage

Digital signage screens are posted around the Department and are used for general announcements and event advertising. The screens rotate through a playlist of slides that change every 10-15 seconds. All are welcome to submit content to post for digital signage.

AeroAstro Screen Locations

  • Building 31, West Lobby
  • Building 33, Second Floor
  • Building 37, Third Floor East
  • Building 37, Third Floor West

Other screens are available throughout MIT’s Infinite Corridor (managed by MIT Copytech) and in the School of Engineering hallway.

Submission Process

Design Standards

Digital signage templates with AeroAstro branding are available for download and use by all members of our department. Use the “Templates, Fonts, and Logos” section to access the files.

Original designs:
Review MIT’s Graphic Identity Standards and CopyTech’s full list guidance for formatting digital signage. We recommend using AeroAstro-branded templates, but you may use your own design if you wish. We just ask that whatever you submit is clean and legible to reflect well on the AeroAstro brand.

Create your file in a 16:9 (widescreen) format. Since flyers only show on screen for 10-15 seconds at a time, we recommend focusing only on relevant information only so your message can be conveyed quickly. Keep your designs simple with the largest possible font for maximum effect. Use a QR code or shortened URL to link to more information.

Your event flyer might include the following information:

  • Event Name
  • Event Date
  • Event Location
  • Speaker Name | Role | Institution
  • Presentation Title (If applicable)
  • 1-2 sentence summary.
  • Food provided? Yes or no.
  • Event Contact Email
  • Link to more information (for example, QR code or shortened URL to calendar entry)
  • 1-2 images
Name, Save, and Submit File

Files should be submitted in a PNG or JPG format. Keep your working design files for your records. Please save your file with the following naming convention to assist us with maintaining the content.

ContactName-EventName-EventMonthEventYear
Example: JamesKirk-EnterpriseSeminar-April2265.png

Submit your digital signage for an event through the event submission form. For all other digital signage, including advertisements for classes and seminars, email your file to aa-communications@mit.edu.


Department Email Lists

View all email lists

Note: All members of the AeroAstro community are added to the email lists that apply to them as soon as they join the department. If you are non-AeroAstro and would like to be notified of future events, join the aa-events mailing list.

Our department email lists are used to disseminate information that is critical to AeroAstro operations (administrative, research, and academic.) Lists are designed to facilitate the timely and cost-effective distribution of information to the community. Email reaches all faculty, administration and staff, and students as noted below. Appropriate uses for the department email lists include emergency notices, announcements, event advertisements, etc.

Please note: These lists are not intended to be used for informal communications. Use the AeroAstro Slack space at any time, or create your own list! Mailman and Moira are tools that are available for everyone at MIT to create lists of emails for their own purposes.

Lists are moderated by:

  • Undergrad list: Academic Program Administrator
  • Grad list: Graduate Program Administrator
  • All other Department lists: Communications Manager

The content of the message must apply to the majority of recipients and fulfill the purpose of these email lists. If your request is not designed for the majority of recipients on the designated list, your request will likely be discarded.
 
Messages sent outside of business hours (9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday) will be moderated by the following business day at the latest.
 
The lists are organized by role within the department via readily-accessible pools of data via our internal systems and are limited according to the information disseminated through them. For example, graduate students from other departments who work in AeroAstro labs are unable to be added to the aa-grad list because the content distributed is specific to the AeroAstro program, and graduate student requirements may vary from department to department. We welcome non-AeroAstro students to opt-in to our communications by registering for our aa-events email list.


Media Relations

If you receive a request from a reporter, the Communications Team can help provide guidance on how you on how best to work with the news media. As a general rule, you do not respond immediately to a reporter’s questions. Unless you have already taken multiple calls on a topic and know your talking points, forward request to Communications Team, who can:

  • Determine (in consultation with other communications colleagues where helpful) whether or not to advise you to move forward with an interview, and notify you of the analysis/recommendation
  • Help direct the reporter to the right person(s) within the program
  • Gather information about the request and give you time to prepare your answers or decide not to participate
  • Respond to the reporter, either indicating that you’re unavailable or greenlighting the interview
  • Handle logistics (approvals from News Office/TLO, parking, location agreement, etc.) when a crew comes to campus

For filming: a location agreement must be signed and returned to the MIT News Office prior to the film crew’s arrival. MIT requires approvals from the following departments for filming on campus:

  • Non-commercial filming: MIT News Office media relations team
  • External entities/organizations: Peter Bebergal in the MIT Technology Licensing Office (TLO)

Monthly Roundup Email

The Monthly Roundup is an internal email newsletter that aims to inform the community what their colleagues are up to. The email is typically sent every month with the exception of January (IAP) and July & August (summer break). Send us your news at aa-communications@mit.edu to be featured in the Roundup!

