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Fibonacci sequence inspires new brand identity for The Institute of Cancer Research

The ICR logo on the Brookes Lawley Building (September 2014)

The new logo on display

The Fibonacci* sequence and images inspired by science and medicine feature prominently in a bold rebranding of The Institute of Cancer Research, London.

The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) is one of the world’s most influential cancer research institutes, and its new visual identity is intended to help it develop the profile to match.

A new logo features a series of coloured bars reminiscent of the bands on a gel, stained sections of chromosomes or drug capsules – representing the ICR’s research and the benefits it brings for patients.

The bars increase in size in proportion to the mathematical Fibonacci sequence, combining with the optimistic colour palette to convey a sense of progress, discovery and innovation.

This bold theme supports the ICR’s positive new verbal identity, including its new mission statement: to make the discoveries that defeat cancer.

Professor Alan Ashworth, chief executive of The Institute of Cancer Research, said: “Our pioneering researchers have delivered tremendous benefits for cancer patients, but cancer research is a challenging and competitive field, and we cannot afford to stand still. The new identity will help us raise our profile so we can continue to attract both the funding and the bright minds we need to help us make the discoveries that defeat cancer.”

The ICR has an outstanding track record dating back more than 100 years, and is behind some of the most important discoveries in cancer research. It provided the first convincing evidence that DNA damage is the basic cause of cancer, laying the foundation for the now universally accepted idea that cancer is a genetic disease.

The ICR commissioned leading brand consultant Saffron to lead the year-long project to reshape its visual identity.

Saffron’s Principal Ian Stephens said “We feel honoured and privileged to be involved with the ICR’s work to defeat cancer and support its supremely talented people who make significant scientific discoveries for such a worthwhile cause.”

More than a fifth of the ICR’s 1,000 staff participated in interviews, workshops and an online survey as part of the project to create a stronger identity. The review focused on mission, culture and identity, to understand what makes the ICR unique.

The ICR also consulted on Saffron’s concepts with its students, supporters and partner organisations, such as The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust.

* The Fibonacci sequence is a set of numbers beginning with 0 and 1, where each subsequent number is the sum of the previous two - 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55. It is a pattern that commonly occurs in nature, for example in the arrangement of a pine cone or during cell division.

About Saffron Brand Consultants

Saffron is a global brand consultancy. At the heart of the company’s approach is a commitment to helping their clients transform their businesses through Clarity & Courage - combining the clarity of rigorous thinking with the courage of bold ideas, to creative thinking and powerful techniques of brand strategy, expression and experience.  Founded by Wally Olins and Jacob Benbunan in 2001, the company has worked with clients including KPMG, Goldman Sachs, the city of London, White & Case, King's College London, Lloyd's of London, McKinsey & Co., Swiss Re, St. Peter's College Oxford, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, C&A and Coca-Cola. Saffron has offices in London, Madrid, New York, Mumbai, Istanbul and Vienna.

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