Updating the way a national (science) treasure communicates

My first few months working at Harwell Science and Innovation Campus have been eye-opening. I’ve toured particle accelerators, giant lasers and one of the biggest satellite testing facilities in the world. One group of Harwellians captured space junk in orbit, another has developed a promising Covid cure with significant llama input. A biotech unicorn who manufacture their amazing kit on site had an incredibly successful IPO, and one of the campuses many start-ups is making great strides with net zero jets. I have tried valiantly to understand how quantum computers actually work, with limited success. And last week, I was shown a hidden room full of NASA equipment from the Apollo era which really should be in the science museum. Suffice to say, it’s a pretty great place.

Despite being founded in 1946 it’s also a place that very few people know about or have outdated perceptions of. With more revolutionary science taking place than ever before, my team and I found the toolkit we had for communicating the campus didn’t match the (inter)stellar work that happens here today or the plans we have to double the size of the campus in the next few years. We needed design that worked as well in social media as in print, photography that reflects the diversity and energy of 21st century science, writing that was clearer and more accessible, and a website that meets the needs of our community of users.

So, we’re evolving and introducing an updated kit of communications parts. Our logo has changed – it’s simpler and clearer. We’ve included an exponent/’to the power of’ symbol – a nod to the language of maths and of coding that underpins the campus, and the role we play in powering up the UK science and innovation community.

The way we describe ourselves has also been updated. After much debate we arrived at ‘The UK’s leading science and innovation campus’. Harwell’s size, critical mass of national facilities, astounding track record and heritage, multidisciplinary constellation of clusters, combination of public and private sector organisations, and plans for expansion give us confidence that it stands up to scrutiny.

We’ve also introduced a bunch of practical things that make it easier for the campus to communicate effectively – from new photography that any of our 200+ organisations on campus can use to better templates to new colours and language. Over the next few months you’ll see more changes, including a new website, new art on site, new content and events that will collectively explain the work of the campus and more effectively support our 200+ organisations to do their inspiring work.

I’ll sign off with huge thanks to the many people who’ve helped to design and deliver this update, and the best description of Harwell we’ve managed to come up with so far. I hope it does Harwell justice:   

We are a 21st Century scientific community working together to solve the critical problems facing our planet.

We are world-leading science facilities understanding the world in greater detail than ever before.

We are a community pioneering the future of energy, space, health and quantum computing.

We are Harwell, the UK’s leading science and innovation campus.