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New house style for NWO

On Tuesday 26 March, NWO revealed its brand-new logo at its offices in Utrecht and The Hague. This will form the basis for an entirely new NWO house style that will apply to both NWO and NWO-I. The new house style will have few consequences for the NWO Institutes as they will continue to use their own house style. In their communications, however, they will continue to state their relationship with NWO as has been the case until now. All of this is still in the future though. The new house style will not be made public until 3 June 2019. Meanwhile, NWO and NWO-I will work on converting all resources, templates and communications to the new style.

NWO will therefore bid farewell to its old logo and the familiar NWO red, which it has used for more than 24 years. That house style was designed in a period when the online world was only just emerging. Since then graphic design has drastically changed and NWO too, of course. So it is time for a complete makeover. Almost everything will change except for NWO's name in Dutch. The English name will, however, change: from 3 June onwards NWO will be called the Dutch Research Council in English. The same new logo will be used in English communications though.

Golden ratio
NWO's house style shows who it is and what it stands for: science and society. During the development of the logo and the house style, the design agency searched for a graphical language that expresses this as well as possible. The "golden ratio" formed the source of inspiration for this.
The golden ratio is the division of a line in two parts in a special ratio (a:b=(a+b):a), which is represented by the Greek letter phi (the ratio is approximately 1.61803399). This ratio is also expressed in shapes such as circles and squares. A well-known expression of this is the "Fibonacci spiral", which emerges from the Fibonacci sequence and is applied to squares and circles. A not uncontested theory states that the ratio occurs so much in nature that people automatically find it aesthetically pleasing and therefore call it the "divine proportion". The golden ratio is not only an important concept in science but a phenomenon that we see in everyday life, for example in anatomy, astronomy, architecture, art, music and design. The scientific basis for the golden ratio that is visible in daily life can be extrapolated to NWO that facilitates research with societal impact. Just like the golden ratio, NWO connects together many areas and disciplines.

Angles and circles
The golden ratio has been repeatedly demonstrated and refuted in science. It therefore continues to be a subject of new research. Furthermore, the visual language of the golden ratio gives an extra dimension to the design of the house style. For example, the angular nature of the logo, composed from a golden rectangle, emanates robustness and reliability. The house style also contains circles that represent the never-ending development of knowledge and insight.

Colours and fonts
The new logo consists of a combined graphic mark and wordmark in a rectangle. In the logo, the ratios of the golden ratio have been applied. The new house style has two primary colours: the colour RAL5018 (CMYK 90-25-35-0, RGB 0-139-159) and white. The logo has a full-colour composition and a subtle colour transition. Besides the two primary colours, there are five secondary colours and five shades of grey.
There will also be new fonts. In the office automation and all digital resources, NWO will switch to fonts designed for the screen: Calibri and Saira. In professionally printed materials two other fonts will be used that are designed explicitly for printed materials: F37 Bolton and Tungsten.

The images, colours and fonts together form a house style that fits the identity of NWO: recognisable and distinctive, and yet designed to be used for many years to come. Throughout the entire revamped house style, the circles from the logo will be a recurring theme. They will be used on colour surfaces and in images. These are always three circles of different sizes, and they will assume the golden ratio of 1.61.

More information
Via the NWO intranet Joost you can already discover the new house style. You can access Joost via the network of your institute by going to and logging in with your own institute account. If you cannot access Joost, for example because you are a BUW employee, then you will hopefully gain an impression of the logo via the images included with this article. If you would like to see more, than you can request examples of the new logo via You can also ask questions about the house style via this email address. At the start of May, a special house style website will be made available that contains everything about the house style and its use, including downloads and technical information.

Newsletter Inside NWO-I, March 2019

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