Established in 2013, Tweag is a software innovation lab that helps other tech companies quickly scale their engineering performance by offering Software Engineering, DevOps & Infrastructure, Statistics & Machine Learning, and Applied Research. To be honest, I’m not exactly sure what most of those things mean but here is a line that makes a little more sense, at least to me, “We apply mathematics, computer science and open source methodologies to advance software engineering”. Based in Paris, France, Tweag works with clients in the biotech, fintech, and autonomous vehicle industries with clients that include Google, Pfizer, and Target. Last month, Tweag introduced a new identity designed by Paris-based Brand Brothers.
The new Tweag visual identity is designed as a modular and combinatorial graphic system. Based on a bespoke character design, the Tweag logo is a raw and bold typogram that plays on curves as well as straight lines, filled areas and blanks. A simple but statutory visual marker, like a contemporary reinvention of tech imagery.
The old logo was some kind of DNA graphic, maybe? It was not a bad start but the execution made it look as if the file’s opacity had been set to 50% and you could barely see it; a feeling enhanced by the super thin wordmark. The new logo, on the other hand, is hard to miss, not just for its bold presence but for its funky, modular construction. The logo immediately conveys computer-y/science-y stuff as the letters have a bitmap structure but all the corners that touch are connected through a curvy, blobby bridge. I dig the resulting logo but that may be in part out of nostalgia for the first font I ever designed myself more than 20 years ago called “” so I have a soft spot for that vintage T-26 aesthetic. Personal design history aside, as a logo created in 2020, there is something definitely unique about this simply because it’s not a sans serif, a bold spiky serif, or even a script. To me it may seem like a rehashing of early fonts but to a younger generation not just of designers but regular people this might even seem novel. The one element I really dig is how they solved the “T”, by adding a notch at the top, because otherwise it would have stood out weirdly.
The visual system, derived entirely from the logo, is an infinite set of decomposable and recomposable elements that create a rich and easily identifiable visual grammar. It echoes the Tweag method and their way of conceiving software; the Tweag graphic language can be assembled, disassembled, and connected in every imaginable way.
The identity revolves around patterns constructed from the bits and pieces that make up the letter shapes. These are interesting and they work great in animation but when static, some of them start to create unpleasant visual illusions that make the patterns wobble. Using them in color is a good move to avoid having them all look like QR codes but the flip side is that maybe it’s simply too much color together and while some combinations look good (the middle animated one for example) others are too jarring (the top animated one). As with the logo, I can appreciate the visual impetus of the logo but I think it can also be too much.
The identity straddles between a stark black-and-white color palette and an all-the-colors color palette, which create two very different personalities and vibes. The business cards almost look like they are from a completely different company than the posters above. Perhaps sticking with a black-and-white PLUS one-color-that-can-change approach it would have created a more consistent extension from institutional materials to marketing materials. The applications themselves are enjoyable and well done, with a good condensed sans serif to complement both the patterns and the logo.
Perhaps I’m positively swayed by the idea of floppy disks as swag but the identity gives Tweag a sense of old-school computer proficiency — a la Halt and Catch Fire — that feels quite welcome when many other software companies go for the contemporary, happy, friendly, trendy tech look. If I hired Tweag I would expect at least one computer scientist there wearing a pocket protector and that’s a good thing.