Digital comms update: May 2018

We’re trying a new thing.

Every month, I will be letting you know what we’ve done during that month, and what we’re planning next. We’ll also send out an email – let me know if you want to be added to the list.

Why are we doing this? To keep you all up to date! It’s really important that you know what we’re doing and what we’re planning so that we can act on any opportunities. Continue reading “Digital comms update: May 2018”

Questioning the questions in the EMBL Design Lab

You know what it’s like being new in the job. Every time I start, I’m thinking about making my boss happy while completing tasks without angering the stakeholders (which also wouldn’t help with the former). You feel like plankton in a shark tank. You go with the flow, and you don’t even dream of controlling it one day. Continue reading “Questioning the questions in the EMBL Design Lab”

Joining the design sprint

I’ve spent my first month at EMBL settling in, meeting talented people, and working out how the various digital projects that StratComm has planned will fit together.

We have a whole host of digital objectives – revamping embl.org, improving the intranet, fixing Search, creating a unified theme for EMBL websites, making EMBL services easier to navigate, to name a few – and they overlap and interact in various ways.

A key part of building a clear digital identity for EMBL will be robust, consolidated branding.

This month I was lucky enough to spend time on a Design Sprint led by EMBL Art Director Tabea Rauscher. Tabea leads the design team here in Heidelberg, and works closely with EBI Senior Graphic Designer Spencer Phillips and Web Design Architect Ken Hawkins. Continue reading “Joining the design sprint”

Corporate design sprint 4

In previous Corporate Design sprints we defined fontcolours and logo positioning. In the fourth corporate design sprint (CDSprint 4), which kicked off last week, we want to explore the very first applications of these elements together to shape a consistent new look and feel across different products. We’ll be releasing prototypes for you to view in June.

Before launching ourselves into this work, we looked back at all the knowledge we had gained through the last sprints. Here is a list of some insights and thoughts from this process. Continue reading “Corporate design sprint 4”

Digital Release Phases

Delivering digital products used to be about working in a ‘waterfall’ way: first gathering requirements, then writing lengthy technical specifications, drawing Gant charts, estimating delays and expense and so on. Maybe something would get released at some point. Maybe it would be good. But often not. In my experience, this really boils down to one problem: waterfall assumes you know what you don’t know.

The digital landscape shifts quickly. Users engage with content in different ways on different devices. Their expectations of technology changes monthly. To deliver really great digital experiences, therefore, the process needs to map to that speed. It needs to accommodate change – from technology to design. That’s why, in the Strategy & Communications team at EMBL, we’ve been working on documenting digital delivery phases. Continue reading “Digital Release Phases”

On EMBL’s graphic design history

“Look back to move forwards” is a well-known saying. Thus, I recently turned to EMBL’s archivist, Anne-Flore Laloë, who helped me to search EMBL’s amazing archive to learn how EMBL has depicted itself through the years. Maybe knowing more about our first visual identity could help us better project ourselves today and into the future? It was an inspiring travel though time and provided useful hints for the next steps of EMBL’s new corporate design. Continue reading “On EMBL’s graphic design history”

Doing and enabling

In our communications for EMBL, we have traditionally highlighted what EMBL does: research, training, services and so on. As I have said before, what EMBL does in each of these areas is not unique in the life sciences. Efforts to describe what we do as unique will therefore rely on things that are difficult to substantiate such as, “EMBL strives for excellence” or “the EMBL spirit is unique”. I’m not saying that these things are not true, but they are not tangible and they are difficult to describe and justify. So what tangible thing or things might we use to differentiate and position EMBL? Continue reading “Doing and enabling”

EMBL’s top social media posts of 2017 and what we learned from them

I want to take a look back at my first full year as EMBL’s social media manager. So what worked best over 2017 and what can I learn from this?

What are we measuring? Why?

My basic goals for EMBL’s social media are to build community and develop a shared understanding of who we as an organisation are. Consequently, I care about what resonates on the different social sites much more than driving traffic back to EMBL websites, although traffic is obviously a by-product. Continue reading “EMBL’s top social media posts of 2017 and what we learned from them”