This logo was created for Merck's enterprise portal and was intended to replace a chaotic array of thousands of logos and identities within Merck. Therefore, it needed to be versatile and flexible in order to take on the identity of various divisions, organizations and departments.
The design is based on a capsule metaphor. Capsules hold many parts together. Each tiny particle within a capsule can not do very much on its own. It is when all of the parts are held together that an impact can be made. Merck's enterprise portal had the mission of consolidating 6,ooo internal websites - the portal was going to bring individual parts together in a way that would make an unprecedented impact to the company.
The capsule remains "open" in order to take on identities throughout the organization. There are no fixed limits, and it allows for change, revisions or additions.
Don't miss the story board at the bottom of the page illustrating how the logo would be animated. It's an early version of the logo, but the concept is the same. View the Style Guide (PDF)