Top five biotech company logos

I can’t help looking at logos, compulsively evaluating their appeal and effectiveness. Some logos simply grab the eyeballs and emotions in a very powerful way, others make me want to…well, to be blunt, lose my lunch on the sidewalk.

Much of my work is in the pharmaceutical field, and there seems to be a dearth of good design and creativity when it comes to logos. While I think that some of the top 50 pharma companies have reasonably appealing logos (Pfizer, J&J, Novartis, Lilly, and Valeant come to mind), many of them are pretty much “blah”.

On the biotech (medicine) side, however, there are at least a few that are graphically appealing, simple, creative, and (how else do I put this??) postive-feeling. Here is the countdown of my current top five:

5. Zelos: attractive typeface, nice use of complementary colors – somehow this logo manages to feel both professional and informal at the same time.

4. Javelin: while I’m not sure why someone would name a medical company after an instrument that, when used, everyone runs away from, this logo is a nice graphic that corresponds well with the company name. The javelin imagery is pleasing and modern, and the color combination works well.

3. OSI: something about the use of the parenthesis around OSI just works – it’s a simple but unexpected way to emphasize the name. The grey and red color combo is appealing, and the use of non-capitalized type for the word “pharmaceuticals” makes the logo more approachable.

2. Solstice Neurosciences: it takes a lot for me to have postive feelings about anything orange (just a personal quirk), but this logo works nicely. The name encapsulated by the treatment of the “O”, and in this instance, the typeface still feels very approachable even when using all caps.

…and now, my favorite (for many years, ever since I first saw it)…

1. Gilead: a sweet combination of professionalism and academia, and a great use of white/red reversal. The typeface for “Gilead” is nice too, but it’s the graphic that makes this. Simple, striking, memorable – I’d wear this on a t-shirt in a heartbeat.

There are many, many logos, taglines, and websites that make me want to gag – far too many to list here – but when it comes to the You can’t possibly be serious?!? Award, I think this one takes the cake…!

Sell by screaming??

My rational self doesn’t like this.

But my emotional side thinks it’s JUST GREAT!!!

The message in advertising is irrelevant, new research shows

So the message doesn’t matter in advertising, anywhere near as much as the emotional content? That certainly explains a lot of advertising I’ve seen. Does it also explain Howard Dean’s outburst in Iowa, along with a lot of other political nonsense?

Packaging H2O

Now, be honest – if you were around and semi-conscious 25 years ago – could you have foreseen the market for selling the most abundant substance on our planet? But now, it’s no longer good enough to have a story about some semi-exotic remote spring – no, water is a fashion statement.

Take a fascinating look at the packaging of H2O at the Aqua Store. Many new ways to separate you from your dollars, for the sake of stylish water containers. Although I despise the whole idea, nonetheless, some of these implementations are pretty cool-looking – if I had my choice, I guess I’d just as soon sip (sorry – perform re-hydration therapy) from the Voss or the Qvarzia bottles.

Bottles like this, with sensuous curves, are a great draw when there’s really nothing to distinguish the contents. Water is water, no matter how much mystique these folks try to wrap around it.

This Sofia rose wine is another great example. Someone gave us a bottle of this…the wine was not memorable, but I did not want to part with the bottle! Effective branding involves all the senses – especially when the product itself is not particularly distinguished.

Light one up

Bristol Myers Squibb has come up with a very interesting and effective HIV awareness/fund-raising site.

Actually, BMS is donating the funds – you “light” a virtual candle on the site, and they donate a dollar. Clicking on other candles brings up personal stories about HIV.

On my pharma training blog (, I’ve mentioned the need for more companies to show a positive face in light of all the negativity about Big Pharma. This is a good step in that direction.

From a web design perspective, it’s relatively easy to just throw up information on a site – and sometimes, that’s about how appealing it is! This more creative method weaves stories and corporate good will with user interaction, and a memorable metaphor, to leave a positive impression. Nicely done.

Brand ahoy!

If I was the packaging manufacturer, I’d be all over this opportunity!

Shipping container breaks up at sea, Doritos wash up on shore, still fresh and crispy.

Residents flock to gather edible goodies after they are lost at sea.

Couldn’t pay for a better marketing opportunity!

Full story, with other pix, here.