Design Burst // September 2018

“Show, don’t tell” has been one of our principles since the first sprint. So we’re going to share some of the 80 or so production requests that we handle every month. All of the visuals below were created in September 2018 based on design requests from various stakeholders from across EMBL. Continue reading “Design Burst // September 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”

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”

What we could have done better in Corporate Design Sprint 2

Here we are hanging out our dirty laundry. As “fail forward” is one of our drivers in the agile work method, learning from what we could have done better in the sprints is as crucial as the achievements of our goals.

So here are some useful lessons we have drawn from this last sprint.
Continue reading “What we could have done better in Corporate Design Sprint 2”

EMBL sub-brands

We are beginning to look at the thorny issue of EMBL’s sub-brands. Do we need them, and if so, how should we accommodate them in our design system?

A sub-brand is an entity in the brand map that refers to the umbrella brand but carries its own name and strategic positioning. It is distinct and has its own brand assets and standards.

EMBL’s most developed sub-brand is EMBL-EBI, but we have many others such as ELLS, the Science and Society programme, EMBLEM, and a plethora of (somewhat) connected or associated brands such as EMBL Australia, EMBO, Elixir. We also have a lot of disassociated brands, notably in EMBL-EBI’s online services such as Ensembl.

In this post I give you a peek into how we are approaching the issue of sub-brands. Let’s look at the case of the EMBL-EBI sub-brand.
Continue reading “EMBL sub-brands”

A design language system for EMBL

While working on EMBL’s brand strategy we realised that there is a need for a more systematic way to guide and leverage our collective efforts to build EMBL’s corporate design. So we chose to create a design language system that works across everything we produce, whether in print or digital, thus assuring a cohesive look and feel.

In cd-sprint1 we started to define the basis for a corporate design, which will feed into a sustainable and successful design language system.
Continue reading “A design language system for EMBL”

The EMBL Triangle Key: From brand structure to information architecture

Last week I wrote about how the EMBL Corporate Design Sprint distilled a brand map into a brand structure. Today I’m writing the second installation with a post on how we’re using those core principles as the base for our brand information architecture (hereafter: IA) and a unique tool: the EMBL Triangle Key.

Continue reading “The EMBL Triangle Key: From brand structure to information architecture”

Selecting a new typeface for EMBL: Fira

[This blog post was penned by the entire team that took part in the first Corporate Design sprint]

We have been using Helvetica Neue as EMBL’s official typeface for some time now. We wanted to test whether this is the best and most sustainable choice for the organisation moving forward. There are few fonts as iconic as the Helvetica family, but it also comes with baggage:
Continue reading “Selecting a new typeface for EMBL: Fira”