MIT Press Direct

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press (MITP) is a leading publisher of books and journals at the intersection of science, technology, and the arts. Known for iconic design, rigorous scholarship, and creative technology, MITP publishes more than 200 new books a year and close to 40 journals.

As the first step in a multi-phase build and migration, MITP launched MIT Press Direct, which will host close to 3,000 books by the end of 2020, offering institutional subscribers DRM-free books with chapter-level access for unlimited simultaneous users.

MITP homepage and mobile

A key factor in the Press’s selection of Silverchair as a partner was the need for a flexible platform that can accommodate the diverse list that the MIT Press publishes, ranging from highly technical titles with LaTeX mathematical computations to heavily illustrated art and architecture volumes.

MITP already had a significant web presence, which meant that Silverchair needed to adapt to their established design systems while continuing to utilize Silverchair Platform layouts & content hosting spec to ensure continued compatibility and access to ongoing platform-level functionality upgrades. MITP’s design systems were thoroughly documented by MITP and their design partners Pentagram and Palantir, with many style guideline resources provided to Silverchair during discovery phases. Where some might see this as a potential source of friction, Silverchair’s designers were excited to work with such high quality designs and to incorporate the unique look into the existing Silverchair Platform layouts and tools.

MITP style guide
MITP came with their own thorough style guide.

The process of adapting the platform to this established style guide used a line of design thinking applied to all of our sites, Atomic Design. This involved styling existing Silverchair Platform components and variables such as icons, buttons, toolbars, typography, and colors. Once settled during the discovery phase of the project between both parties, we were able to carry these components throughout.

An example of a few components and variables changed across the Silverchair Platform UI.

The resulting MIT Press Direct site is a clean extension of the MITP brand that is consistent with their existing home and journal sites. MITP now has a fully-branded Silverchair Platform site in less than four months, with the full suite of Silverchair Platform tools to stand up more sites with more content in the near future. All of this while staying on-brand with a heavily documented style guide.

MIT Press Direct is an elegant, responsive, full-feature ebook site that advances the fields to which the Press has contributed over the last 50 years.”

—Terry Ehling, director of strategic initiatives at the MIT Press

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