Cancer Research UK


Spotlighting science through purposeful brand activation.

From doubling UK cancer survival rates to helping prove the link between tobacco and cancer, Cancer Research UK (CRUK) has been helping beat more than 200 types of cancer for 120 years. And while its purpose is widely-known, the scientific advances it makes every day – and the positive impact these have on those living with cancer – are perhaps less well-understood.

For this reason – as well as growing public interest in science following the COVID pandemic – the team decided to evolve the CRUK brand in 2023. The updated brand needed to highlight the profound impact of CRUK’s ground-breaking research and spotlight its role in helping people live longer, better lives.

Following this evolution, CRUK was looking for a strategic design partner to bring its brand to life across key touchpoints for different audiences: people with cancer, their friends and families, volunteers, philanthropists, employees, supporters and researchers. In doing so, it hoped to encourage individuals to continue or start donating, fundraising, volunteering, pledging and partnering. This was about amplifying CRUK’s impact through purposeful brand activation – and spotlighting science and humanity in the process.


01. Image and footage library
02. Brand manifesto film

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Our work with Cancer Research UK

01.  Image and footage library 
02. Brand manifesto film

CRUK’s new image and footage library needed to reflect the creative principles set out in its recent brand evolution and provide its teams with assets infused with its confident, human, visionary and inclusive brand personality.

Managing everything from photographer identification to photoshoot planning, image selection and editing, we organised six shoots across different locations, from the CRUK laboratories in Cambridge to a grassroots football team in North London and a jiu-jitsu club in Brighton.

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Avoiding the tropes of generic lifestyle photography, we opted for a raw and authentic style that was about capturing everyday moments. Instead of using models, we used real people, with locations including individuals’ homes, local sports clubs, and wild water swimming lakes.

As well as images related to science, CRUK researchers and scientists, our shots also celebrated the humanity of the day-to-day experience of those living with cancer.

Our work with Cancer Research UK

01. Image and footage library
02. Brand manifesto film

The brand manifesto film needed to hero the human impact of CRUK's life-saving research and spotlight its track record in science and discovery. The narrative opens with key CRUK impact statements around research outcomes, before introducing the people who make such outcomes happen – from lab researcher Sigourney to cancer sufferer Nilesh – and championing the values of the organisation itself. The concept hinges around collective impact, an idea summarised by the film’s closing line: ‘We are all Cancer Research UK’.

By bringing together the science and humanity of the brand, we were able to clearly convey CRUK’s purpose: we exist to beat cancer. And with the brand’s employees providing the film’s voiceover, the sign-off feels like a rallying cry – a clear signal of the charity’s future intent and ambition.

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