Research Complex at Harwell Brand overview

Research Complex at Harwell (RCaH) is a world-class institution dedicated to research across the life and physical sciences, based at the heart of Harwell’s thriving science and technology campus. Professor David Payne, Research Complex’s Director, approached us as part of a successful three-way tender to look at its brand identity.

The brief

A key consideration was how the new brand would sit within the UKRI brand family, but equally important was to distinguish it somehow from the other nine research councils with which it has close collaborations. Each council is attributed its own colour palette and distinctive individual shape, which are taken directly from a section of the UKRI logo. We needed to somehow convey that RCaH is at the heart of this collaboration often working with a number of the councils at one time sharing information and research.

The creative idea

As an impactful and simple link with the UKRI, we took its brand ‘colour wheel’, which accommodates all nine councils within its palette, and converted it to multicolour graduation as a visual demonstration of how RCaH collaborates with all of them on some level. We called this the ‘solar flare device’. The blending of all nine palettes (councils) into one continuous graduation perfectly resembled RCaH collaborative methodology and ethos


Brand Identity
Social Media
Powerpoint Template

Core branding concept device – the solar flare graphic formed from the UKRI colour wheel

Using the ‘solar flare’ effect in conjunction with UKRI research council shapes as masks

We cleverly utilised the council ‘shapes’ taken from the UKRI guidelines and used them as masks against a set of colour gradients taken from the solar flare.

This treatment created some interesting abstract graphics. When these are used in conjunction with the bespoke brand photography, the combination of all three assets creates powerful and unique imagery.

person12webp belen-1
person1 belen-2

Creating a unique suite of Photography

We created a suite of dynamic images that Research Complex could take ownership of. This involved combining two images together for graphic effect. One of the images involved a person or persons in a science-based environment, the other was based on a detail taken from a piece of scientific research and discovery.

Establishing core messaging and strapline

We worked with the core team on messaging and organised a series of workshops, meeting with staff and key stakeholders to distil the core purpose and vision for Research Complex. This was encapsulated in the strapline “Accelerating Research Collaboration’.


The interactive guidelines we produced enabled the recipient to get to key pages through ‘one click’ links, enabling them to get to the information they required as quickly and efficiently as possible.