23andMe is a company with a unique mission. The startup, founded in 2006, aims to popularize genetic testing. It uses a mail-in kit to collect samples that may then be analyzed to reveal genetic characteristics and possible predispositions to a variety of health conditions.
Getting your DNA sequenced by 23andMe is an exciting process for fans of medical science. The DNA processing used by the company was out of reach of normal people until very recently. In addition, it used to be prohibitively expensive for most people. Customers of 23andMe, therefore, tend to be very passionate early adopters who have supported the company from its early days.
The 23andMe logo design evokes warm feelings and exudes friendliness. For a company working with user’s personal medical data, this is very important.
The company’s customers trust it to handle and safeguard DNA data. In the wrong hands, this data could be potentially damaging.
For instance, medical predispositions and illnesses could be revealed. It is, therefore, necessary for the company to present a safe, reassuring image. Let’s look at the individual aspects of this brand to see how it’s done.
A design detail that stands out about the 23andMe logo is its ultra-minimalist shape. A crisscrossing pair of colored lines, this is an unusual logo approach.
The company uses this simple shape to call attention to the subject matter of its work: DNA and chromosomes.
It is fitting that the company uses the shape of human chromosomes in its logo because it is a company that genuinely cares deeply about the research. According to an account of its institutional history, 23andMe invests significant effort in DNA research activities. 23andMe has published well in excess of 90 scientific studies in academic journals. Its data collection activities are massive, based upon the customers who opt-in to have their data used for research.
All this serves to advance the scientific knowledge base from which the entire medical profession can learn.
DNA research of this sort could lead to scientific breakthroughs in how diseases are diagnosed and treated. Already, 23andMe’s work has led to genetic breakthroughs in breast cancer research, asthma research, and other branches of medicine.
The choice of shape in the company’s logo, therefore, reflects a deeply research-oriented company. In addition, the two chromosome-like lines are a nod to other medical geeks who care just as passionately about the subject matter.
The logo is a celebration of a culture that’s more scientific than anything else, almost as if the process of being a business comes second to the fact of doing DNA research.
Rather than go with a more corporate-looking shape to satisfy the adults in the room, the lab scientists at 23andMe would rather dispense with the formalities and get right into the science.
For its audience of lovers of science, however, this logo is comforting and quite natural. The familiar shapes of chromosomes and DNA strands are what excites them.
The choice of color in the 23andMe logo shows careful thought and commitment to the medical theme represented in the shape. A green line drops in from the top, intersecting with a red one from the bottom.
Red is commonly associated with blood. In medical research, a lot of tests have to do with blood. Blood, therefore, holds many secrets not only to a person’s medical condition but also to their DNA blueprints.
Other medical organizations frequently use red on their insignia, including ambulances, the Red Cross, and others.
In the same manner that red denotes the medical functions of DNA sequencing, green is a color with associations of life. A flash of green represents the grass or other vegetation that gives a sign of life in a landscape.
The green color, therefore, balances the red in a reassuring way. The combination of the two colors communicates 23andMe’s commitment to enhancing its customers’ lives through medical knowledge.
Apart from its use of shape and color, the 23andMe logo also uses low-key typography in a creative manner. The company’s logo contains the company’s name on the right side of the chromosome shapes.
The lettering “23andMe” reads out the company name but also calls attention to the chromosome pair on the left of it. Taken together, the entire picture references the twenty-three chromosome pairs from which the company takes its name.
According to 23andMe’s account of its history, the name “refers to the fact that human DNA is organized into 23 pairs of chromosomes. 23andMe connects individuals to their unique, paired set of 23 chromosomes.”
While the logo looks very simple, it manages to tie in references to the company’s identity, name, and work in one coherent design.
23andMe defines its mission as being to “help people access, understand and benefit from the human genome.” The simple design of a logo with two broad line representing chromosomes meshes with the mission.
The logo takes a concept that is complex, that of chromosomes, and presents them in two easy shapes. This mirrors the process by which the company does very complex genome sequencing behind the scenes. It then does the hard work of interpreting the results. In return, the customer gets back a report that summarizes and simplifies the interpretation.
Given the highly technical nature of the work the company does, its designers could have come up with a more labyrinthine design. Such a logo would doubtless have done a good at portraying the complexity of the company’s work on the genome. However, the design they came up with takes a different approach.
By eschewing the complex, the company presents its customers with the promise that they will not have to bother with the technical details. Rather, 23andMe’s genome sequencing results will be easy to read and easy to understand.
This logo design approach is a consistent first step towards living the company’s mission. 23andMe customers, without having to go to medical school or consulting encyclopedias, can use the company’s services to understand their own DNA better.