Revealing the DNA process through design

Publication writing and design

Home Office / National DNA Database


Reporting on the collection, analysis and storage of DNA profiles is a tricky and sensitive subject, even within the context of the criminal justice system. The Home Office needed the copy and design for their annual report on the National DNA database to approach the subject sensitively, clearly and objectively.

With such a contentious subject and at such a high level, the report would attracted attention from a wide audience, with varying degrees of knowledge on the issue of DNA and the criminal justice system. The report needed to cater for everyone, from experts to the general public.


We started by visiting the forensic labs and custody suites to understand DNA sampling and analysis in the criminal justice process. We also spoke to specialists at the former National Police Improvement Agency (NPIA) and National DNA Database Strategy Board to plan the report's content and narrative.

From our research, we worked with the idea of 'extracting' essential information from the main copy of the report to illustrate visually, much in the same way that DNA analysis extracts essential information from the individual and crime scene DNA reports.


We wrote, designed and produced a report that presented the tricky subject of the National DNA Database in a way that appealed to all audiences. By using the visual metaphor of extracting key copy, the report remained interesting while presenting information in a way that was both informative and impartial.

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