Matter Unlimited recently designed a new identity for data.org - a data-focused social impact organization launched by Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth and The Rockefeller Foundation. Distinctive and focused on the human-centered benefits of data science for social impact, the brand offers an accessible, dynamic and future-facing vision to match the organization's bold ambitions.
Originally launched in 2020, data.org envisions a world that uses the power of data science to tackle society's greatest challenges and improve lives across the globe. It serves as a platform for partnership to build the field of data science for social impact (DSSI), working with a diverse cross-section of funders and partners to make strategic investments unlocking the power of data science for social impact.
However, in rethinking its brand, Matter Unlimited avoided the usual design cues that dominate the category -- representing data as clinical and mathematical -- and instead embraced an aesthetic that feels more human and inviting while still being digital-first. This meant striking a balance between visuals that felt "organic" versus "designed" in the photography, graphics and even the wordmark itself.
"We needed to create a wordmark that told a story -- that had some tension and relief within it," explained Matter Unlimited Design Director, Frank William Miller, Jr. "We achieved this by working on this customized 'semi-serif' that was bold, angular and sharp, but also felt literary, weighted and legible. Harkening back to the creation of the Gutenberg Press and start of the printing revolution, we felt this thick, movable type-inspired font would be a cheeky reference to a seminal moment in history where knowledge was democratized and information and flowed more freely, not just in the hands of the powerful few."
Central to the new identity is also a series of wave-like dotted patterns, woven throughout the brand designs. These custom graphics, hinting at an endless rolling sea of information, proved to be the perfect expression of the brand's tech and human sides.
Also important was offering a color palette that radiated a sense of positivity, openness and excitement. "Often when people consider data as a concept, especially 'big data,' some darker, more ominous and anti-social applications of data come to mind first," Miller added. "We wanted to provide colors that did not feel heavy, dark, or shrouded in secrecy. Our focus was less on the cold, mathematical science of data and instead centered on the people this data is collected for."