An expression one often hears in Advertising is, “the DNA of a Brand”. It’s one of those ‘buzz’ words the industry uses to re-vamp itself. I’ve always questioned it’s useability. It implies that a brand has a core structure, that we must always focus on the molecular chain of imagery and words used to convey a brand, focus on the core essence, the heart of it. But ‘buzz’ words are the contradiction, they do the opposite, they weaken a brand – a fickle form of communication. Being authentic, tried, true and tested. Be scientific with your brand, threading carefully and methodically, research it, test it. Look at what has gone before, build on what is known, that is true invention, that is how most eureka moment are experienced.
The latest portfolio piece for Marvelous was approached with this in mind. A branding exercise for the UK’s leading genome research institute – Sangar. Insignia is just one of their many projects and I was contacted by the chief researcher to provide imagery for a research project into DNA mutations and signatures in certain types of cancer patients. Buzz words would not be the best place to start.
The solution was to give a humane, colorful and optimistic look to a very serious project in cancer research. Usually such projects are presented in a very medical fashion, frequently they are too scientific in presentation. The main task at hand for the researchers is to find cancer patients that will submit blood samples so that more can be learned about DNA signatures, mutations and their patterns in these illnesses. It’s is probably the most humane project I have ever worked on in my entire career. By far the most relevant.
The decision was to use the commonly recognizable imagery of aging tree rings. This is essentially what cancer genome researchers do. They look at patterns of time, sequences of age. If they can see what is happening in mutations they can perhaps halt it, reduce it or alter its progression. For Marvelous to help such monumental scientific work by giving it a ‘look and feel’ was a pure honor. It looks good, but the feeling it gives – is beyond words.