The Simons Foundation began in 1994 as the bespoke philanthropic vehicle of Marilyn and Jim Simons, meant to support mathematics and the basic sciences. Over time, this led to an array of strategically related programs of incredible ambition and variety.
Robust grantmaking divisions, an in-house research institute, research participant recruitment campaigns, public engagement initiatives and open-science data collections — each of these efforts were very different, had their own audiences and visual identities, and functioned independently from one another.
Early this year, the foundation commenced a rebranding initiative to unite its component programs under one visual identity and unified mission.
Today the Simons Foundation launched our new brand to the public, with simonsfoundation.org and other media channels rolling over to reveal the new branding.
“When people see us as one organization, doing the wide variety of things we do, it makes us more than the sum of our parts,” says Simons Foundation president David Spergel. “While the goals and mission of the Simons Foundation are unchanged, we’re working to communicate our mission and all our related programs more effectively.”
Crafting a single visual identity for the Simons Foundation presented a unique challenge. The foundation supports and conducts research in a wide array of fields, including astrophysics, quantum physics, neuroscience, pure mathematics, marine microbiology and autism. While many scientists know about the Simons Foundation, their awareness is often limited to the foundation’s work in their own field.
Yet from all this diversity, concepts native to the foundation began to emerge. In the course of interviewing foundation stakeholders and working with creative firm Article Group, the related concepts of idea generation, illumination of knowledge obscured by darkness, and the joy of imagination and discovery began to emerge as unifying themes.
Importantly, the foundation’s internal research division devoted to computational science, the Flatiron Institute, also received its own revised logo as part of the refresh, one closely related to the new Simons Foundation logo, to maintain connection.
Spergel says he looks forward to the new logo’s serving as the single identifier of the Simons Foundation as it continues to build its brand and legacy as one of the world’s most impactful organizations for math and science research. “It’s a busy and exciting time around here,” he says. “It’s an honor to be part of it.”