Social Science Matrix, a flagship institute for social science research at UC Berkeley, launched in 2015 with ambitious goals: to catalyze innovation, encourage risk-taking and foster collaboration that produces break-through research in the field of social science, both at Berkeley and beyond. The institute serves as a "lean" start-up incubator, providing critical support to cross-disciplinary research projects pursued by more than 500 scientists.
We worked with the Matrix team to create a visual identity for the institute, develop a flexible design system, architect a digital presence and build a capable publishing system in Drupal 7.
Designing the Social Science Matrix Identity
In a landscape dominated by redesign, Social Science Matrix was a refreshingly blank canvas. The institute was brand-new and our team was free to explore a number of design directions. We were charged with capturing the energy, the innovative spirit and the collaborative focus that were key to the institute's vision and mission. After working with various interpretations of letterforms from the name, we landed on a logo mark that emulates "M" with strong angles and accents that convey velocity and a sense of convergence.
Bold, Flexible Design System
From day one, the Matrix team was clear that they were looking for something distinct and expressly unique; something that played into Matrix themes and broke conventions. We crafted a layout that expands from the striking geometry of the institute's new logo mark, extending intersecting diagonals across the length of each screen. For smaller devices, the layout collapses gracefully into a single column. While unique and thematic, the design is flexible and scales to meet a broad range of content presentation needs.
Information Architecture and Content Strategy
A key goal of the Matrix project was aggregating content from a broad range of sources to both communicate the sheer volume of social science research happening within the Berkeley community and to provide access to information and publications from each project. We developed a flexible information architecture that grows with the institute's expanding wealth of content and still provides an effortless browsing experience to users.
Publishing Platform Built on Drupal 7
A capable publishing backend provides rich content authoring, curation and presentation tools for Matrix content producers. The system is built to support flexible, growing "research streams" that promote research across the full spectrum of social science projects, both at Berkeley and elsewhere.
We were thrilled with the launch of matrix.berkeley.edu. Since then, we have continued to support the evolving needs of Social Science Matrix and look forward to further expanding the platform.