Digital and Branding
Territory Projects

The Story Of DNA

Title: BBC Knowledge
Clients: BBC Knowledge and Learning
Categories: Digital Comms, Arts & Culture

As part of the BBC's exploration into a wide variety of topics, Territory was commissioned to produce a 3-minute animation explaining DNA.

Developed to intrigue and inform, the BBC’s Explainer series aims to encourage documentary audiences to further explore topics through additional information on their website.

When asked to craft a short film about DNA, the approach we took wasn’t just to look into a scientific past and future, but we needed to find a strong graphic style to communicate the beauty and intricacy of DNA.

Three minutes is a short time to explore a subject where most doctorates only scratch the surface, so writer Andrew S. Walsh teamed up with molecular biologist Dr Matthew Adams to distil the script down to the most fundamental elements required to understand not only DNA’s form and function but its impact on science.

The result is an elegant, informative and playful illustration of the most fundamental elements required to understand not only DNA’s form and function but how our understanding of these discoveries has affected the wider world.

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Textbook Design

We also wanted to create nostalgia; taking the audience back to the days of textbook diagrams and old science documentaries, such as Carl Sagan's COSMOS and IBM's POWER OF TEN (1977). Using the double helix circular theme as a core design, we focused on form, movement and colour to create a consistent flow to the animation, drawing on references from nature, illustrating how DNA is the core to everything.



Tremendously well received, the DNA Explainer was nominated for an Information Is Beautiful award, which celebrates the value of well-conceived graphic storytelling in communicating complex ideas that engage and connect with its audience.

Project Credits


Creative Director David Sheldon-Hicks
Art & Animation Director William Samuel
Producer Sam Hart
Script Editor Richard Cable
Writer & VO Director Andrew S Walsh
Scientist Dr Matthew Adams
Animators Alasdair Willson, David Penn, Marti Romances, William Samuel
VO Actor Simon Poland
Sound Design


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