This is a very old entry — images are small, formatting is off.
Established as “De Nederlandse Staatsmijnen” (Dutch State Mines) in 1902 by the Dutch government, DSM is a multinational corporation specializing in what they call “Life Sciences and Materials Sciences” which means that they create the ingredients that make up the ingredients of numerous products. From food and enzymes for animal food, to chemicals for crop protection, to ingredients for pharmaceutical products, to resins for paints, and more. Much, much more. DSM has over 170 locations worldwide and employs more than 20,000 people. This week DSM announced a new identity explaining that “This is the right moment to present our new identity to the world. We have successfully transformed DSM’s portfolio. We are now a true Life Sciences and Materials Sciences company, with a clear mission to create brighter lives for people today and for generations to come.”
Despite the existence of a brand mini site with a lot of PR speak about the brand it’s quite funny that there isn’t a single paragraph that explains what the logo is meant to be. Which is probably for the better because the icon defies definition.
The old logo had a bit of an Omni Consumer Products look to it and it just felt like an impenetrable fortress of chemical engineering. The new one, whether we know what it means or not, definitely feels more consumer friendly. Even though this is mostly a business-to-business brand, there is probably a need to still appear more accessible for those businesses and the clients of those businesses (the eventual street-level consumers). So to the icon: It’s generic and indecipherable but so was the old one and in the same way that the new represents the generic vortex-swooshes of today, the old one represents the abstract geometric icons of the 1960s. The typography is rounder, of course, but at least we’ve been spared of another lowercasing redesign. The swooshy overprinted swirls function as a secondary identity element that gets applied with reckless abandon to everything — see merch below — it’s repetitive but almost kind of pretty.