Custom icons for brain research

Custom icons McGovern Institute
MITInfographicsInfographicsIconographyIndustryIndustryEducationProject teamProject teamCasey McGeeArt DirectorSkadi GidionsenSenior UX & Digital DirectorJulia FrenkleUX & Creative Director, Partner7custom icons

Custom icons for brain research

Our art director Casey designed a beautiful icon set for the MIT McGovern Insitute. The 7 icons had to be distinct from each other which was a challenge since all research is about the brain. In collaboration with the McGovern team, Casey was able to design stylized icons that communicated the 7 research areas accurately.

The icon design was part of the website redesign and was displayed on faculty profiles and the research area pages.

In addition to the icons, each research area page features a background video that relates to the research. An example is the genome engineering research. Together, icon and video, provide engaging graphics to communicate the topic visually.

The website design and logo design was also part of our work with the McGovern Institute.

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Icon design process

To communicate a topic clearly with a very small infographic, it is important to review reference images and abstract them to the essence of the graphic. For this icon set, all icons communicate an aspect of brain research. It was particularly challenging to make the icons unique. An image of a brain would have communicated all of the topics correctly to some extent but of course, then the icons would not be communicating the unique aspects of each research area.

We asked the McGovern team many questions to understand the unique focus of each research area. We explored different graphic representations until we arrived at the final icon set.

If I could summarize working with Opus with one word it would be synergy. From our initial conversation to the hectic pre-launch crush, the Opus team was professional, inventive and always collaborative. I particularly appreciated the project management expertise throughout the project. In summary, Opus delivered a beautiful website (on time and within budget) that we are immensely proud to share with the public.

Julie PryorCommunications Officer, MIT McGovern Institute for Brain Research