How we think about design
Building a scientific visual language
LabDAO is an organization centred around scientists. The visual design of the products shouldn't stray too far from what could conceivably be read as a traditional scientific organization. As LabDAO grows and product adoption increases, the visual language should be a familiar beacon to grab onto for a scientist who may find themselves exploring the new world of decentralized science for the first time.
All that being said, in reality, LabDAO isn't a traditional scientific organization— using subtle calls to current "Web3-style" design is a useful way to quickly indicate the technology under the hood to those familiar with the visual language.
What does this look like? The LabDAO visual language gives monochromatic text space to breathe while still maintaining a distinct look and feel through accent colour, 3D protein visualization and mono-style font use.
Some of the current LabDAO design elements include:
- LabDAO green (#85E0B4)
- LabDAO 96-well plate/globe logo
- 3D proteins, greyscale
- Sans font + mono font
- Network/systems diagrams
- See more on the LabDAO Figma pages
Notes on growth
As the LabDAO organization and OpenLab products expand, branding will naturally evolve. Groups focusing on specific projects will have opinions on how the design can reflect the goals and vision of what they are building.
Evolutions and iterations are welcome. There are many talented designers in the scientific/web3 space that will undoubtedly have a unique and interesting take on the design elements presented in the [forthcoming] style guide.
Notes for visual designers
The culture at LabDAO is to do as much work in the open as you can. As a designer, this may be slightly different from your standard workflow, but there are ways to ensure there aren't too many cooks in the kitchen.
A design process can look something like this:
- Get detailed information on the project, ideally directly from one of the maintainers or senior contributors on the team.
- Ask for sketches and/or examples to get an idea of their concept
- Consult the [forthcoming] LabDAO style guide to get a feel for the design.
- Depending on project size/time constraints, show the maintainers or senior contributors a rough draft of a design to confirm it matches the project vision.
- Nearing the end of your design process, choose up to four options you are comfortable moving forward with and share them in the channel specific to the project.
- Suggestion: use emoji reactions for voting
- Finalize design
LabDAO voice, tone and style
Much like LabDAO's visual design, the organization uses a voice that feels familiar to an academic audience. Information is presented in a logical, easy-to-follow flow. The LabDAO voice is educational but not patronizing. By communicating written information without too much fluff, we can let the exciting aspects of LabDAO speak for themselves.
As with visual design, there is still some room for a bit of Web3 playfulness. Spaces like Twitter allow for a bit more of a casual tone, and an opportunity to prove that we are tapped into the larger Web3 space.
Think about the way you would write an email to a collaborator that you've had a drink with in the past. You're hitting all the important points, but if you need to slip into a slightly more casual tone here and there it still feels appropriate.
Define acronyms the first time they are used in a written piece (e.g. "In its first iteration, the OpenLab command-line interface (CLI)...")
Think about your audience—will anyone interacting with this writing be coming across these terms for the first time? It's best to err on the side of caution and explain concepts/terms that may be unfamiliar to your audience. Linking to other resources is also a great way to help out people newer to the space and those who just want to learn more.
Avoid the use of the first person/"I" as much as possible.
When writing documentation, the use of the second person, "you", is helpful for making new members feel included.
LabDAO strives to avoid hyped-up language. While Web3 and biotech are very exciting fields, and the combination of the two is extremely exciting, try to stay rooted in reality and generally avoid words such as "fearless", "very", "exciting" and "amazing".
- Similarly, we try to avoid the use of exclamation marks.
In writing longer than one sentence, spell out one-digit numbers and use digits for numbers over 10.
- When writing anything give it a quick run through Grammarly (which doesn't work on HackMD ).
- You can change the language preference in the Grammarly app. LabDAO is a decentralized organization and therefore English spelling will vary slightly—British English is preferred but not required.
- Ethereum, ETH are capitalized
- DeSci is camel case but decentralized science is lower case
- An NFT not a NFT