System-level change through nature-centric design
From architectural structures made by silkworms to mapping out a generative biomass in the heart of Manhattan, Neri Oxman—visionary scientist, artist, and entrepreneur—is at the forefront of next-generation design and production, informed by a field of study she calls material ecology.
In 2020, Neri and her team left the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab to found a new design company, catapulting her research into the world beyond academia. Coinciding with its launch, AREA 17 collaborated with OXMAN to create a brand and website that would reflect the company’s mission: to be a catalyst for change in how we design and who we design for.
OXMAN’s approach challenges industries to move away from environmentally destructive and user-centered design systems and to consider an ever-vital question: in a world beset by ecological crises, how can we design in ways that improve life not just for us, but for the planet and other species? In other words, what could nature-centric design look like?
OXMAN is made with Twill, our open-source CMS for Laravel.
OXMAN is reimagining the ways humanity and nature interact in industry, pioneering a design philosophy in which the natural world is treated as a collaborator in the creative process, not merely a resource to extract from along the way.
Led by a team of biologists, technologists, designers, and engineers, OXMAN considers nature an equally important partner in its methodology. In this view, nature is not relegated to a secondary role; nature and humanity are of equal value.
We created a brand that reflects this pioneering, interdisciplinary approach—not only positioning the company as a first of its kind in nature-centric design practice, but defining a new kind of industry that will galvanize people around a future-forward, sustainable world.
To bring this brand to life visually, we looked to the most awe-inspiring muse we could think of: nature. The system is elegantly simple, with a black & white color palette and technical grid, designed to animate the sublime and evocative images of work created by the OXMAN team.
We developed a verbal system that is precise, yet inspiring. While always maintaining a sense of the poetic, the language combines the facts and detail you’d encounter in a science lab setting with provocative language to prompt unconventional, imaginative thinking.
To launch the brand to new audiences, we developed a dynamic website that stirs users’ curiosity and sense of discovery. Visually stimulating, the site is composed of absorbing images, video, and graphics that capture the many layers of OXMAN. We also built unexpected features into the user flow, including hidden hover states and playful scrolls which reveal new information upon interaction.