Why design matters

In the 20th Century the Modernists believed that good design was about usefulness, how well an object performed its function. For others, good design is more subjective, it’s about style and taste. I see it a little differently: I define design as the deliberate creation of value for an organisation. Good design fosters more dynamic and purposeful cultures within an organisation, stimulating higher visibility and delivering tangible bottom-line results.

Why design matters at EMBL

EMBL is a diverse community made up of many different types of people working in different areas, including: research, core facilities, services to scientists, training programmes and administration. One of EMBL’s key strengths is the way it brings together people from different fields and disciplines to build a diverse and vivid community all underpinned with something I’ve heard many times referred to as the “EMBL spirit”. For me, the EMBL spirit is key to how we should approach design at EMBL.

Design serves as a connector, and consistency is key: wherever you are in the world, on whatever channel you communicate with and connect to EMBL, it should feel like EMBL and you should get a hint of the EMBL spirit. EMBL’s excellence in research and services is outstanding, and our communications should communicate this at first glance. In the digital age, which offers so many touch points, a consistent design approach is more important than ever.

Differentiation is also important. Our visual positioning should serve to differentiate EMBL from other institutes and organisations that perform similar work. There is only one EMBL, and we are different. But how so? Back to the EMBL spirit.

Helping EMBL to achieve this consistency and differentiation is essentially what my work is about.

My role in design at EMBL

My role as Art Director at EMBL is all about developing the corporate and visual identity of the organisation, which feeds into the organisation’s broader communications strategy. Ultimately, I want this to lead to greater visibility for the organisation.
My responsibilities include:

  • overseeing the design and implementation of EMBL’s visual identity and house style; owning the organisation’s corporate design;
  • ensuring visual consistency across all of EMBL’s communication channels;
  • directing internal and external graphic designers, developing design concepts and briefs for illustrations in web and print, layout and photoshoots;
  • reviewing and approving designs, artwork, photography, and graphics developed by internal and external designers;
  • liaising with external suppliers and production agencies.

So there are there two aspects to my role that go hand-in-hand: design and production. I’m really looking forward to taking this work forwards with everyone at EMBL. There’s a lot to do together, and I’m relishing starting this great work which will be so much easier, thanks to the EMBL spirit.

Follow this blog to learn more about the visual framework of EMBL and how we aim to develop it.

Author: Tabea Rauscher

I'm EMBL's Design Team Lead, proudly team member of the Strategy and Communications team at the Headquarter in Heidelberg.

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