Helping ideas to shine

Looking to the future
with a brand refresh for
the UK's innovation agency

The UK faces a challenging, dynamic future, from Brexit to climate change, ageing populations to rising automation. Innovate UK, as the government’s innovation agency, leads the UK’s investment in innovation. And yet even now, when this has never been more urgent or vital, the organisation’s brand awareness remains disproportionately low.

rbl was commissioned by Innovate UK to refresh its brand, help increase brand awareness amongst their key audiences, improve the efficiency of creating brand communications, strengthen the position of the brand as it became part of the UK innovation and research family and create a brand that maximizes the impact of their online content.

We began by working with internal stakeholders, reviewing previous research and talking to current customers to get under the skin of this complex organisation and its unique set of audiences.

This informed our approach, allowing us to take a complex brand with a seemingly unconnected set of brand elements and arbitrary rules, and rebuild it from the ground up around a clear set of principles. We created one unified, flexible brand language encompassing every element of the brand from messaging to imagery.

As this was a brand refresh, the core logo remained. However, we started by augmenting it with a graphic brand device – an abstract expression of the Fibonacci curve, forever linking Innovate UK with visionary innovation and the ripples of growth it creates. While the form of the device is born out of the history of innovation, the usage of the device was designed to reflect Innovate UK’s effect upon innovation within the UK:

Growth – the device always ‘grows’ over the edges of the page, panel or screen it’s placed in.

Focus – the device acts as a frame, drawing focus to a key piece of communication.

Evolution – just like the technology Innovate UK supports the device constantly evolves, changing how it appears through rotation, colour, scale and transparency.

We introduced a new display typeface with an editorial feel and a new more positive tone of voice – because not only is innovation newsworthy, it’s also a good-news story.

The brand colours form two palettes: one darker palette visually recedes from content to demonstrate Innovate UK’s behind-the-scenes support of innovation, while a second brighter palette shines a light on the organisation’s success stories.

Photography brings the many different types of innovation to life, with a unifying focus on character, context and colour to illustrate real-world impact and the personalities driving it.

After finalising the creative, our first priority was to create a set of comprehensive guidelines that would translate the brand principles into a set of usable and effective tools for use by internal and external and stakeholders.

We then rolled the brand out across a full set of templates for advertising, reports and various types of social media content, in-depth publication designs, video idents, event materials and internal communications.

The end result is a more recognisable brand that’s easy to work with and provides more creative freedom.

Young Innovators

We continue to support Innovate UK on the roll out of their brand and design of key campaigns, including a campaign in partnership with The Prince’s Trust to find the next generation of innovators: Ideas Mean Business.

Over 12,000 people engaged with the high-profile programme including print, social and event communications culminating in an awards ceremony in London to recognise 24 young innovators from across the UK.