Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Let's get Physiological

We first got involved with the project in April when we were invited by the Society (on recommendation from EPSRC, with whom we have an ongoing relationship) to take part in a competitive pitch, which we subsequently won. The Physiological Society last undertook a rebrand in 2006, gaining a new logo and brand guidelines.

The existing printed materials loosely reflected these guidelines, but as a collection the leaflets and posters lacked consistency and a strong visual identity. As such, our role was not only to refresh the visual identity of the Society but to also ensure this new identity was applied consistently and correctly across all of its printed materials, helping to increase the profile of the Society amongst its varied audiences, including within Industry and Parliamentarians.

We obviously managed to impress the right people at the Society as Clare Kingston, Head of Media and Communications at the Society, had this to say:

“Not only have ttp been brilliant in delivering a fantastic new brand identity and design on budget, they have been great fun to work with too. Refreshing a brand in a member organisation can sometimes be a tricky process but Jim, Mark and the team have produced a contemporary look that is still sympathetic to our roots as an established scientific organisation. They have been a pleasure to work with and our Members love the new designs.”

There were a number of things we had to be aware of when we started the project. As part of the brief we were advised that the Society was not looking for a complete overhaul of the branding, but more of a refresh/evolution. This was because the existing logo was firmly established amongst the scientific community, and, given the economy the Society didn’t want to be seen to be spending frivolously on design. The Society however was looking for ways in which to evolve the brand cost effectively. We also had to consider that as a science organisation, the Society is reliant on strong branding and eye-catching design to make the occasionally ‘dry’ subject matter more appealing.

As physiology is the science of how different systems function in the body, the existing logo was based on a visual representation of an ‘action potential’ – the electrical impulse in a nerve cell. This change in electrical activity is represented by the rise and fall of graphic lines in the logo – a nice idea but we felt the graphic was a bit dated.

So, using this as a reference point, we came up with a number of options for the logo, designing a couple of safe options where we stuck closely to the existing style and retaining the action potential concept, along with some that pushed the boundaries in a variety of directions. After presenting our ideas to the Society, we then developed one of the ideas routed in the action potential curves and a cleaner, more accessible and contemporary logo was born. Featuring a primary colour palette of navy and cyan, the five waves create a bolder and more impactful identity whilst reflecting the gravitas and expertise of the Society.

The new logo has been implemented across all printed materials including booklets, posters, exhibition banners and pop up stands, stationery and business cards. We also produced a set of brand guidelines, which detail electronic use as well as print. The updated website is based on these guidelines and has just gone live.

Furthermore, the update of printed / marketing materials forms part of a wider communications review conducted across the Society this year to ensure it is communicating as effectively as it can with its variety of audiences which include senior scientists, early career scientists, undergraduates, schools, policy makers, Industry and the general public.

You can download the full guidelines here or view image examples below.

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