Cambridge Design Partnership

Creating a springboard for growth for this global R&D business

Cambridge Design Partnership (CDP) creates ‘first of a kind’ product innovation to fuel its clients’ success in consumer, healthcare, energy and industrial markets. Passionate, human and open, CDP has a powerful offer and well-aligned culture.

However, as it targeted larger, more global clients, and opened its first US office in Palo Alto, it became clear that the existing ten-year-old brand no longer reflected its ambition or ability.

We partnered with CDP to distil its internal culture, articulate its unique story, and communicate its offer through a visual identity and touchpoints that would cultivate trust from global players and support growth in new markets.

Objective

We identified immediately that Moving Brands and CDP are kindred spirits: both companies operate simultaneously in the worlds of design and technology. It was from this empathy that a particularly creative partnership emerged. We recognised that CDP’s ability to stretch across design and science spectrums was unique, powerful, and would differentiate it as it grew.

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Approach

Workshops with people across the whole business proved they knew their own strengths, and client interviews supported these findings: CDP was valued as an innovation partner that could combine technology with design, ensuring products and services were created with real human needs at their core.

However, the existing business story ‘Think differently’ – although genuine – was almost a replica of Apple’s ‘Think Different,’ an irony that worked directly against communicating its truly innovative approach. We redefined the brand story as ‘Potential realised,’ precisely encapsulating the company’s purpose and its ability, through innovation, to realise potential for its clients.

The name and visual identity should capitalise on links to Cambridge as a world-leading technology centre, while ensuring it was not perceived as provincial. We retained the name Cambridge Design Partnership as it anchored the business to positive perceptions, but we knew its length would present challenges across applications. We created a symbol to work alongside the wordmark, which in time could be used exclusively to represent the business in all markets.

This symbol and accompanying visual identity system flowed from tensions inherent in the business: between design + science, curiosity + focus, technical + human. A combination of straight and curved components form an ownable mark that feels both engineered yet human.

Graphic textures are created by rotating and cropping this symbol, to create a range of expressions, from measured and precise to vibrant and expressive. Pressura Mono is used to deliver prominent information, supported by Kefa II pro, a more human typeface, when delivering long passages of text or quotes. The photography style focuses on the team, highlighting their expertise, showcases innovation in an ownable environment and demonstrates the human benefit of the product.

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Results

The rebrand coincided with the opening of state of the art facilities, where the identity has been boldly employed: from feature walls in conference rooms to charming way-finding iconography. The new brand has been embraced enthusiastically by all levels of the business. It successfully crystallises CDP’s powerful offer and vision to support its on-going growth.

Our customers were small businesses looking for local companies. Now our clients are international companies, and first impressions are very important. When they meet us, how they perceive the services and quality is crucial. The new brand conveys this, and, as the first element that explains what we do and the quality we can provide, it’s going to be vital to our development in the US.

Mike Cane, Founder, Cambridge Design Partnership

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