Cool brand, frozen continent: BRR puts its design work on ice

New Zealand has a special connection to Antarctica, due to a combination of our close proximity, the past efforts of explorers like Edmund Hillary and our ongoing investment into scientific research on, protection of and stake in the icy continent. And, in an effort to draw attention to some of the altruistic, world-leading work the New Zealand Antarctic Research Institute (NZARI) is doing to unlock the secrets of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, BRR was enlisted to create a new identity. 

Dr Ed Butler, manager of Antarctic Science at NZARI says he talked to the BRR team about working out a way to raise profile and awareness by being modern, clean yet creative, and tapping into the intrepid sense of adventure and discovery that is etched deep in Antarctica’s DNA. 

And to do this, says BRR’s Julian Smith, the agency developed the concept of the ‘Earth’s white box’, a metaphor to explain the relationship between the Antarctic continent and our planet that draws parallels from the idea of how a black box functions for an aircraft. 

“Speaking with the team from NZARI and what they do, we realised this continent holds the answers to many questions related to our planet’s wellbeing.”

The next challenge was to communicate this concept visually in a way that balanced the pioneering scientific research with the beauty of the continent. 

“We started talking about how the information on this continent was like an iceberg floating in the ocean. As icebergs reveal a small section of themselves above the horizon whilst concealing a greater part underwater, there is a large percentage of information that still requires investigating for the betterment of our planet’s future,” he says. “Combining the two metaphors, the team developed a simple, refined system that lets the beauty of the continent speak for itself by using the subtleties of layering, scale and textures that add detail and key messages.”

Using the modern, clean and creative brand that has been developed, BRR has worked with the NZARI to develop a fundraising and awareness campaign that to date has helped to raise over $3 million. 

“It is our hope that this may be a step in the right direction to visually encourage the importance of furthering and supporting scientific research in the environmental management of Antarctica,” says Smith. 

The Prime Minister is launching The New Zealand Antarctic Research Institute on 13 August and this will double as the official launch of the new brand. 

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