Report design – Research Consulting

Open Research Data Task Force report and theme design

Report of the Open Research Data Task Force – realising the potential

‘Researchers are creating, gathering and using data in hitherto-unimagined volumes. These vast data resources dramatically increase the capacity of science to infer patterns in phenomena, whether physical, chemical, biological or human, or in the complex systems that are at the heart of most global challenges.’  Report – Executive Summary.

The report entitled ‘Realising the potential: Open Research Data Task Force’, provides independent advice on Open Research Data (ORD), outlining ambitions for ORD in the UK and recommendations for achieving them.


Crayfish Design were asked by Research Consulting to create a visually engaging design to reflect the findings of the Open Research Data Task Force. The report itself was to be composed of six key sections, each with a significant proportion of text, including; recommendations, conclusions, reference links and supporting case studies.

The report was to be set as a screen PDF and hosted on the website


  • Identity and theme
  • Brochure design and layout


We sought to create a range of design options that would reflect the connectivity and harnessing of open data, but also look to avoid the stereotypical binary representations of ‘zeros and ones’ that are often seen in data related materials.

The chosen theme for the report utilised a series of crossing connection lines and node points to reflect the differences in data volume and pathways. Colour was then used to differentiate each of the sections.

Central to the theme was the creation of a Open Research Data Task Force logo. This was a simple circular formation that was constructed by interconnecting nodes with an alternating balance to represent the shift and flow of data. Furthermore, on the front cover of the report, the connection lines were used to represent of a pair of supporting hands that in turn nurtured the glowing logo form.

Open Research Data Task Force logo design

As the report was produced, it became clear that it should be split into two separate documents, the main report ‘Realising the Potential’ and a supporting ‘Case Studies Annex’ to provide easier referencing and to improve the on-screen navigation by reducing the number of pages being accessed at any time.

For legibility reasons and on-screen accessibility, the majority of the report needed to be set on white pages and have a ‘readable’ font size. Consideration was also given to the layout grid and content flow, as although the report followed a set hierarchy, each section also included non-linear requirements for cross-referencing and notes.

To support the case studies document, a series of icon forms were created using the same node construction method as the Open Research Data Task Force logo.

Open Research Data Task Force case study icons


What the client said:

“We worked with Crayfish Design to develop the design and branding for an independent report to the UK government. They quickly understood our requirements, and produced excellent conceptual options for us. Throughout the design phase they were professional, responsive and flexible, and delivered a really high quality end product. It was a pleasure to work with Jim and I’ve no hesitation in recommending Crayfish Design to others.”

Rob Johnson, Director, Research Consulting Limited

Related categories: Brochures and leaflets