Published: 3 April 2017

One brand doing the work of two

Dr Hadwen Trust funds research. But not just any research. The research it funds looks to take animals out of laboratories, replacing these techniques with new ones that are more accurate and, crucially, don’t use animals. 

Money was tight, but the dream was big. So how to make it come true?

An impossible brand task?

To really change how medical research is carried out, Dr Hadwen Trust realised it needed to up its game. It worked out it needs £10m a year to make a real difference. So it wanted a new brand to help raise more money, mostly from people interested in animal welfare.

But a new brand couldn’t just represent animal lovers. The charity needed a brand as comfortable walking through the gates of a vegan festival as striding through the glass doors of a world-class research institute.

So we worked together with staff at the charity to join the dots and distil its restless energy into a new brand positioning. We drew upon its individual expertise and experience, using a co-creative workshop to define what the charity should represent in the future.

The new positioning is about compassion for animals and commitment to medical research: advancing human health whilst ending the use of animals. The charity’s twinned beliefs are enshrined at the very centre of what the charity stands for, left and right brain working as one.

What’s in a name?

With new messages behind it, the charity felt its name was holding it back. The old name, ‘Dr Hadwen Trust’, had a great story but wasn’t clear enough when reaching out to new people.  

Testing with their audiences we found descriptive names worked better, and Animal Free Research UK leapt ahead of the pack.

‘Animal Free’ lights up the eyes of animal rights supporters, whilst the strong connection to research wins over the hearts and minds of research scientists. Win-win.

A brand brought to life

Animal Free Research UK’s new, campaigning visual identity brings all this work to life.

The liberation of animals at the heart of the brand amplifies the new name and positioning. It cements the charity’s role in promoting the power of science and technology to replace animals in medical research.

The logo changes the label. It breaks free of old thinking, and shows the charity taking pride in their goal of medical research without animals. It’s a label to rally behind for supporters, and a badge of pride for scientists committed to research without the use of animals.

It’s a bright, positive brand, capturing an organisation that doesn’t just disagree with the status quo, but wants to change it. Permanently. Animal Free Research UK's development director, Emma Wrafter, said:

Our new brand is fresh, innovative and ground-breaking – just like the work we’re doing to replace animals in medical research. To fulfil our ambition for animal free research we want to increase our income to fund more scientists, universities and institutes to provide ethical, robust and evidential solutions which save animals from the labs. Our new brand will make it much easier to communicate this mission to supporters and support the growth we need.

Animal Free Research UK‘s new identity gives hope for the future, a future where they help stop animal testing forever.


Marcus Watson, strategy and research consultant, Spencer du Bois

Marcus is a strategy and research consultant at Spencer du Bois. He likes nothing more than helping charities find the right words to champion their cause.