Council takes Workroom medicine

The Medical Research Council will unveil a revamped identity, designed by The Workroom, next month, as the 90-year-old organisation moves to improve awareness among the public of its advocacy role in medical research.

Set up in 1913 as a taxpayer-funded body, but run independently of Government, the MRC has an annual budget of more than £400m to support medical research with the aim of improving human health. Together with the Wellcome Trust, it is currently funding the world’s largest study of genes, environment and health – the UK Biobank Project.

The consultancy has been briefed to produce a range of options for updating the identity, which involves looking at how its 40-odd research units link together. Generating greater public awareness is a key objective, says The Workroom creative director Martin Devlin.

MRC head of corporate communication Jane Gizbert says the work will address the perception that the organisation is ‘bureaucratic and distant’ in the eyes of the general public.

‘Our scientific base is reputable and strong, but that’s not always communicated by our actions,’ Gizbert says.

Devlin adds, ‘Research shows that while people didn’t recognise the MRC name, they did think it was a good body. [However] the current image is fairly uninspiring.’

The consultancy will also design applications for all the MRC’s visual material, from publications to recruitment advertising and has created the annual review, which is published this week.

The annual review (pictured) employs a ‘molecular structure’ on every page to ‘provide navigation through the document’ – inspired by Max Perutz, a pioneer of molecular biology, who worked at MRC in the 1940s.

The Workroom was appointed to both projects following creative pitches against unnamed groups.

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