Challenge: Develop an identity suited to a founder and leader in an emerging field of biosciences technology.
Metabolon has a 20-year history of innovation in metabolomics – a branch of -omics gaining international recognition. We needed to step into this moment with a clear identity in order to own the valuable scientific contributions of our past, propel our innovative spirit into the future, and embrace our role as a modern life science company.
The Metabolon rebranding effort involved 12-months of in-house brand research and creative strategy. It drew on cross-functional expertise within the organization to articulate the unique value of Precision Metabolomics™ in expanding and accelerating discoveries across life sciences research. This process culminated in an encompassing corporate vision to guide our rebrand: Metabolon endeavors to “enlighten life and enable a better, healthier world.”
Metabolomics is the analysis of thousands of chemical signals from genetic, environmental, and lifestyle sources. It provides both a wide-angle and high-resolution snapshot of health, disease progression, drug action, and other biological processes. In the expert hands at Metabolon, the data generated by metabolomics studies has immense value to scientific fields – genomics, proteomics, transcriptomics, etc. – and for applications in biopharma, population health, consumer products, agriculture, and more.
Because Metabolon’s technology and expertise is so widely applicable, it was a challenge to focus a unifying brand vision. To solve for this, we looked inward and adopted a minimalist philosophy infused with deep in-house knowledge of our science, technological capabilities, and customer base. The two questions we are asked most often, “what do you do?” and “how does it work?” provided the foundation of our visual identity:
We identify peaks
We look for change
We enlighten data with knowledge
“We needed our externally-facing look to showcase our passion and the scientific discoveries we enable every day. Our logo is the spark that communicates who we are.”
– Rohan Hastie, Ph.D., President and CEO, Metabolon
Primary Branding Elements
The new logo features a peak with a glow of light to evoke the company’s purpose: identify metabolite peaks, look for change, and enlighten data with knowledge. Instead of a traditional square grid, we used a triangular grid to further align the peak shapes used throughout the brand – the “M” in Metabolon was customized to mirror the Peakmark, for example.
We needed to balance our identity as a well-established company – with numerous patents and the most extensive knowledge-base in the industry – and as an innovative start-up with something to prove.
Finally, there was a clear need to be straightforward and pragmatic. We identified our challenges: our science is novel and sophisticated; we are a data-centric partnership-driven company without many physical products; and our name is often mispronounced.
Aware of this context, we focused on a bold wordmark that stands out in small sizes and in groups of logos, adopted a straightforward typographic approach using a widely-available typeface (Montserrat) with few bespoke modifications, and changed the wordmark from uppercase to title case to facilitate correct pronunciation.
Primary Logo & Tagline
Branded Products & Extensions
“We can’t let our brand live in the abstract. Scientists and researchers are not one-dimensional – they are people who want to be inspired. We know our science is revolutionary, now we have a brand that enables us to tell and build upon that story.”
– Glen Carlson, Design Director, Metabolon
Color is a major force of personality for the Metabolon brand, built to be a living system that encompasses the whole range of our communications from serious and technical, to expressive and emotional. We developed a dynamic spectrum of acceptable color ranges aligned with the context of our content and underpinned by a bold palette of keystone colors.
Our typography is, again, straightforward and pragmatic. We used readily available web-fonts (Montserrat and Source Sans Pro) to enable our scientists and sales team to propagate our brand with ease in their customer touchpoints.
Another key component of the brand experience is our data. The analytical, exploratory, and visualization tools we have developed are the main way we communicate our insights to clients. We created a clear, consistent UX/UI design system with the goal of establishing the “gold standard” of how metabolomic data is presented.
Color, Typography & Interface
Our design system is built to be expressive, cohesive, and contextually-driven. For example, a 2D illustration of a scientist is inappropriate when talking about serious issues like cancer; similarly, photos of metabolites don’t exist. We needed a deep, diverse toolkit to address the complex and varied applications and topics associated with metabolomics.
The unifying elements of our design system are triangular shapes. We created a semiotic language for triangle usage:
- Outline – insight & discovery
- Gradient – transformation
- Dots – precision & rigor
- Lines – process & standards
- Carats (“v’s”) – the unknown & noise
Our image style is based on a concept of “expressive realism.” We try to be as true-to-life as possible, while acknowledging that many of the subjects we represent are not directly observable. We are conceptually straightforward, with a stylistic focus on illumination, revelation, and discovery.
Pattern, Illustration & Imagery
Metabolon has also launched a reimagined website for clients to learn about our technology and how we can help advance life sciences and multi-omics research.
Metabolon’s brand redesign is an ongoing endeavor, encompassing all facets of communication, service/product design, and user experience. For more information or feedback, please contact Glen Carlson, Design Director, Metabolon.