Z Corporation (since acquired by 3D Systems) produces 3D printers, scanners and software used in a wide variety of markets to generate new concepts, communicate more clearly, foster more effective collaboration, improve quality, and reduce errors. ZPrinters can print in color and in great detail, and are among the fastest and easiest to use in the 3D printing industry.
- Starting with a few existing brand elements (logo, fonts, the color orange), the brand design needed to evolve to more accurately project Z Corporation’s capabilities and innovation.
- For those unfamiliar with 3D printing, we needed to explain what it is and its potential. For those with some awareness of 3D printing, we needed to show that unlike other 3D printers, ZPrinters were fast, easy to use, and could function in an office environment. For both groups, we needed to show the unlimited potential 3D printers have as a concept and development tool.
- Use orange as a dominant color to suggest the creative potential of Z Corp products, and to separate Z Corp from its competitors, who tend to have more conservative, industrial-looking brands.
- Use silhouettes of printed parts to emphasize dimensionality and convey simplicity
- Introduce angled shapes to serve as stage for 3D printed parts and reinforce dimensionality.
The story behind the work
To give people a sense of the potential offered by 3D printing, we needed to develop a brand that was bright and energetic feeling. To convey ZPrinters’ superior capabilities, we knew we needed the design to allow the models to take center stage.
For those unfamiliar with how 3D printing and scanning work, we needed to visually depict in a very simple way what the product did and how it worked.
We used bright, pure colors to suggest creativity, innovation, ease-of-use, and cleanliness. And we used crisp, hard edges to imply precision and accuracy.
Z Corporation’s brand design needed to work in both print and electronic mediums, and at many different scales. The orange and other bright colors, combined with the angled shapes allowed the brand to remain consistent across all applications.
To those unfamiliar with 3D printing, they might think it’s something that makes a photo look 3-dimensional. To those already famiilar with 3D printing, it had a reputation as difficult and time-consuming, as well as messy, requiring an industrial rather than an office setting.
The truth is that 3D printing is an amazing technology that literally prints a 3D object, even in full color. Many of these printers can sit in an office or home environment, just like a copier. But more importantly, 3D printing is a powerful creative and collaboration tool.
When we developed the brand, we wanted not only to make sure people understood what 3D printing is, but also to convey the power and potential of this amazing technology. One of the ways we did this was through the ZBar—a small vertical strip of three angled boxes which shows the process — from concept through finished 3-dimensional model.
The trick when developing a brand is knowing what not to do as much as what to do. Z Corp’s printers could create fantastic 3-dimensional, full color, detailed models in hours. What we needed to do was to create an environment that highlighted them in the best possible light.