Visual identity, typeface for the museum of the discovery and future of bacteria
Microbes are omnipresent at any moment. Over millions of years, we co-evolved to make the best of our relationship. Every human has their own unique microbiome, made up of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other organisms. Some of them harm us, but with whom we have learned to live, while some are friendly. To design an identity system for a museum about bacteria, I started to understand how bacteria behave. Two exciting characteristics of bacteria that I found are how they reproduce and communicate. The division of bacterias inspired the forms of the custom typeface. The ink-traps represents a part in bacteria called “receptor,” which allows them to receive messages from other bacteria. Each bacterium knows two different languages; one is universal, the other is for its kind, so each of them has two different receptors, which is represented by the two different forms of ink-traps on the typeface. The flexible forms of the identity system have also been applied to the iconography, infographics, and patterns.
Bacteria are able to tell your brain which food you should get them.
How are bacteria related to our lives?
Some bacteria help us digest food. To survive in our gut, our microbiome co-evolve with us to communicate with our body and immune system. Some of them produce a messenger substances that help to educate our immune system, and others stimulate the gut cells to regenerate faster, they might even talk directly to our brain, which actually influence us and our behavior. They are able to tell your brain which food you should get them. Different bacteria like different food, some like vegetables, some like greasy food. For example, you have a stressful time and eats a lot of fries and pizza which creates a perfect environment for fast food bacteria. They multiply and take up space for vegetable-loving bacteria. But even worse, they send signals to your brain to continue what it is doing, which makes you want more fast food.
Forms of reproduction in bacteria
The design was inspired by two curious characteristics of bacteria, its reproduction and communication. Most bacteria rely on binary fission for propagation. Conceptually this is a simple process; a cell just needs to grow to twice its starting size and then split in two.
Communication between bacteria
Another design opportunity that I found interesting was the way bacteria communicate with each other. Researchers called this phenomenon quorum-sensing, the bacteria communicate to determine the size of their community. Bacteria emit signaling molecules similar to pheromones. The concentration of molecules in any given area indicates the size of the population. But bacteria don't just communicate with their own kind -- in recent years, scientists have determined that bacteria have a receptor for species-specific molecules, as well as a receptor for the signals sent out by all other kinds of bacteria, which gives them two different receptors for messages from both their own kind and other species.
The typeface that was inspired by the forms of bacteria, their reproduction and communication
The custom typeface for the Bacteria Museum is drawn from the unique features of bacteria: reproduction and communication. The rounded strokes that connected with single points represent the forms of binary fission. The details of ink-traps with two shapes represent the receptors in bacteria. The ink-trap feature not only translates the concept into visual, but also gives the typeface better legibility. The shapes and glyphs serve as illustrative tools within the system that elevate Bacteria Museum's content.