Founding director Robert Wilson put his personal stamp on every aspect of Fermilab: buildings, colors, sculpture, the landscape—even the twists and turns of roads through the woods.
Wilson had the laboratory's buildings painted in bright primary colors. He patterned his design for the laboratory's twin-tower headquarters, 16-story Wilson Hall, after a cathedral in Beauvais, France. He designed and installed dramatic outdoor sculptures. He established a herd of American bison at the laboratory, obtaining the first animals for the herd from Wyoming as a symbol of the laboratory's work at the frontiers of physics, as a link to the frontier and prairie heritage of the land.
Wilson and graphic designer Angela Gonzales also collaborated on the unique Fermilab mark, which first appeared on the lab's 1968 Design Report. The mark had gone through more than a dozen revisions, reflecting Wilson's ideas in unifying the images of the magnets in the Main Ring accelerator. The finished product, combining images of both the dipole and quadrupole magnet laminations and apertures, has served as a mark for features of the laboratory ranging from experiments to buildings to letterheads.
With such determined emphasis on the physical appearance and the representational images of the laboratory, Wilson created a strong template for subsequent generations of design and designers at Fermilab. Today’s graphics standards use Wilson’s original vision as a framework for a suite of distinctive graphic presentations that unify the Fermilab experience for employees, users and visitors.