Keeping in line with our belief that an awareness of the small things can make a huge impact, the last few weeks post-launch have been focused on refining small design details that make a big difference when it comes to identity development and branding.
The bulk of these efforts were invested in designing the perfect dual business card/hang tag with graphic elements that would tie our products to their technical process as well as the larger message they are meant to communicate. Some research into how microscope slides were first created provided a great lesson in the history of science and insights into the role of artistic sensibility in the lab and beyond.
While the rich history of physical optics and art (read more about this in an upcoming blog post!) dates back to ancient Egypt, the first microscope is said to have been created in 1590 by a father and son named Hans and Zacharias Janssen from the Netherlands. Over the next 250 years, the power to see a world that was previously invisible to the naked eye spread throughout Europe as a means to further scientific and educational advancements. Basic slides were made of glass or wood and often covered with paper to keep the cover slip in place.
By the Victorian Era, the rise of a middle class and societal interest in the natural world led to the creation, collection, and use of microscope slides for entertainment purposes. It was not a rarity for a home to have a “cabinet of curiosities” in which natural objects were often displayed and stored. “Mounters” or “preparers” (the people who would create slides) found a new business in providing slides to the public. Innovations in slide preparation resulted in a move away from the earlier slides that were simple and practical. In turn, individual preparers developed creative ways to brand their slides by using decorative paper covers, colors, and personalized handwritten labels (see image above).
Our business cards and tags (see image below) were inspired by this concept that the act of slide preparation and observation shifted in focus from mediating scientific discovery to acting as an artistic tool. Typography is modern, yet the entire card is letter pressed to subtly acknowledge the history that inspired the design. Our current “specimen” is our microscope logo. The lanky card shares the same proportions with an actual slide—a bit larger than the standard 1” x 3”. The top and bottom “labels” give you our basic information, in hopes that those who purchase our products as gifts (it is just about that season...) will urge family and friends to visit our website and continue to learn more about their patterns.
It is in between science and art that education happens. Keep learning fun, follow our blog, and share your own "beautiful thoughts"!
For more information, check out the following links:
Max Planck Institute for the History of Science: http://www.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/en/news/features/feature2
"Cabinet of Curiosities": http://www.victorianmicroscopeslides.com
"Historical Makers of Microscopes and Microscope Slides":
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