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DPI Identity

Discovery Partners Institute

Nick Adam
Design Direction, Design

Avery Branen

M. Harris & Co.
Communications Strategy

Located in The 78, Chicago’s newly developed innovation neighborhood, Discovery Partners Institute (DPI) is an academic and research institution unlike any other. Led by the University of Illinois System, DPI matches over 2,000 students in development-applied R&D labs with hundreds of the world's top researchers and funding partners, aiming to solve complex, societal challenges.

Span designed the identity system to define DPI as a place for futuristic innovation. The identity framework highlights a unique partnership structure, allowing DPI, their partners, and their labs to unite and build off each other's brand equity.

Custom letterforms were drawn for DPI's logo to provide a sense of equality across the characters. Equally weighted to the letterforms, the unifying möbius strip expresses movement and openness. In instances where an R&D lab that is within DPI needs their own logo, parentheticals are employed.

DPI Webpost 220927 3 AB 02

Facility designed by OMA with Jacobs Consultants.

DPI Logo Logic Span 2

The tabular, möbius strip logo relates to the modularity of the building while reflecting the collaborative ambition of DPI and how they foster innovation through connection.

DPI OMA Ground Level Logo Span 04
DPI Chicago logo Span Studio 12
DPI Chicago logo Span Studio 05
DPI Chicago logo Span Studio 06
DPI Chicago logo Span Studio 13

The graphics standards manual provides guidelines on how DPI’s identity system can continue to expand for future labs, educational programs, and joint ventures.

DPI Chicago logo Span Studio 14

DPI’s identity system is designed to expand allowing for the creation of new labs, programs and partnerships. The Spezia Mono typeface from Luzi Type complements the tabular structure of the system while the monoline characters gives the font a sense of simplicity.

DPI Logo Building Skyline Span 10

Slated to be complete in 2026, the DPI headquarters will be the first project to break ground in The 78 (Chicago’s new neighborhood).