COR²E Facilities

A concept for a type-as-image approach to an identity suite for the Center for Open Research Resources and Equipment (COR²E) at the University of Connecticut.

COR²E is composed of 9 applied science research facilities and counting, from material sciences, to fabrication, imaging, and microbial analysis.

Each facility acts as both clerks and conductors of a suite of highly specialized equipment. Outside of basic administrative and academic commonalities, they are all unique in subject matter, input, output, and operations.

Initial Concepts

Several graphical systems were explored based on the idea of recombining and recomposing a particular shape, which would serve as a touchstone for the identity system. The intent was that the simplicity would be requisite compared to the large breadth of the task, and also allow for easy expansion over time.

Even when striving for modularity in execution, graphically-derived systems felt either too static for the task at hand, or too broad to remain cohesive.

Following topical research and interviews with facility admins, however, it became clear that a generalized, plug-and-play visual system would fail to effectively serve any single facility, and COR²E as a result.

A period of visual research and exploration culminated in the realization that instead of grasping at vapid, surface-level commonalities to inform a visual language, embracing the organization's diversity, now and in the future, would be the strongest approach. The sciences, methods, and tools that define each discipline were chosen to inform their own individual graphical systems and compose a rich, visually variable, but thematically cohesive whole.

A wordmark for the Mechanical / Glass: Design & Fabrication facility based on the approach described above.

Imaging output, graphs, and physical materiality central to each discipline were the most common entry points for visual exploration.

Advanced Light Microscopy

Being an imaging method, Advanced Light Microscopy provided a plethora of source material that begged to be manipulated.

Different materials yielded wildly different lettering. Pictured: privet leaf's cellular structure.

As to be expected, some manipulations readily yielded more effective results than others. We also had to remain conscious of using imagery and creating manipulations that were in keeping with the overall visual theme.

Microglia cells.
3D printed steel reflectance imaging.

We gravitated towards imaging methods and subjects that were more inherently representative of the discipline, and not the subject matter, where possible. As we moved forward, identifying that balance became one of the biggest challenges to executing our approach.

Flow Cytometry

Flow Cytometry's visual artifacts were the most welcoming venues for image genesis. We settled on imagery evocative of flow cytometry analysis graphs, which were both visually distinct, universal to the discipline, and inherently beautiful.

Stem Cell analysis for Mesenchymal and Hematopoietic stem cells from cord blood and other source material. Source: Ray Biotech

Ultimately, neither the time nor resources were available to complete such an ambitious undertaking. The project was sunsetted, and it became clear that the approach was too intense and far-reaching, and an umbrella identity that could easily hold each of its descendants would have been the strategically correct approach.