MSDS is a design studio based in SoHo New York specialising in branding and interactive design. Their client list comprises such large scale companies as TIAA-CREF and the American Joint Jewish Defence Committee to non-profits such as Acumen Fund and Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE). Matthew Schwartz (Founder and Creative Director) felt that the time had come to evolve his own company’s brand and set about the hardest task for any designer—designing your own identity.
Having finally settled on a minimal typographic logo as the entry point to the new brand, I was asked to design a new stationery system for the company (with whom I was working at the time). The brief was to create a strong and identifiable system that could work across many different types of applications. I decided that it was important to show the nature of MSDS’ specialties in the design itself.
In order to do so, I created three devices—a masthead, a stripe pattern and a grid style—that together alluded to interactive and printed works. The masthead is a common web requirement, and a striped pattern is very often used as a background tile on web pages. The tightly designed grid alluded to the print side, being a critical component of any extensive design piece. The typographic detailing and hierarchy further underlined the design qualities of the studio while underlining their expertise.
Finally, I devised a tagline ‘Make your Mark’, which was used primarily on the business cards and notecards (since they are more commonly the first point of contact people have with a brand and a company). It was shown knocked out of the overlaid stripe pattern on the reverse of those pieces. The stripe pattern was also used to provide the structure in the form field area on the various surveys and forms that MSDS required. The underlying grid ensured that every type of form was easily built out as there was a clear place for every part of the information and content already in place. The two corporate colors, green and warm grey, reinforce the professional aspect of the studio’s ethos while working well with the white pages to make each one approachable and efficiently lead the user through the information.