New look for the Department of Biology

Over the summer, the Department of Biology launched our new branding and website ahead of the formal merger in August 2022.

To celebrate a new period of Biology in Oxford, we have launched a new series of logos and branding guidance that reflects this new department.  With this re-development, we want our new brand to incorporate the best of what Plant Sciences and Zoology currently offer, whilst also being bold and confident in projecting strong visions as to what Biology can offer.

These logos showcase the varied subjects within biology that we cover, and show the importance of our world-leading research that strives to answer some of the biggest questions of our time. Ahead of the formal creation of the Department of Biology, we want to develop a strong brand within and beyond Oxford University, communicating effectively the new formation and vision of Biology.

The logos were designed by a Bristol-based company called Peloton Design, and their concepts were reviewed by focus groups including senior academics, postgraduate and undergraduate students, and administrative staff. Our focus groups made it clear we needed traditional images of identifiable ‘things’, and that the mix of modern (shape) and traditional (painting) was important.

To make sure we had the ‘Oxford’ feel and connection, we searched the Ashmolean and Museum archives and found several paintings that worked with the logo and Oxford colour palette and that had suitably high resolution.

For our ‘lead logo’ we wanted an image that incorporated the world of both plants and animals, and still had an Oxford-connection. Happily, we came across a painting by Rosemary Wise (the Botanical Illustrator from the Department of Plant Sciences) that depicted a butterfly sitting upon a flower. With her permission, we selected this as our lead logo image.

Alongside the primary logo there are six alternative versions featuring different flora and fauna. Although the intention is that the most appropriate logo be used for the subject of the document (e.g. avian-based research would use the kingfisher), any one of these can be used in substitute for the primary logo. These images include a freshwater foraminifer slide made by the Department’s Professor Underhill, probably in the early 1900s, and a specially commissioned illustration of bacteriophage to reflect our cutting edge micro-bacterial research.

row of logos