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Dragon Rouge works on a new brand identity for the newly created research council UKRI

Dragon Rouge was awarded the project of defining a new brand purpose for UKRI

Following a competitive pitch in January 2019, Dragon Rouge has been awarded the project of defining a new brand purpose for UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), and has created a new brand identity for the research council.

On the 1 April 2018, the British government passed the Higher Education and Research Act, which brought together nine of the UK’s leading research and innovation funding councils under a newly formed body called UKRI. It is responsible for over £7bn investment each year, employing 7,000 people across seven UK sites and four international offices.

Their role is to maintain and build the UK’s reputation for the physical, biological and social sciences, innovation, engineering, medicine, the environment and the cultural impact of the arts and humanities.

The brief for Dragon Rouge was to create a visual identity system that would explain the relationship between them and the nine councils.

Through a consultative process, Dragon Rouge worked closely with UKRI to tell a story that elevated their role above the functional task of distributing funding; creating greater pride among employees and demonstrating the wider value that UKRI delivers for government, the public and the wider world at large. This story centred on a simple idea of creating knowledge with impact.

UKRI’s new visual identity builds on this story and brings together the nine councils under a common design system, whilst at the same time allowing them to retain a sense of individuality. The council logos themselves are sections of the UKRI master logo, and help to tell a story of how the sum is greater than the parts. Dragon Rouge also introduced a broader colour palette, a bolder font family and graphic patterns across the whole organisation. All of these elements come together to create a modern, impactful identity system that is both flexible and dynamic, which ensures a clear consistent approach across UKRI and the councils.

UK research and innovation chief executive, Professor Sir Mark Walport, said: “UKRI has an important role to play and an important story to tell. The unified brand will help us to tell this story nationally and internationally.

“It shows how the organisation brings together the seven research councils, Research England and Innovate UK to deliver on our ambitions as a world-class funder, creating knowledge with impact across society and the economy.”

UKRI’s new visual identity builds on the strengths and heritage of its constituent councils and retains their individuality through a common design system. It will create a clear consistent approach across our portfolio of projects, centres and partnerships.

Katrina Nevin-Ridley, UKRI director of external relations, communications and public engagement, said: “Our new brand provides clarity and consistency across the organisation, and the bold colour palette helps to illustrate the innovative nature of the research we fund.

“It has been fantastic to work with colleagues right across UKRI and the Dragon Rouge team to create a system that reflects the individuality and the proud history of UKRI’s councils yet makes sense of the organisation as a whole.”

Dragon Rouge creative director Becky King, said: “It has been a privilege to work with UKRI and to create a refreshed brand, that not only helps tell a clear story of togetherness, but visually demonstrates it in a surprising way. Everything from the image style to highly contrasting colours and bold typographic treatment expresses their impact on society and generates an excitement that is fitting with their innovative and intelligent organisation.”

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