RAF Fylingdales

Brand identity & website for RAF Fylingdales research project.

We were appointed by researchers at the School of Geography, Politics and Sociology at Newcastle University to create a brand and website for the Fylingdales Archive.

An interdisciplinary research team from Newcastle University funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and working with English Heritage have been examining archive material held at RAF Fylingdales as part of a significant research project. The project aims to turn RAF Fylingdales inside out, making its practices and functions visible and demystifying its operations in space monitoring and ballistic missile early warning. The giant, geodesic domes sit on the edge of the North York Moors and were built in 1962 during the cold war.

The project aims to focus on the people and examine the daily workplace practices undertaken by the team employed at the site, from radar monitoring to grounds maintenance, as well as drawing on the station’s archive of documents, photographs and objects explaining the site and its history. The result is an online archive documenting RAF Fylingdales.

We worked on the brand identity as well as this unique archival site. The identity uses a graphic eye to symbolise the motto of the base ‘Vigilamus – we are watching’ as well as reflecting the archive and it’s role to reveal the layers and hidden stories of Fylingdales to the outside world. The hexagon symbol links to the geodesic structure of the original ‘golf ball’ shape radomes that were operational between 1963 and 1992.

The goal of the archive website was to build a site to hold decades of content from RAF Fylingdales. When planning the site it was important to not only think how the information is viewed, but how it is inputted. With an archive site, there could be potentially hundreds of archived assets, so it vital that the 100th item uploaded is just as consistent as the 1st item. Not all content would be image and text, so even though we structured the pages to be consistent, there is flexibility for a variation in more immersive content, such as video, image or sound.

As the content is research lead and can be very intense and detailed, we created a user login area to catalogue items of interest to the user, so anyone researching Fylingdales can curate their own favourite page. The site utilises a prominent search feature that sorts media by tags and also relevant information such as item indexing, dates and location. This is an important feature to make the user experience is as fluid as possible.

The site launched summer 2021 but with such a vast collection, content will continue to be added for several years.

Collaborating with Altogether has enabled us to realise our research project, the online archive is a significant academic output and an anchor to the project as a whole. This has been enabled due to the conceptual understanding of the project by Altogether which is exemplary, along with their skill and creativity, we could not of achieved this much without them.”

Chloë Barker, Research Associate, Newcastle University