Share this 21 AprilApr 2017

Balancing Power with Purpose

FEI are a leading player in the Electron Microscopy Industry, enabling customers to find meaningful answers to questions that accelerate breakthrough discoveries and increase productivity to global challenges. FEIs incredibly powerful machines are created to deliver multi-scale, multi-dimensional insights right down to sub-nanometre resolution, as understanding structural and compositional details at this scale is paramount to achieving technological advancements.

FEI approached Design Partners to collaborate in re-invigorating their brand presence by designing a holistic user experience for their complex, and highly configurable Helios machine with a new, bold and relevant identity.

Electron Microscope
Electron Microscope

A User Centred Approach

A user centred approach was imperative in understanding the scope of this challenge. The Helios G4 HX DualBeamTM is a highly customisable microscope with an extensive range of ancillary products that can offer amplified capabilities given different operators areas of specialisation. These attachments can complicate the user workflows as well as diluting the FEI brand presence.

Using research methods such as contextual inquiry we immersed ourselves in the user’s world to gain a complete picture of the complexity of use, the variety of stakeholders involved, and the complete spectrum of configurability.


Our deep approach to user centric engagement enabled us to creatively explore a variety of purposeful usability-strategies while considering exciting new identities for the brand that conveyed the power of FEI’s technology. The solutions we proposed were developed for manufacture and assembly.


A Holistic Solution

The Helios G4 embodies the results of this project – visually clean, uncluttered and unmistakably FEI. Balanced with this identity is a holistic usability solution based on a deep understanding of workflows and interactions. It enables operators to efficiently engage with varying touch points without ever impeding or compromising on their overall experience.

The resulting design reflects the scientific excellence inherent in the technology and FEI’s commitment to quality and engineering excellence. The FEI products have won the prestigious, international iF Design Award 2017.

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21 April Apr 2017

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