History of the “Women in Crystallography” logo

The “Women in Crystallography” project was launched in 2018 during the ECM31 in Oviedo (Spain) thanks to the first organized microsymposium on Women in Crystallography (MS45). The Chairs of the microsymposium (Julia Contreras García and Annalisa Guerri) were asked to provide a logo and a motto for the MS to be shown at the beginning of the session.

The logo originated from the worldwide famous “Photo 51”, the X-ray fiber diffraction by DNA taken by Raymond Gosling, a graduate student working under the supervision of Rosalind Franklin. This pattern is an iconic symbol for crystallographers and represents female scientists in crystallography.


“N’oubliez jamais qu’il suffira d’une crise politique, économique ou religieuse pour que les droits des femmes soient remis en question. Ces droits ne sont jamais acquis. Vous devrez rester vigilantes votre vie durant.”

“Never forget that a political, economic, or religious crisis is enough to cast doubt on women’s rights. These rights will never be vested. You have to stay vigilant your whole life.”

Simone de Beauvoir

After a short email exchange, the following picture and wording below came to light for the introduction of  MS45:

Starting from this idea, Laura Roces Fernández and Julia Contreras García elaborated the logo and gave birth to the one used to print the T-shirts. After a first draft, the logo was refined at the University of Oviedo as it appears below.

The idea was also inspired by another project born in 2015: the “women under high pressure” movement with the aim to improve the participation of women, especially young scientists, at events around the World and to create a balanced attendance among participants and also among the speakers.

The logo copyright, originally retained by the University of Oviedo,  was ceded free of charge to the European Crystallographic Association and the International Union  for Crystallography under the following conditions:

  • The Grantees are free to change, modify and adapt the logo design by changing the colors of individual elements, but not their outlines, except for a stroked outline following the shape of the symbols in case the background color reiterates the color of the symbols. Such changes, introduced by the Grantees, shall not dilute or cause confusion over the existing logo identity.
  • The use of the logo is strictly limited to promote and support women in science and particularly women in crystallography and structural science.
  • The Grantees are not permitted to reuse the project for commercial purposes.
  • In addition, the Grantees declare that they will publish the logo at their websites accompanied by the statement that the logo was originally created at the time of the 31st European Crystallographic Meeting held in Oviedo in 2018 (ECM31), and that the University of Oviedo agreed to transfer the copyright free of charge.

The original logo was designed using Adobe Illustrator, but has later be redrawn in scalable vector graphics format.