Note: PLOS issued the following press release on May 1, 2023. SAN FRANCISCO —The Public Library of Science (PLOS) is pleased to…
We’re excited to share a new logo and a new “look” for PLOS! The new visuals you’ll see are a reflection of a broader set of important changes happening here over the past few years. This post gives a little bit of context about the “why” behind this work (and for the design nerds more keenly interested in the background and some of our process… this is for you!)
So much has changed… but our “look” hadn’t.
Scientific communication has changed since PLOS’ original founding (transforming it has been our mission from the very beginning). Open Access is no longer a new idea. And while PLOS remains one of the original pioneers of OA in the global north, Open Access itself is increasingly mainstream. Yet, our look, feel, and color palette has been static for 7+years. And the PLOS “globe” logo had been essentially unchanged since our founding in 2003. (That’s a long time!)
Developing a “look” true to PLOS’ roots, while truly visually new, felt daunting at times. Could we develop a visual brand reflective of the trust our communities place in us that ALSO shows our energy and willingness to break boundaries along the way? Can we capture both our expertise AND daring? And could our “look” channel the passion and excitement we experience daily in our work with researchers all over the world?
We knew we wanted to maintain a connection between the old and new. This work hasn’t been about starting from scratch but about moving forward. Here’s a peek behind the scenes.
The design process
We were voracious in seeking out inspiration, resulting in many, many storyboards from our incredibly talented in-house designer (more about her later…). While we’d love to share all her research, here’s a snapshot of some of our favorite themes:
Vintage space posters: Beautiful on their own, these also call back to the original PLOS “globe”. Please click on that link to see a range of examples!
Bold use of color: Building on PLOS ONE’s new bold color palette (launched in 2018) our new approach to color gives us a daring and different, yet professional look.
Use of overlapping shapes: We’ve created interesting details by zooming in and out; layering colors and transparencies; and creating new, more complex shapes by overlapping simpler ones. This was inspired by our intersecting communities and the multiple ways we work with them!
And here’s our logo’s journey, with the final result!
We hope you like the final result as much as we do. Take a look around www.staging.plos.org and you’ll see our inspiration in action. Today’s launch is the beginning. Over the coming weeks and months, you’ll see all PLOS visuals and collateral evolve in line with this new direction!
We are incredibly lucky to have such creative talent within our team at PLOS — none of this process was outsourced to a design agency. The entire PLOS rebrand was researched and developed by our Senior Manager for Marketing Creative, Masami Overstreet. The website development, migration, and redesign incorporating the rebrand, was carried out by Ian Hamilton of ColorCrate. Thanks to them, and everyone else involved in this refresh. And, thank YOU for reading!
PLOS is a nonprofit, Open Access publisher empowering researchers to accelerate progress in science and medicine by leading a transformation in research communication. We’ve been breaking boundaries since our founding in 2001. PLOS journals propelled the movement for OA alternatives to subscription journals. We established the first multi-disciplinary publication inclusive of all excellent research regardless of novelty or impact, and demonstrated the importance of open data availability. As Open Science advances, we continue to experiment to provide more opportunities, choice, and context for readers and researchers.