Design touches everything. So why has it remained largely absent in the biotech and life science industry? Researchers and lab technicians that interact with machines, software, and test materials deserve great products and experiences in their daily tasks, just as in any other industry. Through our partnership with Fluidigm, a life sciences pioneer, fuseproject has been able to achieve just that; bringing inspiring design, interaction, and brand into the biotech lab.
Fluidigm is the first company to make single-cell testing commercially viable, enabling scientists to run genomics testing on low-concentration DNA samples and provide genetic test results in less than three hours. Their machines make genetic breakthroughs on a daily basis. From the founder, Gajus Worthington, to the discovery work done every day by scientists, risk-taking and innovation is embedded in the DNA of the organization, driving every element of the company’s culture and products. The goal was to reflect the brand’s unique personality and values – bold, risk-taking, innovative, and pioneering, and thrust both the organization and the partners they support into a new frontier.
Our guiding principal in designing for Fluidigm was a mantra and mission statement we devised – “to simplify the complex quest to understand and apply biology.” We then broke this down in order to make it more actionable: to make life sciences more accessible and fluid, while emphasizing that it is also a quest, and something to be pioneered. Most importantly, it’s an application; people are working with Fluidigm on all levels, utilizing their products and website, and need something concise and intuitive.
While most of the life sciences industry has yet to emphasize design, Fluidigm (in their nature) sought to pioneer it, leading to design that is bold, clean, concise, and organic. The logo design, company website, and their newest product, Juno, were a manifestation of these guiding principles.
Looking at the current life science market – we saw an abundance of basic and often under considered logos and names floating in a sea of blue tones. Rather than a static wordmark, we built the brand around the foundation of the company – a living, animated logo, reflective of the cell samples they test. We put a sharp and dynamic ‘F’ in the center, as Fluidigm is taking a strong leadership position in their industry, almost like a super-hero personified through its brand. To redefine the color standards of the industry, and match the personality of the company better, we chose gradient tones of magenta and purple –new distinct colors of science that are exemplary of the bold attitude and persona inherent to Fluidigm.
For the Juno user interface and user experience, we wanted to highlight the organic and intuitive elements that move seamlessly between the physical product and visual designs. We maintained a black background with bold color schemes, keeping with the gradient magentas and purples of the logo. When turned on, it seemingly comes to life, mirroring the dynamic nature of the Fluidigm logo. Juno then walks the user through the process, step by step, in a direct and informal tone, leading technicians intuitively through an otherwise intricate procedure.
The same design language and fluidity applies to the company’s new website, keeping a consistent flow between product and brand. Featuring commissioned artwork from Swiss artist Fabian Oefner, the website is now a platform for industry dialogue and news articles. We positioned Fluidigm as “simplifying the complex quest to understand and apply biology,” and we kept that in mind as we sought to simplify the user’s experience of their products.
Juno is a breakthrough platform for high-throughput DNA testing. The shape is sculptural and practical; a delicate balance between a futuristic piece of machinery and something more familiar. The aluminum enclosure is machined at high speed and the rough cuts visible and used as finished surfaces, which is a cost saving. The resultant ridges run along the exterior in a fluid, yet pronounced way, and resemble the miniature functional traces on the cell sample cartridge that enable single cell manipulations.
The product is split in two halves, the diagonal break allowing a better and faster access of the internals for regular checks and maintenance. The colors are dark grey and purple – grey like carbon, an organic and yet mechanical feeling element; a royal purple, like the brand identity, to stand out among the other life science machines. The screen is tilted upward at a slight angle to better support a standing lab technician, while the touch screen can disappear into the surrounding face to create more seamless integration.