07540 685718


Smith UK Ltd
Ideas Factory NUA,
Cavendish House,
St Andrews Hill, Norwich, NR2 4SN



Naming and branding in public sector

Smith deliver naming, branding and creative identity project for a new education college and enterprise park in Cambridge.

Following a competitive tender, Cambridge design company Smith have recently completed a project to name and design an identity for a new enterprise and innovation park for Cambridge called The Hive.

Designed for a generation of change, the Hive will work for the benefit of the whole community, pioneering business that's good for both society and the environment and delivered by an insightful partnership between local government, entrepreneurs and education. The first facilities will open in 2011 at a 1.92 acre site north of Cambridge city centre on King's Hedges Road between the Science Park and Orchard Park.

What will make it really different to other business parks is that its overarching focus will be on business that's good for society and the environment. The Hive will work with, and for the benefit of the whole community:

The project fell into two phases, naming and logo and organisational identity.

The naming and logo phase
Facilitated focus groups and a number of iterative stages of development worked through all the owned and unoccupied areas that the name could occupy. The client team finally settling on the name The Hive, the summary rationale being:

  • A hive is a traditional symbol for co-operation and a sustainable community
  • The honeycomb in a hive is made up of perfectly balanced units – reflecting the balance of interests combined in this centre
  • Bees are key to sustainable life on this planet - a fact that has been highlighted much by the media recently
  • Practically, the word is short and memorable.

The corporate logo is made up of three elements: the logo, the logotype and the strapline enterprise, education and environment which neatly sum up the three key pillars of the Hive's activities.

Smith's main brief was to communicate a busy and lively campus, a place made up of different buildings where people gathered together. The client didn't want a straight architectural representation of any buildings nor did they want an overtly 'eco' or 'green' visual styling. Smith wanted to avoid the obvious literal representation of a beehive. Director Adrian Kimpton said "we thought a relatively abstract approach would resolve these problems.

With such a strong name we decided we had to keep a kind of cellular honeycomb structure, but shaped it into an 'H' for Hive. We then extended this in a more irregular way to also create a converging 'swarm' or crowd of people around the central space. We 'pulled together' these two elements using a multi-coloured palette which is supposed to represent the variety of buildings and activities within The Hive and the diversity and individuality of the people inside". Kimpton went on to add: "I liked the way we were able to make something which was abstract yet also recognisable, I also like the way the logo implies a hub or meeting place just by using crowds".

The identity
The Hive needed a visual theme to help unite the partner organisations and bring the project to life in the eyes of peers and most importantly the local community. Given the diverse nature of the activities that would take place at the Hive and the reality that the Hive itself would be nothing but a building site for the next 2/3 years, an illustrative approach was adopted.

Through the illustration, the aim was to create a virtual environment where enterprise, education and environmental concerns lived and worked together in harmony. The broad colour palette drawn for the logo allowed each partner organisation / skills area to take control of a section of this environment while retaining a sense of unity. The simple, bold illustrative style is friendly and approachable, non-threatening, and the use of universally recognisable iconic elements (with a twist) means the diverse range of activities can be represented and built upon.