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How do you solve a problem like Antarctica?

How do you go about creating a brand for Antarctica? That was the challenge facing design and branding agency BRR when approached by the New Zealand Antarctic Research Institute (NZARI).

“When we started the project, we talked to the BRR team about working out a way to raise profile and awareness by being modern, clean yet creative,” says Dr Ed Butler, manager of Antarctic science - NZARI.

As BRR director/brand strategist Julian Smith says, it was a very unusual brief, designing a brand to help NZARI raise awareness of its work in unlocking the secrets of the Antarctic continent and the Southern Ocean.

"We wanted to create a new identity to hero the altruistic, world-leading work that the NZARI team does, while tapping into the intrepid sense of adventure and discovery that is etched deep in Antarctica’s DNA."

They came up with the concept of ‘Earth’s white box’ to explain the relationship between the Antarctic continent and our planet, drawing parallels from the idea of how a black box functions for an aircraft.

The next challenge was to translate this into a visual system to communicate the concept.

The key was crafting a message that balanced scientific research with the visual beauty of the majestic continent, he says.

"We started talking about how the information on this continent was like an iceberg floating in the ocean. As icebergs reveal a small section of themselves above the horizon whilst concealing a greater part underwater, there is a large percentage of information that still requires investigating for the betterment of our planet’s future."

Smith says the fundraising and awareness campaign BRR developed has to date has helped to raise over $3 million.