Established in 2018, the International Science Council is a global, non-governmental organization representative of both the natural and social sciences. The result of a merger between the International Council for Science (est. 1952) and the International Social Science Council (est. 1931) the new organization brings together 40 international scientific unions and associations and over 140 national and regional scientific organizations with the vision to advance science as a global public good and the mission to act as the global voice for science. At its inaugural General Assembly in Paris, France, the International Science Council introduced a new identity designed by London, UK-based Paul Belford Ltd for AMV.BBDO.
The brief was to create an identity that would help to establish the ISC as a definitive single advocate for science, speaking in one voice for many countries and scientific disciplines.
The logo, developed by Paul Belford Ltd, contains a distinctive graphic symbol with many layers of meaning. It can be interpreted as a circle, representing the global nature of the organisation; as a speaker, communicating on behalf of all the scientific disciplines; and as a collection of people coming together to form a council.
The supporting wordmark, meanwhile, is drawn from the Untitled Sans family - a neutral, modern and international sans serif font with glyphs available for all languages. The core palette consists of nine colours, plus black and white, as well as a metallic and a selection of tints.
Neither of the old logos was much of a looker nor conveyed a sense of being an international authority in science and both looking fairly amateurish in their execution. The new logo looks like it’s been pulled out of the 1960s — in a good way — with an abstract icon that I keep picturing as the holes in a rotary phone handset and that looks as if it came from one of those vintage logo books that then everybody claims the Airbnb logo was stolen from. But I digress. The icon does have a certain science-y vibe and its geometry is quite pleasing for any nerd of alignment and order. It could probably be argued that the icon is TOO abstract and its concept applicable to any number of organizations, science or otherwise (and that’s why we have a comments section… to argue about it.) The wordmark is typeset in Klim Type Foundry’s Untitled Sans, which has a strong Helvetica/Akzidenz Grotesk/Univers aesthetic that further makes this logo look like an organization that came from another, simpler era. It certainly presents a neutral position, presenting the organization as a safe, common ground for its members.
Not much in terms of applications but if most things look like that banner, then yes, this is headed in the right direction and is fairly satisfying in a design textbook kind of way. However, I do wonder if this feels too much like it came from a time from before we put a man on the moon instead of a time when we are trying to put one on Mars and, in the face of overwhelming odds, maybe they could have scienced the shit out of this identity.
Thanks to Viktor Lanneld for the tip.