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HHMI: Janelia Farm

Janelia Farm Brochure

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Copyright © 2006, Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Produced for HHMI while employed at VSA Partners, Inc.

Brand initiatives can be fun, but when you have the opportunity to art direct and design the communications for a state-of-the-art biomedical research center where accomplished scientists from diverse disciplines use emerging and innovative technologies to pursue biology’s most challenging problems, well, don’t hesitate! Janelia Farm Research Campus (JFRC), a part of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, was conceived by the President of HHMI and the Director of JFRC. With Board approval, their vision, illustrated on the backs of several napkins, became a reality.

Today, JFRC, designed by Rafael Viñoly, occupies 689 wooded acres along the Potomac River, featuring a landscaped roof that is the second-largest green roof in the U.S. JFRC has up to 250 resident staff (fellows, postdocs and grad students) with a support staff of 80. The facility is taller than the Eiffel Tower (if stood on end). JFRC’s scientific agenda covers 2 topics: neuronal networking and imaging (think let’s map human consciousness). All trees cut during Janelia Farm’s construction were recycled. Stumps and softwoods were ground into mulch. Small trees and limbs were chipped in a waste-to-energy plant. 35,000 board feet of hardwoods were milled into random-width plank flooring for use onsite.

With that kind of meaningful focus our communications had to reflect HHMI’s brand while creating space for the voice of the new and authentic JFRC brand. It all came together in print and digital communications that touched every point of contact from the scientific community to first-time visitors to the facility to the residents of the town JFRC lives in.

The Mind of Janelia, sums up the totality of that campaign. Illustrated by Peter Arkel, quirky, intellectual, and fun, this introductory book set the standard for what JFRC followers would come to expect.