1970 British Cohort Study

50th Anniversary Identity

Pinning a moment in time

Fifty years ago, a group of Gen Xers became part of something special – a birth cohort that would be tracked by scientists more closely than almost any other.

The 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70), run by UCL, documents the lives of more than 17,000 people born in England, Scotland and Wales in a single week. One of the world’s most valuable studies of human development, the information it collates is a vital source of evidence informing key policy areas such as social mobility, education, employment and economic insecurity.

In January we were asked to create a suite of materials to celebrate the 50th year of this study and its subjects. Our first challenge: to create a visual concept that captures the diversity of the BCS70 cohort without using photographs or other elements that would breach the anonymity of its members.

Tapping into the nostalgia that surrounds big birthdays, we explored a number of retro routes before arriving at badges – tiny accessories that make a huge statement about who you are and what you care about. And in the weeks that followed, the studio became overrun with Prefect, Frankie Says Relax and Girl Power pins (many from our own collections).

Through a carefully curated selection illustrating both pivotal historical moments and life events, we told the story of the last 50 years as seen through the eyes of those who have shared their experiences with this project.