VIB (Vlaams Instituut voor Biotechnologie or Flemish Institute for Biotechnology) is a research institute founded in 1995. It is a non-for-profit institution that works in collaboration with the five big Flemish Universities – Ghent University, KU Leuven, University of Antwerp, Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Hasselt University. VIB provides a framework for researchers working in life sciences, where they can do their work, but also puts the results of the research into application and proper use by making it useful to the public. Their research is focused on biotechnology and molecular mechanisms. In its 20 years of existence, VIB has attracted scientists from all around the world and has been an important pillar in research in Flanders. Besides research, VIB also aims to inform people about life sciences and provide information about life sciences to the general public. The institution is made up of departments and core facilities within the same institution.
The logo that VIB had started out with 20 years ago was no longer the best representation of VIB and lacked a modern feel. Most importantly, over time, different VIB divisions had developed their own logos and these sometimes were so different from the VIB logo that they were not recognisable as being a part of VIB. The institution lacked a corporate identity that would encompass all the different divisions that make up VIB and make it recognisable as one entity working together for the betterment of life sciences. In other words, VIB needed a new corporate identity with a strong visual identity that would be easily recognisable and meaningful to all the stakeholders. That is when Vintage Productions and VIB started working together to create a new identity, which was unveiled at VIB’s 20th anniversary celebration.
Following the name – game – claim – fame model (based on the concept described by Guillaume Van der Stighelen in his book, ‘Hero Brand’), we reviewed VIB’s current corporate identity and adapted it. We did desk research and performed surveys in order to understand where the institution stood.
Science meets life
VIB already has a good name that is easily recognisable and easily pronounced in different languages. It sounds good and is memorable. We needed a claim, though, that would really embody what VIB does. VIB is all about life sciences and research and we wanted a tagline that would easily explain that. But VIB is so much more than that: it also develops new technologies, it markets new discoveries via spin-off companies and it provides information to the general public. These activities were captured in a series of headlines:
“Science meets science”
“Science meets technology”
“Science meets business”
“Science meets people”
Based on these headlines, the new VIB tagline was created:
“Science meets life”
A logo is not something you change easily as, in most cases, it really represents the brand and is a point of recognition. However, in VIB’s case many different logos had been created over the years and as a consequence VIB’s identity got lost along the way. People no longer linked the logo to VIB as a company.
VIB needed a new visual element that embodied its new identity. At the same time, the research departments and core facilities also needed a logo, which would still be recognisable and make clear that these departments are part of the VIB family. The logo obviously needed to have a modern look and consist of strong colours.
We knew how important the old logo was to VIB, having been with it for 20 years. Thus we based the new logo on the old one while giving it a more modern look and feel. We created a logo that would be expandable enough so that each division could have his own version. We kept the idea of the human body in the old logo but used stronger colours and different shapes. The concept was based on the tangram principle (tangrams are Chinese geometrical puzzles than can be used to create different shapes). As in a tangram, the different shapes of the VIB logo can be used to create logos for various divisions of the institution. Please have a look at the animation above, which shows how the new logo was developed.
The 2nd version of the logo for the research departments is based on Rodin’s “Le penseur” (the thinker) as a representation of research. The 3rd version, for the core facilities, represents the service sector.
Each of the logos is recognisable as being part of VIB. They share the same colours and shapes but arranged in a different manner and with their respective taglines. This is how we envisioned the flexibility and expandability of the logo and of the tagline so that each division can have its own identity while keeping a sense of the VIB community and while being easily recognisable as being part of VIB. The logo also offers the possibility to have sub brands such as the alumni section or the conference series, for example.
Now that the corporate identity has been created, it has to be implemented and that is the next step for VIB and Vintage Productions. At VIB’s 20th anniversary (October 5th), the new logo and corporate identity were unveiled and in the coming months it will be implemented in brochures, posters and VIB’s website amongst other tools.
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