BD Biosciences, a division of Becton Dickinson, developed technology to visualize and analyze in real-time, processes that occur within cells. Their product offered significant advantages over their competition. To broaden their product range, they needed to offer a smaller version of their full-featured machine. Forma was engaged to package the technology in a new form, one that would provide BD Bioscences with a strong brand presence in the laboratory environment.


By analyzing the lab environment, we determined that most of the instrumentation used in labs was rectilinear in form, with sharp edges. To provide BD with a distinctive-looking instrument we developed a form that incorporated generously radiused edges.

We also gave the instrument a curved top that not only softens the form but also serves to prevent people from placing objects on this sensitive machine. The top of the unit is intended to be fabricated from Corian, an unconventional material but one with textural aesthetics that are a natural for the laboratory environment.

The inset “skirt” around the base of the unit makes it look smaller, while its dark color adds to the impression that the instrument is sturdily grounded. The substantial pads upon which the instrument sits further enhance this sense of stability.

The joy stick control echoes the appearance of the main unit.


Forma’s design of the Pathway 435 Bioimager establishes BD Biosciences’ brand presence with a unique appearance that is very different from the instruments with which it competes. The pathway 435 has been a successful member of the BD Bioscience product portfolio for years.