Dn&co has branded Advanced Research Clusters (ARC), a real estate network which aims to group together companies working across the science and innovation sectors.
ARC provides a variety of spaces for companies, from coworking offices to open-access R&D labs, in cities like Oxford and London.
Dn&co has worked on brand strategy, naming and ARC’s visual identity. The design team was inspired by ARC’s cluster networks, incorporating what it calls a “cluster effect” into the branding.
“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.
He adds, “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.”
The branding incorporates nodes and edges, which are terms for shapes within graph theory, as a way to represent people, places and the relationships that exist between them, according to the design team. The newly-designed wordmark and symbol (which Dn&co has terms “The Node”) have been designed to represent ARC as a unified whole, the designers explain.
Dn&co also created a generative tool which helped to create a suite of sub-brands for ARC. The tool combines binary code and a plus code (an open-source digital address), taking the plus code for each campus’ coordinates and converting it into a binary string which relates to the location. These then form a marque which is unique to a specific location.
“As designers, we’re fascinated by icons and codes, and how people relate to them,” Dn&co creative director Patrick Eley adds. The tool therefore is a way to create a “unique formula for a series of sub-brands that locate and identify each campus specifically in space”, he adds.
When these visuals are placed together, they create ARC’s marque: a complete circle. “The singular circular ARC marque represents the assembled strength of all the different campuses within the network, as if the sub-brands for these spaces were layered one on top of the other,” Eley explains.
The design team also incorporated what Eley calls “opinionated condensed” typography to highlight the strength of ARC’s cluster ecosystem. ARC’s branding will roll out online and on campuses throughout the rest of the year.