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Cancer Research UK – shining a light on cancers affecting children and young people

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September was Childhood Cancer Awareness month and to mark it we are delighted to have given Cancer Research UK’s ‘Kids & Teens’ proposition an overhaul, shining a light on the charity’s new research strategy to improve survival and long-term outcomes for children and young people with cancer.

The need for a separately focused proposition stems from the fact that cancer in children and young people is different from cancer in adults.  It also presents different challenges, including the types of cancer that develop, the impact of treatment, and the long-term side effects following treatment. 

Research showed that the previous look and feel represented very young children, despite the demographic being aimed at teenagers and young adults up to the age of 24.  

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Our strategic repositioning began with a more accurately descriptive name: Cancer Research UK for Children & Young People, chosen in conjunction with those directly affected by children’s and young people’s cancers. Rather than a separate proposition and to add more gravitas, the logo is now a lock-up with the main charity masterbrand.

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Beyond the logo, there is much greater freedom with how the proposition is expressed visually. Dots of varying scales and are an integral part of the masterbrand’s visual language, so we used this to develop a series of circular graphic patterns that adapt to appeal to radically different ends of the age spectrum.

For children (0-14), simple and loose hand-drawn patterns mimic a child's scribble. Patterns aimed at young people (15-24) are more refined, with an increased level of detail.  Managing Director, Ady Bibby says “the proposition and visual interpretation engages young adults in a way that its predecessor, Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens, wasn’t able to.”

Dr Áine McCarthy, who led the project at Cancer Research UK says: “Researching children’s and young people’s cancers is an important part of our work. We have a long, positive track record in this area, but we’re determined to do more to help improve survival and long-term outcomes for children and young people with cancer. 

“To do this, we needed to update our branding so that it better reflects our work and ambition. True North took on this challenge and succeeded. Through open conversations with numerous stakeholders, clear, strategic thinking that got to the heart of the issues and a clear passion for the project, they identified the challenges we were facing and provided solutions. The end result, Cancer Research UK for Children & Young People, is something that truly reflects our work in this area and keeps those affected by children’s and young people’s cancers at its heart.”

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