Branding Actual Rocket Science

London creative agency dn@co creative director Patrick Eley notes that his company’s branding for the Harwell Science and Innovation campus was a distinct challenge. "It's easy to say that graphic design isn't rocket science, but designing a brand that needs to resonate with rocket scientists can be unnerving. Gimmicks and clichés won't do.”

Harwell is a 700-acre science and technology campus in Oxfordshire, England. More than 600 people work there, studying and innovating the sciences of space, clean energy, life sciences, and quantum computing. Companies onsite include the European Space Agency, Public Health England, and the Faraday Institution, to name a very few.

The designers were faced with not only knitting together the disparate and complex organizations in the new identity, but also creating something that the general public could appreciate. Their solution was to substitute a carat for the A in Harwell.


“If science is how we understand the world around us, then mathematics is the universal language of science — transcending discipline, age and time,” Eley says in a CreativeBoom article. “Code, on the other hand, is the universal fabric that builds our modern world, and across both languages, the caret ('^') operates as a symbol of change and exponential growth. It means 'to the power of', but here the caret also stands for progress, reflecting Harwell's role in powering up the science and innovation community.”

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