Driven by the Promise of Great Ideas

Reenvisioning a Messaging Platform & Visual Identity to represent one of the nation’s foremost nonprofit institutions was not a small task, especially for one that has funded an outstanding array of scholars and programs across its 85-year history. The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation provides grants to support and propel exploration, discovery, and understanding in science, technology, economics, and the arts. Committed to advancing these realms and their impact on human welfare, the Foundation has earned respect for its work through rigorous grantmaking, the high caliber of the researchers and institutions that it has bolstered, and the groundbreaking scientific ideas that it has helped to propel.

In looking toward the future, The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation sought a creative partner to build a vibrant new institutional identity and advance its stature as a leading funder of research. Transit Authority Figures and Mackey Strategies, our communications partner, were selected to hone the institution’s messaging, re-shape its visual identity, and bring new energy, clarity, and coherence to the foundation’s communications.

Mackey Strategies developed a comprehensive new messaging approach and a new tagline that encapsulates the goals, values, and reach of a foundation renowned for its rigor and commitment to excellence. The new tagline, “Driven by the Promise of Great Ideas,” invokes the foundation’s high standards for vetting and selecting grantees and introduces essential, yet previously overlooked, elements of the foundation’s work: the qualities of discovery and positive change. 

TAF developed a fresh and refined visual identity that brings to life the new messaging with a creative and modern approach, as well as a nod to the history and life of the institution’s founder, Alfred P. Sloan.

Scope of Work

  • Icons
  • Illustration
  • Motion Graphics
  • Print Design
  • Visual Identity
  • Working closely with Sloan, and in partnership with our friends at TodoTodo and Mark Farnum Music, the animated video bumper (shown above) was brought to life as a tool to introduce the identity anew.

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    The ‘S’ mark blends past and future, maintaining the double bar of the longstanding Sloan S. The new formal mark evokes the electrons of a helium atom—a noble and therefore stable gas—and cyclic attributes so prevalent in the natural world. It also alludes to roller bearings which were manufactured by the first company that Mr. Sloan led.

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    A business suite and communications collateral were implemented to create a cohesive look and feel for the foundation, internally and externally.

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    Custom icon sets were created to represent the programs and research the foundation funds.

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    Because of Sloan’s research into the physical world, including The Sloan Digital Sky Survey which is mapping the Universe, we literally looked to the stars for inspiration. Deep blue with gold accents creates the primary palette, while complementary colors inspired by the planet Jupiter bring fresh energy and possibility to the identity. 

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