Heads together: design for research at the British Academy

design for research

Amid this most turbulent week in business and politics, we’re really pleased that a new piece of work we’ve completed for the British Academy for the Humanities and Social Sciences. We have designed and been involved in the printing of launch material of their latest major research project. Design for research, or promoting research and science, is work we enjoy because it’s contributing to genuinely helping people. And it’s not too often one can really make that claim as a graphic designer!

The leaflets we have completed launch twin projects that will look into ‘maths anxiety’ and the benefits of language learning.

It’s a topic that is particularly newsworthy today as the BBC reports that Nobel Prize-winning scientist Professor Paul North has expressed an anxiety that British departure from the European Union could result in ‘the biggest threat to British research in living memory’.



What started life as a brief for a couple one-page information sheets has ended up as rather a lovely pair of information graphics giving voice and personality to this launch piece.

It’s really good when a client acts as partner and encourages us to do something bold and distinctive with a piece of design for research. That’s certainly the case here.

As someone who suffered from ‘maths anxiety’ (it didn’t have a name back in the 1980s!) I am particularly happy to be involved with something helping people tackle this problem. Never did I think I would be involved with something that I felt so afflicted by!


design for research

‘Unsettling understandings of Maths Anxiety’ – our design for research work at the British Academy 



Away from the tricky topic of mathematics and on to language learning, somewhere I am far happier!

The second set of illustrations on this leaflet is more expressive and covers topics like literacy and sign language – and echoes the ‘head full of ideas’ concept begun above.

Illustrations like these can really bring an otherwise dry leaflet to life, giving an important project personality. As such we would always recommend a creative design response in a public policy brief, particularly eye-catching visuals.

We are clear that commissioning bold design for research makes a significant difference in its impact in the press and media. That fact alone makes this approach worth considering for projects large and small.


design for research

‘The Cognitive Benefits of Language Learning’ – our design for research work at the British Academy 



Our work for think tanks and industry groups is extensive, with three good examples of this, in print and online, below –

Our work for Parliamentary advisory body Policy Connect

Our work for the Royal Society of Arts

Our work for industry body the Rail Delivery Group


Read more about this project