Academic & Education


The new Institute of Democracy and Conflict Resolution (IDCR) was established to build on the University of Essex’s 40 years of practical and academic expertise in the field of human rights, justice and governance. Its vision was to become the largest purpose-built institute for independent research in the UK.

We needed to deliver a high profile solution with a global reach to the highest possible standard that communicated the relationship between the University and the IDCR, as well as the other key messages of the brand promise.

Brand Facts

  • The University of Essex is the UK’s highest ranked university for social science research.
  • The new Institute of Democracy and Conflict has been described as an ‘international beacon for democracy’.
  • Anchoring the university’s new Knowledge Centre, the multi-million dollar building accommodates research and training spaces, as well as seminars and consultancy activities.

Project Facts

  • The IDCR needed a clear and distinctive link to the University of Essex, and its own key messaging to define its direction and role within the faculty.
  • Mackman was commissioned to produce a brand strategy solution based on brand insight and analysis.

The Client

Furthering the pursuit of democracy

We analysed existing research and designed a series of focus groups with the University of Essex and the IDCR to determine how best to communicate the key messages in a cohesive, clear and impactful way.

We refined the existing vision and mission documentation following the focus groups to ensure that it accurately reflecting the direction and energy of this new department within the University.

We applied our solution to a range of online and offline collateral, dictated by the marketing strategy we helped their team develop.

The Challenge

Our creative team developed a brand strategy solution that was the result of informed research and analysis, following a robust process.

The Results

As a result of the focus groups, the branding and visual identity solution incorporated:

  • A content managed, responsive website – (please note that this website is no longer live as the University of Essex dissolved this department as the result of a strategic change of direction).
  • Email templates designed for target audience groups
  • Social media collateral
  • Print solutions ranging from brochures to leaflets and stationery
  • Photography
  • Brand colour palette
  • Signage used throughout the University
  • Presentation and event collateral

The project was delivered on time and within the agreed budget and it was very well received within the national and international academic community. We became the preferred partner of the IDCR and have been instrumental in a number of sophisticated projects involving the visual representation of complex human rights data: The Human Rights Atlas.

Read more about other marketing projects we have undertaken for the University of Essex including an exhibition stand to reflect their new brand proposition and an interactive installation piece for their 50th anniversary celebrations.

“I met with Paul Mackman, Bruce Burgoyne and James Royce throughout the initial briefing and design phases. The site needed maximum flexibility to be updated from around the world, as the IDCR had contracts and partners in many different countries, and as Director I wanted the capability to post blogs and photos from site visits and meetings as they we happening. The site also needed to be able to incorporate new pages, on line publications, and have a blog function. The end result became the envy of the University and met all of our requirements for the three years of the IDCR.”

“My relationship with Mackman has developed and has been strengthened by these very positive experiences of project work. They are valued partners for the University, and beyond my own engagement I know that they have also engaged in research and design projects for the Essex Business School and Communications and External Relations section. I can thoroughly and without reservation recommend Mackman to you for your business needs.”

Dr Todd Landman, Executive Dean – University of Essex