Strategy – Identity – Digital – Print
Open Access (OA) has become an important way to make research findings freely available for anyone to access and view. Cambridge Open serves authors and the wider community by publishing high quality, peer reviewed OA content. They also support and promote all forms of OA that are financially sustainable.
Following on from our work on the Cambridge Core and Cambridge Elements identities, Branch were commissioned to create an identity that would demonstrate Cambridge Open’s offer. It was imperative that this identity was centred around a compelling story.
A primary consideration of this, and indeed any branding project, is the following: how does the brand fit into sector and how will the audience consider it against its competitors? We first needed to understand the landscape by conducting a detailed review of Cambridge Open’s competitors. This helped determine exactly how the brand will be experienced.
Working alongside our strategists, we facilitated a comprehensive, full day workshop. Our aim was to determine everything that Cambridge Open stands for and what it wants to achieve. The results and recommendations were then interpreted into a series of internal core statements, a story and a tone of voice. This all formed the foundations of Cambridge Open’s identity.
The Cambridge Open story
We collaborated with the wonderful writing agency Reed Words to craft a story for Cambridge Open. This story needed to connect with and inspire their audience by outlining their key principles, history and approach. Perfectly signed off with the positioning line ‘We’re taking knowledge forward’, this clearly expresses and indicates Cambridge Open’s aspirations.
Our solution for the Cambridge Open logo is centred around a playful interpretation of Open Access. We took the standard Copyright symbol and inverted it, putting the C and O into the correct order. More importantly, by doing this we created a visual metaphor for Open Access publishing, i.e. content that is free to use, recite and re-publish.
The visual language we produced for Cambridge Open was directly influenced by our story, in particular the line ‘we’re pioneering new ways to disseminate knowledge’. The resulting graphical style featured a series of ‘disseminating’ illustrations and was developed in such a way so it could be applied to any of the diverse subjects that Cambridge University Press publish.
Colour, typography and guidelines
Our approach had to be consistent and in keeping with previous identities that we’ve developed for Cambridge University Press. Therefore, as with the Cambridge Core and Cambridge Elements identities, we adopted the colour palette that’s used within The University of Cambridge’s guidelines. We also selected a lead typeface, LL Brown, that was perfectly suited to the brand and also worked harmoniously with the typography of the wider Cambridge University Press identity and sub-identities. All of which, along with the rest of the assets of the Cambridge Open identity, have been outlined within a comprehensive guidelines document.
Cambridge Open doesn’t currently have its own unique online presence. Instead it exists in numerous places within the family of Cambridge University Press’ publishing sites. To support this, we delivered a series of digital assets that could be used to promote Cambridge Open and its approach within any site that its content occupies.
It’s vital that any identity is fit for purpose, so from letterhead templates and notepads to posters and bookmarks – we designed a series of stationery pieces that explored various interpretations of Cambridge Open’s visual language and messaging.
To help Cambridge Open educate their audience, we developed a series of documents – both digitally and printed – to target specific audience groups and their varying needs. This helped to build brand awareness and drive an understanding of Cambridge Open’s offering and approach.
To support Cambridge Open when on the road, an array of event collateral was produced, covering pull up banners and show give-aways. All these elements had to be striking and deliver the message effectively within a crowded and visually noisy space.
We were more than happy to work with Branch again to help us create a new identity for our Open Access publishing. From the initial brief and workshop stage right through to concept stage and delivery, Branch were yet again, a pleasure to work with. They are extremely thorough, considerate and highly creative and delivered a strong brand that has been very well received. Branch were also considerate and sympathetic as to how the OA brand would fit and speak with our other sub-brands, something which was incredibly important to us given the diversity and breadth of our publishing.
We also worked with Branch on design work ranging from sales brochures, banners, FAQ guides to a breath-taking animation to launch the brand at both the Frankfurt and London Book Fairs. We were really impressed with their creativity and design and I’d highly recommend all of the services they have to offer.
Senior Brand Development and Media Manager
Cambridge University Press