Orbit: Start something big

A new brand identity for a University Enterprise Zone


No. 11759 | Brand

The Challenge

Name and position an incubator space as a prime location for ambitious technology and life science SMEs. 

The Outcome

A professional, exciting visual identity which captures the spirit of the University’s collaborative opportunities across science, technology and industry. 

Durham University’s Enterprise Zone

Durham University had been awarded £1.4 million in funding by Research England to create a ‘University Enterprise Zone’ (UEZ). This government-led initiative aims to support local economic growth through collaborations between researchers and local SMEs. 

Durham’s UEZ is based at NETPark in Sedgefield, the fastest-growing science park in the UK. The site houses around 15 businesses with a prototype laboratory, hot-desking facilities and meeting rooms. It supports a range of businesses, spin-outs from the University and start-ups working in fields such as photonics, chemistry, physics, data science and bioscience to develop innovative technology and products. 

Durham University wanted their zone to stand out, both as part of the University’s offering and as a science and technology hub for the North East. The new site needed to have a unique brand which reflected the scale of their activity and ambition and set it apart from the 22 similar UEZs across the UK.

Creating an identity

We were chosen to design the new brand identity and roll it out across digital and printed marketing collateral together with interior and exterior signage. Our goal was to create something welcoming and professional which generated interest in the hub’s potential while adhering to University guidelines.


We explored a number of concept routes with the University and decided to progress with the concept based on planets’ orbit. The word Orbit was stylised into a brandmark which could be used across various marketing material. The outer white and inner yellow circle in the letter ‘O’ were inspired by the planets – a subtle nod to the name. Colours were taken from the University’s primary colour palette and the position of the tapestry gave the impression of a satellite orbiting earth.

The supporting strapline ‘Start something big’ was added to provide more context around the brand identity. We used a fixed background image to provide a consistent level of recognition and recall, which can also be used as a photograph or as a graphic. Partnered with Durham’s trademark yellow, this helps to build an easily recognisable brand which stands out with confidence.

High-quality imagery within the block tapestry can adapt to suit a variety of marketing needs, allowing each visual to highlight a broad range of science and technology businesses, attracting a range of SMEs to the incubator.

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