Design guidelines

How EMBL presents itself visually to the public

Design Principles

In terms of the EMBL brand, some clear directions have been given by our senior scientists:

1. EMBL needs a strong, overarching brand
2. EMBL first
3. If necessary, sub entities such as sites or projects are expressed after the parent brand

In addition we adhere to some more visual principles:

  • Make the design sustainable
  • Keep it simple
  • Approach all designs holistically – we are one institute
  • Make sure that physical, digital, and environmental are in sync


We will create a long-term, sustainable system. Designed for efficiency, re-use, and scale. Sustainable systems are diverse and productive indefinitely. Being holistically focussed on how EMBL interacts with its audiences internal and external, means we create meaningful, sustainable experiences over the longer term.

Keep it simple

We will do the difficult work to keep the things we make simple, approachable, and put the user’s needs first. EMBL is complex. As are the audiences, services, applications, and communications material that operate within the brand. We will do the hard work to uncover and expose the simplicity of the core.

We are all one institute

We will cultivate cross-pollination of services, products, ideas, and collaboration. We will proactively seek out opportunities to collaborate on the design of services across all channels throughout EMBL and invite feedback and new perspectives. We will share and discuss our methods.

Physical, digital, and environmental are in sync

We will ensure a holistic approach for one system for all printed, digital and environmental touch-points. Design systems across media evolve at different rates. We will ensure systems across all channels are relevant to the media, but also share nomenclature, design patterns, and are built from the same principles. We will think and act as a cross-disciplinary design team.