Dn&co’s new branding for ARC emphasises its position in science

ARC is a real estate partner geared towards organisations and institutions specialising in science and innovation. These companies are brought together in place-based groups, or Advanced Research Clusters, positioned in and around cities like London and Oxford.

“When you think about business parks, what comes to mind are places at the edge of town, where people go to work and do little else,” says dn&co strategy director Simon Yewdall. “ARC is challenging that perception with an ecosystem that inspires people and empowers innovation across disciplines and locations. Using the language of clusters, the ARC brand signals a strongly bound community that is human, dynamic and fun.”

To help put a new spin on the category, dn&co worked across ARC’s brand strategy, narrative, positioning, identity, and the name itself. The visual identity centres on the ‘cluster’ concept and draws on mathematical graph theory to represent people, places and relationships.

Dn&co digital director Tom van de Velde also developed a tool that transforms the locations’ Plus Codes – open-source digital addresses – into binary code. The ‘1’ symbols for each unique binary string form a cut-out radial motif that is individual to each location, in doing so creating a set of sub-brands that distinguish between each of the campuses in the clusters.

The individual radial symbols might have gaps, but when layered they form a perfect ring, which “represents the assembled strength” of the different campuses within a network, says creative director Patrick Eley. It is complemented by chunky, condensed typography designed to “reflect the power of the cluster ecosystem”.

“Visually, the simple strength of the ARC identity is worlds apart from other brands in this space. Yet we also needed to design a flexible system that could adapt to the different campuses and locations that exist now and those that are yet to come,” Eley continues.

The ARC brand will roll out this year across print, digital and geographic touchpoints.