True North designs brand for UK’s largest health research programme
Independent brand and design consultancy, True North, developed the brand strategy, name and visual identity for Our Future Health, the UK’s largest ever health research programme.
Our Future Health’s aims to help people live healthier lives through the discovery and testing of more effective approaches to prevention, earlier detection and treatment of diseases. To be most effective, Our Future Health needs to recruit and retain participants from all communities in the UK to ensure that the research will benefit everyone. In addition, it also strives to engage researchers, charities and health professionals to define and develop research studies.
Due to the ‘newness’ of the programme, True North had to make the brand accessible and trustworthy, without over promising or oversimplifying. Yet, it still needed to excite people with the potential of what could be achieved.
“Taking part in the programme will need to become more popular than swimming. So, we had to frame this as a simple collective action. This is a cause to which everyone can contribute something unique and by doing so, know that they have done what they can to help their families and communities,” says Stuart Barnes, strategy director at True North.
As a first step, True North proposed changing the programme’s original name, Accelerating Detection of Disease. The agency believed that the name Our Future Health strikes a more optimistic, emotive tone, rendering the programme more accessible and ownable. The name acts as a promise to which everyone can subscribe, benefit from and advocate for.
To distinguish the brand from other big health organisations, such as Cancer Research UK or the British Heart Foundation, True North focused on developing a distinctive identity that would reflect the brand’s new approach to health. The identity is built around a visual metaphor, the mosaic-like patterned squares, which aims to aid accessible communication of how the programme works. The pattern emphasises how the project is greater than the sum of its parts and shows that every individual can contribute something unique for mutual benefit.
“The identity system serves as stylised representations of people, DNA and patterns of disease. The graphic tiles tessellate, interact and overlay onto black-and-white hero imagery of a diverse mix of individuals, becoming pieces of a much bigger puzzle,” says creative director of True North, Steve Royle.
The identity was designed to work across different platforms for maximum accessibility, and to complement but remain distinct from partner communications and branding. The new brand strategy has been implemented across all aspects of the research programme, including the central digital platform through which all parties involved can contribute. It also aims to create public and partner engagement with the programme’s current pilot schemes and funding opportunities.
“Our brand reflects our ambition to bring together people from all backgrounds and communities across the UK to create community of volunteers that truly reflects the whole of the population,” says Our Future Health’s CCO, Michael Warren.