Web design and branding
for a digital humanities project
Summary: The Bodmer Lab, a research project at the University of Geneva in Switzerland partnered with the Martin Bodmer Foundation to digitize and share an exceptional collection of written and printed documents. These documents, which were recently listed by UNESCO as part of its Memory of the World Registry, would not be publicly available otherwise. Our challenge was to create a visual identity and web presence for the Lab.
Universities and academic institutions are huge troves of knowledge. The faculty and researchers who drive them often work to make that knowledge available and usable not only to their professional peers, but also to the public.
The Bodmer Lab, a research project at the University of Geneva in Switzerland partnered with the Martin Bodmer Foundation and Museum to digitize and share an exceptional collection of written and printed documents. The collection’s rare books and manuscripts span eighty different cultures and reflect 3,000 years of human civilisation. Our challenge was to create a visual identity and web presence for the lab that would balance the classical nature of the content and the modern approach of this initiative.
We developed a minimalist graphic signature that identified The Bodmer Lab as a University of Geneva sub-brand. Then, we complemented it with a modern visual style (simple icons and geometric shapes), fit for a present-day, responsive web interface.
The combination of classic visuals in manuscripts and the contemporary, responsive web interface makes for a wonderful contrast. Add a passionate, unpretentious tone of voice and an obvious ease of use to that, and you will get a perfect demonstration of how a website can showcase the results of a humanities research project.
The Lab’s research topics include Faust’s legend, Early Modern English literature (including Shakespeare), Renaissance travel books, as well as a series of Oriental manuscripts. In each case, the digitised documents are made available to a team of experts for further research and publication. And they will progressively become available online, starting from 2018.
Everything we produce (data, metadata and research publications) will be freely accessible online. We are using formats and standards that will allow our data to be fully exchangeable and connectible, because we realise that projects like our own can and should become part of a worldwide interconnected library.