National Child Development Study

UCL’s National Child Development Study, run by the Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS), turned 60 in March 2018.

Challenges & opportunities

Our primary challenge was to create a special anniversary brand identity that we could apply consistently across all media – to the commemorative book, to a birthday card and to banners and printed materials at an anniversary conference. We also wanted to reflect the branding in any commissioned illustration, animation, and video production.

Furthermore, while we wanted to produce a book that felt like a personal record for all the study participants, we had always to respect the need for confidentiality, this meant that most of the personal reflections and memories from study members could only be included anonymously in the book.

To celebrate this milestone – and particularly to thank all the families that had taken part – the CLS planned a series of events and activities, including producing a commemorative book to gift to the participants as they themselves turned 60.


The Tree of Life – representing the passage of time – inspired our approach to the anniversary logo. We commissioned Sue Gent as our illustrator and asked her to base her illustration on an oak tree, a symbol of knowledge and longevity. We chose a gold foil on a stately blue, reinforcing the specialness of the anniversary and the serious significance of the study itself.

We applied the branding to all aspects of the project: a 64-page hardback book (and other printed literature), conference banner stands, an animated conference presentation – and a promotional video.

During the early stages of the book planning, it became clear that a specially commissioned short film would increase the impact of the anniversary beyond the study cohort. We worked with our associates Suited & Booted Studios to document the study, because we knew that their high production values would echo the quality we were aiming for in the book.

We connected the book to our logo by linking each chapter with a stage in the life of an oak – from seedling to fully grown tree. We used visual clues to personalise the content so that it would resonate with the study participants, helping them remember particular times in their lives – the chapter openers, for example, are illustrated with photos of memorabilia from each period, while a continuous but discreet timeline along the bottom of each page places the research in the context of key world events. Bright, clear infographics convey key findings from the study, reminding the participants of the global importance of their contribution.

Finally, a selection of letters written when the participants were 11 years old and detailing their hopes for their future set next to the stories of how their lives have turned out gives the book a deeply personal tone. We concluded the book with a call to action, encouraging the participants to remain invested in the study in the years to come.

“Their suggestion to commission an illustration as the foundation of the anniversary brand was a brilliant idea. It gave us a device which could be applied across an array of materials, from a birthday card to an animation and a hardback book.

The book, a special keepsake for study members, was one of the major deliverables for this project. It was a big and complex piece of work. They handled this efficiently, flexibly and calmly, ensuring the job was delivered on time and to an excellent standard. I’m so pleased we entrusted The Co-Foundry with this project. I’ve enjoyed working with them and am really happy with the results.

—Katherine Butler, Website and Special Projects Manager, UCL Centre for Longitudinal Studies

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