Mucho designs Meccano-inspired identity for Ostro

Using a graphic system “that feels like child’s play”, Mucho wanted to create an identity that cut through the “complex jargon” in the US healthcare space.

Mucho has rebranded life science software company Ostro with a new name and Meccano-inspired graphic symbol that aims to simplify the patient healthcare journey.

Ostro, formerly called RxDefine, works with medical professionals to help patients better navigate healthcare in the US and give them access to the right treatment and medicines.

Ostro’s CEO reached out to coffee brand Brewbird – one of Mucho’s previous clients – for design agency recommendations, which is how Mucho came to be involved, according to the studio’s managing director Francesca Duncan.

The first step to simplifying the system was devising the new name, working with California-based naming and writing studio A Hundred Monkeys.

Together they found that a lot of the client’s favourite names in the health tech space fit into the “empty vessel” category, says A Hundred Monkeys creative director Eli Altman. He explains that empty vessel names are defined as “names without obvious definitions for most people”.

The two studios landed on the name Ostro – which is the Italian name for ‘a wind in the Mediterranean coming from the south’. The name was chosen for its reference to navigation, which links to the company’s purpose, as well as the fact that it starts and ends with O’s and has a central T, “making it very symmetrical”, Altman explains. Mucho then demonstrated how the O’s could become part of the visual language.

Because the healthcare space in the US is often filled with “complex jargon”, Duncan says Mucho sought to design a brand system that patients could understand with ease. The studio drew inspiration from the children’s construction kit Meccano to create a versatile graphic device that brings “the concept of connections and links to life”, she adds.

Ostro’s new logo is built on “a modular, Meccano-like lozenge”, which informs wider brand graphics, says Duncan. “The connection points represent all the connection points that Ostro provides within the healthcare navigation journey”, she explains.

The brand colour palette is also based on Meccano, with overlapping elements that create new colours. Aiming to translate the Meccano motif into iconography, Duncan describes how it is applied in “its most reduced form” to work at smaller sizes, with simplified “flat colours and proportions”.

Mucho opted for Neue Haus Grotesk, which was originally based on Helvetica, for the Ostro logotype. This typeface has always “had a place in the healthcare industry as well as navigational signage”, according to Duncan.

She says that the most challenging aspect of the project was creating simple brand and visual system in a confusing space. Duncan adds that the result “is not something people are expecting to see”, which she believes will help Ostro stand out among competitors.

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