D E S I G N E R
C L I E N T
B A C K G R O U N D
Chermayeff & Geismar's website says: "This major pharmaceutical company had an unusual identity problem. While it markets its products worldwide, it cannot use the Merck name in much of Europe because of a name conflict. A bold symbol was developed to go with the Merck name in the U.S., and with other names, such as MSD in Europe, in a common, clearly identifiable format."
H I G H L I G H T S
Simple and timeless. Now "timeless" is always a tricky term to use—it's something as designers we strive for, but don't fully grasp. But this mark can be an example for elements that lend itself to this achievement. Firstly, the logo design explains itself visually (without much needing to be added by me, but let me continue). The graphic image presented here is multi-faceted with utmost appropriateness: Merck suggests medicines and medicines suggest pills (at least this is what I always saw in this mark...could be interpreted other ways as well). We see the classic circle pill form (with the sometimes scored mark across the middle) along with the elongated "oval" pill. All these graphic images are created purely by circles—circles that intersect and divide for a collaboration of positive and negative space. Nothing more is added or needed, so this logo works at a very pure level. And at a very raw level, the circle shape is "timeless" to humans: the sun, moon, features of the face and body are all familiar elements that reflect the circle.