The Royal Marsden

Excellence as the driving and unifying force

The Royal Marsden is a world-leading cancer centre specialising in cancer diagnosis, treatment, research and education. They have two hospitals: one in Chelsea, London, and another Sutton, Surrey. In partnership with the Institute of Cancer Research, they undertake groundbreaking research into new cancer drug therapies and treatments. The partnership makes them the biggest and most comprehensive cancer centre in Europe, with a combined staff of 3,500. The Royal Marsden was founded in 1851 by William Marsden. Today the organisation continues to build on this legacy, raising standards to improve the lives of the 40,000 cancer patients from across the UK and abroad that they treat each year.

Our engagement began at a time where public healthcare in the UK began changing. As the NHS evolves, patients have more choice. In a market where the public and private sectors are both competing for patients, The Royal Marsden recognised it needed to stand out from the crowd.

We helped The Royal Marsden identify and communicate their story, founded on delivering excellence. We then set out to champion the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, driving their overall objective to become a top 10 charity in terms of income by 2015 and communicating the awe-inspiring innovation work they fund. With a larger and more complex portfolio, we defined a strategy for The Royal Marsden to successfully manage their brands and branded relationships, preparing them for future expansion in the changing face of the NHS. The subsequent projects involved bringing to market their two offers that represented the pinnacle of excellence: private care and cancer diagnostics. Most recently, in 2012 we began a project to distinguish the school as its own entity while still keeping strong ties to the trust.


At the initial engagement, we gained an understanding of this complex organisation through in-depth analysis and collaborative workshops. It became clear that the pursuit of excellence is what drives every activity at The Royal Marsden – commonly understood as “The Marsden Way”. Employees described that dealing with cancer every day is what makes them understand how valuable life is, and when people entrust their lives to them, they have the right to demand the very best.

This core insight informed the story ‘Life demands excellence’. This story implies that The Royal Marsden is an organisation that values life and puts people first. It also implies that they are professionals who strive to be the best at what they do. It is a promise that defines who they are, how they act and how they should be communicating.



With the master brand identity, the objective was to elevate their strong heritage and standards of excellence imbued in their crest and various awards and accreditations, whilst also conveying modernity and their pioneering attitude. The Royal Marsden identity, referenced in all its sister brands, uses a colour palette that communicates warmth and provides distinction and differentiation in the sector. The rich tones evoke quality and excellence, and the secondary palette allows the brand to thrive in the whole range of communications from functional to expressive. The crest was redrawn from an existing original, and is used alongside Bruno Maag’s ‘Lexia’ font.

As for the charity, it needed to represent the solidarity between different beneficiaries involved and its role in facilitating their common goal of making life better for people with cancer and striving for a future without it. The mark was inspired by the structure and form of healthy cells in the human body, and at the same time represents the various people in the charity’s supportive eco-system. The cells are bright, vibrant and instantly recognisable. In terms of the name, the charity was previously called The Royal Marsden Cancer Campaign. This was misleading, seemed short-lived and implied that it was part of a ‘campaigns department’. To make it clear that the organisation was in fact a dedicated charity working on behalf of The Royal Marsden and to elevate its valuable work, we changed the name to The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.

For the cancer diagnostics brand, a master texture and supporting textures were developed to represent the different services: histopathology, molecular diagnostics, cytogenetics and immunophenotyping. The master texture draws on the diagrammatic visual language of advanced diagnostics. It represents the uniqueness of a patient’s genetic profile, inferring the utterly tailored nature of the service.



The new identity successfully consolidated The Royal Marsden’s positioning in the market and has been implemented across all touch points on the patient journey, starting with the hospital itself, their website, GP handbooks, and all communication and templates internally and externally. As part of the launch, Moving Brands worked with The Royal Marsden to create a “Brand Clinic” function, which serves to support and inspire all those who utilise the brand.

As Moving Brand’s house charity, we are able to give on-going support to developing The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity’s strategic and creative work, and have collaborated with the team on a number of projects, across all touch points on the patient journey from digital to installation, communication and photography.

We conceptualised and designed the Sponsor a Day wall, a way for supporters of the Charity to share their personal messages or commemorate a special day on the installation’s calendar cells.

We’re proud to continue to be The Royal Marsden’s creative partner and collaborate on a wide range of on-going projects. Join us on Twitter and our social channels to find out more about the work we do with The Royal Marsden as we launch new projects.