Brand Identity, Industrial/Product Design

A quietly elegant identity lets art, technology and philosophy take center stage in today’s fast paced, digital-focused world.

How can technology be harnessed to create art that inspires a viewer? Using its patented design concept and proprietary algorithm, the Israeli company Motiva brings to life inspiring quotes. Their algorithm visually compresses multiple phrases to fit neatly into a unique grid of letters which is then matched with fine-art prints on paper in a lovely wooden frame. Motiva’s built in platform then reveals these illuminated (and illuminating) thoughts in an engaging way.


With their technology and concept in place, Motiva’s founders engaged Pentagram to shape the look of the product and the visual identity of the brand.

The visual-layering effect of the artwork requires the imagery and type to work together harmoniously. The imagery should be clean and simple to avoid overwhelming the text that would emerge from the canvas. Likewise, the type should simultaneously look chic, read clearly over the image, and convey the Motiva brand identity.

The brand represents a merging of technology, art and philosophy. Likewise, the grid used to reveal the quotes should be at once visible and invisible, direct yet quiet, high-tech yet elegant. Striking the right balance between these dichotomies was paramount to the project’s success.


In crafting the company's brand identity, Pentagram took its cue from Motiva’s tagline, “It’s always been there.” The resulting identity package emphasizes the “sleek, timeless, and simple” nature of the company’s product, and lets the brand exist quietly in the background. 

The Motiva logo was designed to look clean and contemporary while subtly referencing the shape of the products. The wordmark features a rounded interior corner with sharp exterior corners to mimic the frame that contains each individual print.

Text is a crucial component of the company's philosophical art, so a custom typeface was developed in collaboration with type designer Ben Nathan. Informed by the brand’s logo, the Motiva font reflects the elevated aesthetic of the prints while remaining understated enough to let the imagery shine. A monotype setting applied to the artwork allows for balanced spacing between characters and emulates the letter grid developed by Motiva’s technology.

The brand’s primary color palette — black, white, and Manila (a soft peachy hue) — is supplemented with gray tones (named Pencil and Canvas, in a nod to artistic materials) as well as a gradient option. At once contemporary and neutral, this palette adds an aura of quiet sophistication to the brand, while the Manila tone brings a subtly human element to the technology company. Pentagram also worked with Motiva to select illustrators and designers to create some of the artworks and worked with their industrial designers to help develop the look of the company’s signature frames.

Taken together, Motiva’s design and identity add invisible finesse and elegance to the finished product and allow the brand to rest quietly between the worlds of art and technology.

New York
Emily Oberman
Project team
Mira Khandpur
Jase Hueser
Beatriz Congar
Zoe Chrissos
Ben Nathan, Hafontia, typography
Piotr Woronkowicz, industrial design consultant
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