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Merck: Inventing for Life

A sophisticated and celebratory anniversary book, distributed to Merck employees worldwide.


As Merck neared its 130th anniversary and the retirement of a beloved, longtime CEO, the company commissioned us to celebrate the occasion with a book unlike any other in the pharmaceutical industry that would rally and unify staff amid the major transition of leadership. But how would we tell Merck’s history when its success rests on incredibly complex concepts of biology and chemistry?


Our solution was to craft a narrative that revolved around the essentially human, emotionally resonant quest that gave the company its purpose beyond any singular leader—saving and improving lives.


The target audience for the book was all 69,000 Merck employees: from every department and country where the company operates.

We were charged with breaking the mold and creating an object that would surprise and inspire the company as they were emerging from the pandemic lockdown and navigating a transition in their leadership.

The cover of the magazine.
(no person, paper, cover, graphic design, page, facts, text, artistic, contemporary, business, literature, booklet, creativity, retro, book, knowledge, elegant, data, card, education)

Immersed in the Corporate Culture

Most of the Merck team are engaged in non-research functions such as manufacturing, marketing, and compliance.

How could we make sure the book would be resonant and relevant to such a diverse company?

We started with an extensive discovery phase: touring several Merck facilities, talking in depth with a score of longtime staffers, and hiring a retired employee as a consultant.

The book is a work of art.
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The book is a must read for any budding photographer.
(the many in It the In an Max He res,no person, business, paper, facts, data, stacks, retro, contemporary, graphic design, identity, research, book, spherical, indoors, knowledge, education, money, wealth, literature, technology)


We developed a text that allowed the company’s breakthrough discoveries to unfold with the suspenseful momentum of a novel.

Breaking up this main narrative were visually driven features including three gatefolds with multilayered infographics, people profiles, timelines, and even a quiz.

A page from the book.
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The map of the world.
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Turning Science into Art

For the exterior we chose several molecules representing some of Merck’s most important pharma and rendered them into a strikingly beautiful abstract pattern embossed onto custom-dyed cloth.

The logo on a green background.
(microbiology, biology, chemistry, atom, medicine, molecular, cellular telephone, no person, scientific, construction, chemical, particle, science, paper, research, desktop, texture, technology, art, abstract)


Merck was so pleased with how the book built morale that they commissioned us to publish three foreign-language editions.

The book is a must read for any budding chef.
(the,paper, woman, adult, business, document, man, people, healthcare, writing, two, wear, indoors, one, education, girl, service, military, teamwork, portrait, family)

“The team at Melcher was simply a joy to work with! From start to finish they went above and beyond to bring our story to life with creativity, sensitivity and a great sense of fun! They put their all into the project and we’re true partners every step of the way. I would highly recommend them, and I look forward to working with them again and again!”

Jessica Fine
Associate Vice President, Global Communications
The book by person.
(MERCK INVENTING FORLIFE,no person, business, facts, paper, knowledge, education, research, book, data, achievement, spherical, travel, text, identity, leisure, luck, trip (journey), science, literature, plastic)