Founded in 2010 by designers Ben Barry and Everett Katigbak, the Analog Research Lab is a design and printmaking studio whose core mission has been to create projects that can elevate ideas and ask pertinent, urgent, and critical questions of the internal community to reinforce the values of Facebook. Over the years it has proven itself as one of the most visible manifestations of the spirit and culture of the company.
As the program began to expand globally beyond remote outposts in New York and Dublin in 2017 to new locations such as London, Seattle, Austin, Tel Aviv, Singapore, Chicago, Washington, Los Angeles, I took elements from Ben’s original designs for Menlo Park and transformed them into a design system that accommodated use across a variety of surfaces, mediums, and processes.
The logo for the Analog Research Lab consists of a hexagonal bolt shape and a gear, combined with a representation of an atom. Together these symbols touch on the genesis of ideas, industrialization, and a positively charged core. They represent the most important part of any object and the basis of growth and activity.
The typographic heart of the identity system is built using the Champion and Ringside type families from H&Co. These practical, tactile and democratic gothic letterforms which connect to those produced in wood or metal during the 19th and early 20th Centuries have since been transformed into a comprehensive, relational, and flexible system including many important and useful OpenType features — hallmarks of modern 21st Century typographic design.
One of the most recognizable elements of the Analog Research Lab identity is the original brickwork mosaic pattern on the rollup door in Menlo Park. Although not devised as a comprehensive system originally, by applying a base unit to repeating forms, it provided a framework through which a flexible system emerged.