METI International is an organisation dedicated to making contact with life on planets beyond our own. Now METI’s new visual identity reflects the pioneering nature of its extra-terrestrial messaging work, while encouraging us to think about what it is that makes us human.
As an organisation dedicated to conducting scientific research into messaging extra-terrestrial intelligence, METI International has always balanced the cutting-edge with a timeless outlook on its work. So when we were asked to develop a visual identity that would help establish METI in the sector, raise awareness of the organisation’s work and rally its audiences, we knew we would need to shoot for the stars.
The sector was crowded and filled with repetitive trends. But METI took the investigation into extra-terrestrial life into a new space. We found ourselves returning to one sentence in the brief that seemed, to us, to encapsulate METI’s mission: ‘In one word, messaging’.
We were inspired by the Arecibo message, the 1974 interstellar radio communication broadcast into space. Constructed using binary code to represent scientific and mathematical data, and as a simple graphic pictogram about life on Earth, the message was mankind’s first greeting to the universe. And we wanted to make reference to the convention of writing ‘Hello, World!’ when learning a programming language. We combined these to craft METI’s own unique message: ‘Hello, universe’, that inspired the new identity. The Roman alphabet in binary became a metaphor for a universal language, unfamiliar but can be deciphered. The colours and typography grounds the identity in the realm of research, and the translation brackets hint at scientific annotations. The logo is based on a square grid and uses binary patterns that retain an otherness, mirroring the unique work that METI undertakes.