On taxonomy

Indulge me, if you will, with a lengthy zoological introduction. 

In the 1700s, the Swedish zoologist Carl Linnaeus devised a system for classifying all the organisms of the Earth. Each species received a unique name comprising two parts, following Latin grammatical construction.

The mice in the EMBL labs? Mus musculus (Latin for “muscular mouse”). The frogs? Xenopus laevis (meaning “strange foot not-heavy”). My personal favourite at EMBL: Ambystoma mexicanum (“Mexican blunt mouth”), the axolotl. Continue reading “On taxonomy”

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”

Our Design Principles

The design sprint that started a couple of weeks ago began with the team describing their visions, their ideas, and thoughts of what a new EMBL corporate design could look and feel like. Central to describing and understanding why something looks the way it does are our design principles.

Many organisations have design principles to guide their work. They are often described as ‘the star to sail your ship by’; a set of common beliefs and guidelines for a project, product, organisation, or initiative. Some of my favourites are documented here.

Here is our first draft of a set of principles that came out of the last two weeks working together. This is just the start. As per principle #2, we’re showing this as early as we can so we can get feedback and iterate.
Continue reading “Our Design Principles”

Draft social media guidelines

EMBL hasn’t really had any social media guidelines for users. As we build our community I’ve been drafting and redrafting advice and guidelines for our staff. These are now ready to start sharing and asking for comment. Do these make sense? Do they answer your questions? Are they too long/too short/too prescriptive? Now is the time to let me know and I invite feedback here and by email or by just stopping me when you next see me.
Continue reading “Draft social media guidelines”