Natural idea from TKO

The world of scientific research, semiconductor processing and diagnostic imaging does not readily suggest myriad stunning design opportunities. But design group TKO rose to the challenge of injecting creative dynamism into Oxford Instruments’ INCA range of computer processors and electronic lab equipment, for use in these very fields.

The brief was to create a brand identity and product design language that could be applied across a range of computer analysis products. TKO principal Andy Davey says: ‘The main objective was to establish a distinct and flexible design blueprint, together with implementation guidelines, to maintain a strong, consistent image for products, their market positioning and brand development in the future.’

Davey felt the design should also provide visual cues linked to new software, so equipment suppliers and end users would recognise the homogeneity of the system.

TKO’s new identity uses three key elements. The first is a strong linear motif, based on the simple magnification of a leaf structure, which reflects the relationship between analytical research and the biological environment. This is moulded, etched or milled into a product surface, and remains graphically flexible so it can be applied to other products.

Davey explains: ‘While we were researching the project we got the chance to view amazing data through microscopes. One was a leaf structure, which seemed to reflect some man-made environments. For instance, if you look at a map from a great height it seems to have parallels with nature.’

The second element concerns the use of a dark sapphire blue base which has strong visual impact and resonance, while retaining a professional and serious feel.

And finally, the use of a polished stainless steel badge for the Oxford name conveys the high quality brand values of the product. Individual product names are screen-printed to denote a secondary position in the brand hierarchy. While Davey headed the TKO team on the project, he was assisted by his partner Ann Gardener and senior designer Rochelle Smith.

Oxford Instruments’ INCA range will be launched at the industry’s trade show Semaine de l’Ectronique et de la Physique, in Paris on 17 September.

Design: TKO

Client: Oxford Instruments

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