Marina Willer rebrands Blood Cancer UK, with a visual personality that is “both scientific and kind”
The Pentagram partner and her team revamped the charity’s identity, with a new hand-drawn “B” symbol that subtly speaks to all facets of its work.
Pentagram partner Marina Willer and her team have rebranded Bloodwise, now named Blood Cancer UK, to help u-turn the charity’s decline in donations by bringing clarity and personality to its branding. Willer worked with the organisation, which was started by one family in 1960 and has since spent over £500 million on research into the disease, to create a new symbol, logo, graphic language and tone of voice.
The “B” symbol unifies the identity: a hand-drawn, red, heart-shaped letterform that links to Blood Cancer UK’s name, and its new tagline “Because”. This tagline is used in campaign imagery to create phrases that link back to the charity’s purpose, for example: “Because we research, we care, we support,” and “Because of Lisa, because of Norah, because of Richard”. Willer explains of the symbol’s design that, like all good logos, it had to cram so much into as simple a graphic as possible.
“The logo and identity have to communicate so many things, from care to research and campaigning, with a personality that is both scientific and kind, passionate and considered, personal and collective,” she tells It’s Nice That. “So we created this flexible device, which also indicates passion as it resembles a love heart. This charity feels like a small community. It started from the story of one family and has grown to a bigger family of everyone affected.”
Hence, in contrast to the painterly style of the “B”, the typography conveys the scientific side of its image, “bringing a level of authority,” Willer says. “The supporting typeface is more pragmatic and to the point.”
“In a nutshell, the brief was that people were confused about its brand and its name. Most didn’t know what Bloodwise stood for,” Willer explains. “It needed clarity. But it also needed to show that it deals with many types of blood cancer, and in many facets. In-depth research into the organisation was conducted before our involvement with strategist Mark Radda. That showed us what its community felt the brand needed to do. We took the positioning already established by Mark and expressed it through one common approach.”
Blood Cancer UK was started by David and Hilda Eastwood who lost their daughter Susan to leukaemia. In the 60s, survival rates were low, with most children dying from the disease, so the Eastwoods started fundraising in the hope of finding a cure, and now eight in ten children diagnosed with a blood cancer survive. Now the charity supports anyone affected by blood cancer, while continuing to fund vital research. It’s hoped that the new, clearer name and more characteristic identity will help to raise awareness and support for its work.
GalleryMarina Willer / Pentagram: Blood Cancer UK
Marina Willer / Pentagram: Blood Cancer UK