Brand report: Heart Research UK

The charity was looking for flexibility when it redesigned its logo

Heart Research UK's new branding
Heart Research UK's new branding

Heart Research UK decided to refresh its branding when it realised its mission had evolved beyond its original purposes.

When it was launched 45 years ago as the National Heart Research Fund, the charity's core concern was medical research. It has since expanded into areas such as prevention and rehabilitation.

"We help people's hearts in all sorts of ways now," says Barbara Harpham, national director of Heart Research UK. "We wanted to update our look so that it better reflected what we do."

The charity had rebranded to Heart Research UK eight years ago and didn't want to change its name again, so it decided more subtle branding changes would be the best option.

"We found that companies and people would comment on how nice it was to work with us, how flexible our approach was and how open we were to new ideas and ways of working," says Harpham. "So we thought about whether our logo reflected that and decided to make some changes."

Heart Research UK's old brandingThe charity decided to retain the shape and design of its logo but to add the slogan "helping hearts". It also opted for a more rounded font to communicate a warmer look.

"We wanted people to look at our logo and think we were a warm, approachable, friendly charity that didn't just do heart research," says Harpham.

The charity used the expertise of one of its trustees, a marketing specialist, to help design the look, which Harpham estimates has cost £2,500.

She is particularly pleased with the flexibility the logo offers. It has enabled people to personalise what they are doing for the charity: for example, phrases such as "We've been helping hearts" or "I've been helping hearts" have been used on certificates of appreciation and badges, and in pop-ups on the internet.

"Our corporate partners really like the new logo," says Harpham. "They say people can now see why they are supporting us, because we help hearts all the time in lots of different ways."

The next step is a revamp of the website to bring it in line with the look. "It's been a progression over 10 years and we finally feel we have something that will tell people what we do when they look at it," says Harpham.

EXPERT VIEW: Chloe Allan, brand planner, The Good Agency

Chloe Allan, brand planner, The Good AgencyThis brand tweak has met the brief. There is no doubt that the use of an almost handwritten font makes Heart Research UK appear more approachable, warm and friendly.

The addition of the slogan "helping hearts" also successfully demonstrates the breadth of the work it does, as well as giving the scientific process of research a very human feel.

I can't help but feel, though, that this warmth jars with the rather cellular, scientific, icon within the logo, with the result that it lacks a sense of internal coherence. Although the slogan gives an element of flexibility and shareability, its use also adds an extra element of complexity to the identity.

I worry that this could make the updated brand difficult to apply to marketing materials while keeping the message consistent.

Score:
Creativity: 2
Delivery: 3
Total: 5 out of 10

Gemma Quainton recommends

Heart Research UK

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