HMC Architects’ MediaLab received a 2021 Graphic Design USA (GDUSA) American Inhouse Design Award for their work developing a visual identity for the firm’s digital practice. More than 6,000 entries were submitted with the top 10 percent recognized as winners.

HMC’s Digital Practice is the company’s firm-wide technology infrastructure where design and BIM technology intersect. The practice exists to promote the use of technology, enable the next evolution of the practice of architecture, and teach people how to use it. Inspired by such diverse visual and historical touchpoints as Picasso’s light painting technique and the pink-purple color palette of the Hubble telescope’s astrophotography, HMC’s Medialab created a logo that speaks to the promise of technology and data, but with a hand-made feel that honors the human craft behind all the numbers and lines of code.

The team built physical prototypes of the proposed logo using sculpture wire to study the effect of light and shadow on the shape and view it from alternate angles, which led to the development of several additional secondary graphic accents as part of the identity family. The logo contains a subtle “d” and “p” initials but allows those initials to disappear into an abstract shape with purposeful curves ripe for animated and virtual applications. The typography creates a connection to HMC’s existing corporate logo, but the new color palette and the sweeping gestures of the DP mark lead the firm, and its clients and communities, toward an exciting new future. Since its launch in August 2020, the visual identity has successfully united the team’s communication and furthered its vision of integrating technological innovation into all corners of the firm.

For over 50 years, GDUSA has been a source of information for graphic design professionals. Their “inhouse” awards program is the original and premier showcase for outstanding work by in-house designers, recognizing their talent, the special challenges they face, and the value they bring to their clients. For more information, visit GDUSA’s website.