University of Cambridge

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Mathematics

The Cantab Capital Institute for the Mathematics of Information (CCIMI) is a new project unit hosted within the Faculty of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge. The faculty is housed in a state of the art campus accommodating world class mathematicians, researchers and computer scientists. CCIMI members actively collaborate locally, nationally and globally, working together on high level projects based on fundamental mathematical problems and the methodology for understanding, analysing, processing and simulating data.

The brief

We were invited to tender for this project after carving a reputation for creating brands and developing websites for other large scale science projects such as those we have created for Graphene at University of Manchester and The Square Kilometre Array at Jodrell Bank. The University of Cambridge CCIMI is a complex project by anyone's standard but working with a specialist team within the Universities Faculty of Mathematics took this to a whole new level. Ultimately the brief was to develop a brand for the project and content managed website with where mathematicians, researchers and computer scientists could collaborate and share project ideas, software and papers. The solution required a full CMS to facilitate easy updates by marketing staff as well as specialist functionality for project users, allow them to update and share assets.

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Colours and branding

We decided quite quickly to adopt a geometric approach to the branding, the beauty of maths is often visualised in simple geometry and the project leads at CCIMI agreed this was a good rationale for the design language of both the logo and visual identity. We also quite quickly settled on a colour palette that was designed to lean towards medical and healthcare as this is where most of the project work had it's foundations. A burnt orange was used primarily as an accent colour for button actuations and call to actions, essentially to be a noticeable point of interface with the site.

Breathing life into theoretical concepts

The website is very research and project focused so to add interest and counter balance the ‘white paper’ feel we injected some movement in the form of animation in the top hero header of the the website.

This of course could not be just any animation it needed to feel geometric and computer generated. So we did exactly that… One of our developers at Carbon pulled together some complex Javascript which used maths to randomly generate moving nodes matching the polygon design language of the visual identity. To further embellish this we animated the logo which gently forms as the page first loads.

For the user interface design of the site we elected for subtle yet elegant transitions on button objects, information panels and  controls.

These can be appreciated most on pages such as ‘Publication and Software’ where filtering buttons gradually activate auto scrolling to content whilst filtering actions transition gently to fade out unwanted views of content panels.

Panels also use disclosure controls whose default behaviour is to hide some content encouraging the visitor to click the disclosure control unfolding the content card to reveal more.

The outcome

The University of Cambridge CCIMI is a long term project designed to bring together some of the leading minds in the field of Mathematics of Information. It's work will provide the foundations for the future of digital imaging in many fields such medicine, aerospace, science and big data visualisation. So far the website has helped recruit over sixty five professors, researchers, mathematicians, computer scientists and students who focus in this niche specialist area. At Carbon we're truly proud to be working with the University of Cambridge, playing our small part in the creation of a platform to support this ambitious project. For us here at Carbon, a boutique Manchester web design agency, it's wonderful for us to get the opportunity to work with the one of the worlds most renowned Universities.

In a dazzlingly complex world, you have to be able to discern the meaning in the mess. We are, in a figurative and literal sense, awash with what we call data… What we’re only now fully realising is twofold: the sheer quantity of data in any given domain; and the tools we need to make use of the information encoded in it. it is imperative we get machine learning right – progress here may represent some of the most important scientific advances in human history.

Professor Stephen Hawking, Speaker at CCIMI Launch

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