Team:St Andrews/Graphic Design

Shinescreen: A Novel,Entirely Reef-Safe Probiotic Sunscreen.

Graphic Design


The logo design process was a fun and engaging way to start our iGEM project, but it was also essential before we could begin raising awareness for our campaign. All team members were heavily involved in the process which went from idea, to hand-drawings and then to vector graphics software. Several different individuals experimented with their own ideas, trialling different packages such as Krita, Inkscape and Photoshop.

Our final logo was decided upon by a democratic vote within the team competing against several similar designs.


Prior to our project, our specific knowledge in logo design was limited to intuition and experience. However, as one of the first sub projects we pursued, our eagerness motivated us to strive for precision and one of the team members undertook an online course in logo design via the website Logos by Nick. The intricacy and depth of thought that goes into an organisation’s logo was surprising. Topics covered during the masterclass ranged from depiction, uniqueness, versatility, typography, abstraction, colour and font usage. This was followed up by a masterclass in using Inkscape vector graphics software so that we could realise our design ideas efficiently and effectively.

It might be recognised that our logo is meant to convey the image of a sun with projected rays. However, the hexagonal ring structure is meant to represent the benzene ring of the MAAs which form the main ingredients of our sunscreen formulation. The initial prototype design consider the specific MAA shinorine, which is also where the name ‘Shinescreen’ is derived, combined with a play on the word sunscreen. The simple warm colour scheme is used to convey the hue of the sun and hot weather. The dots on the vertex of the hexagon stand for the molecules making up the benzene ring and the ‘i’ in the text also serve to mimic the partial bond of the benzene ring. The darkened dot signifies the position of the methoxide group, whilst also acting as a distinguished dot for the ‘i’. The extrapolated sun ray dots stand for the rest of the generic MAA structure. For visual attractiveness and compactness, the dots are slightly converging (initially the dots were diverging at the ‘Golden ratio’ for theoretical attractiveness, but this design was intuitively less appealing and too large). The font was chosen to match the minimalistic and geometric styling, while conveying a modern impression to match the novelty of our synthetic biology approach.

The logo was tested for versatility, ensuring that it was clear in any potential application, even at the smallest of scales such as in website favicons or mobile apps. In such circumstances, the design could be adapted to discard all text apart from the ‘S’, leaving an open benzene ring. This had the additional unforeseen advantage of resembling the superman logo, emphasising the superior abilities of our technology. The logo was also examined in monochrome, guaranteeing it was still clear to colour-blind individuals or in circumstances where it may appear as black and white.

Finally, searches were made online to ensure that the design was original, to avoid potential copyright issues.

Preliminary Design Examples



Honeycomb Grid Layout


Our Sponsors

University of St Andrews

School of Biology

School of Chemistry

School of Computer Science

School of Economics

School of Mathematics and Statistics