View past issues of the Monthly Roundup

2023February, March, April, May, June, September, October, November, December
2022February, March, April, May, June, September, October, November, December
2021February, March, April, May, June, September, October, November, December
2020January, February, April, May, June, August, September, October, November, December
2019October, November, December

Research

Have you had a research paper accepted to a peer-reviewed journal? 
The MIT News office strongly prefers to publish articles on the same day that a paper is published, so we need advance notice of the publication date to make this happen! When you have a paper accepted, email aa-communications@mit.edu with the details so we can work with you to share your research.

All other research
Are you presenting at an upcoming conference? Has your paper or poster won an award or other honor? Fill out the research form to give us the info we need to share your research on our website, hallway screens, social media, and newsletters.


Storytelling

We also tell AeroAstro stories that are not strictly related to research. Student and faculty profiles, outreach and engagement initiatives, student groups, community building, government and industry partnerships, and more are all opportunities to tell the world about AeroAstro. Email us at aa-communications@mit.edu so we can discuss how to share your story.

Summary of communications channels:


Templates, Fonts, and Logos

Consistent templates, logos, and fonts help keep the AeroAstro graphic identity consistent and visually recognizable across campus and beyond. Each template can be downloaded in a PowerPoint format or accessed via Canva.

Digital Signage

Dark Blue:

Green:

Orange:

Purple:

Light Blue:

Fonts

Download Roboto and Barlow Condensed via Google Fonts.

Logos

Access AeroAstro logos as .png files here. For other logo file formats, email aa-communications@mit.edu.

Letterhead

AeroAstro letterhead (Microsoft Word)

Presentations


Websites

The AeroAstro website is the central website for the entire department, managed by the communications team. Lab websites are managed by individual labs or groups, and can be connected to the main AeroAstro website or hosted on a web platform of your choosing.

Building an MIT-affiliated website

MIT Communications Initiatives offers support in several aspects of the web development process, including discovery, content strategy, and connecting with creative partners. They can assist you in displaying MIT branding and ensuring your site meets MIT’s accessibility standards.

An AeroAstro affiliated website must display the AeroAstro Logo, MIT Logo, and a link to MIT accessibility standards with a copyright display at the bottom of the page.

AeroAstro Lab Website Templates

AeroAstro Communications has a template available for use by any AeroAstro lab or group that would like to build a web presence connected directly to the AeroAstro website. Reach out to aa-communications@mit.edu for information or help setting up your pages.

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Other Resources

MIT settled a lawsuit brought by the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) and several deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals alleging that MIT was violating two federal laws by failing to accurately caption all of the audio and video content posted publicly online by anyone associated with MIT. As part of the settlement, MIT has committed to provide captioning for the following content:

  • Content created or developed by faculty or staff as part of their MIT work that is posted on MIT’s public webpages (within MIT.edu domain) or public third-party platforms (e.g. YouTube, Vimeo, etc.)
  • Content created or developed by a Sponsored Student Group as part of the group’s organizational mission that is posted to MIT’s public webpages or on public third-party platforms.
  • Events that are live-streamed publicly by Institute Events. 

The MIT/NAD settlement establishes certain deadlines for MIT to meet different aspects of this captioning commitment:

  • New content must be captioned upon posting.
  • Recordings of live-streamed events must be captioned as soon as practicable, but no later than seven business days after posting.
  • All public MIT.edu webpages and channels managed by faculty or staff must contain links to a new central accessibility page (https://accessibility.mit.edu/).

Learn more about the MIT-NAD agreement.

MIT’s name and marks may be used only in connection with activities that meet high standards and are consistent with the Institute’s educational, research, and related purposes.

  • In order to conform to MIT’s non-profit mission, the Institute’s name must not be used in ways that suggest or imply the endorsement of other organizations, their products, or their services. When a faculty or staff member is involved in activities not directly associated with MIT (e.g., independent consulting, other business activities, publications, etc.), use of MIT’s name and marks is limited to identification of the individual by his or her affiliation.
  • When an MIT group is sponsoring an activity, requests for use of name should refer to the specific name of the school, department, lab, center, or program involved with the outside program rather than to MIT or to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a whole.
  • Intellectual property: When Intellectual Property is developed by MIT faculty, students, staff, visitors, or others participating in MIT programs using significant MIT funds or facilities, MIT will own the Intellectual Property. (MIT Policies: 13.1.2: Significant Use of MIT-Administered Resources).
  • We are all responsible for preventing misuse of the Institute’s name and mark and for using MIT’s name and mark correctly ourselves, Our logo is a graphic element, not text, and should not be used in place of the letters “MIT” in text. MIT allows branding internal departments/groups in conjunction with MIT brand.
    • Keep original proportions — do not redraw logo/create your own variation.
    • Don’t use three or more colors — do use two colors (not black/white or red/white for legibility)
  • MIT Technology Licensing Office (TLO) and MIT Communications Initiatives (CI) work together to review and approve designs for MIT-branded merchandise.

Helpful Links

Technology Licensing Office (TLO): Using MIT’s Name
MIT Branding
MIT News: Filming Guidelines
MIT Policies: Intellectual Property
MIT Generative AI Policy