The House of St Barnabas is a Soho members’ club with a difference. As London’s first and only charity members’ club, the social enterprise is designed to “break the cycle of homelessness” through cultural events and support programmes. It champions inclusive ideals rather than the elitism and exclusivity that most other private clubs trade on.
With 200 years of legacy to its name, the charity has operated as a not-for-profit members’ club for ten years, with founding members from across the creative landscape, from Jarvis Cocker to Brian Cox.
The club’s mission is to guide people towards finding homes, work, and communities through its on-site Employment Academy, which offers people at risk of homelessness a support programme and opportunities to meet potential employers, mentors, and friends. The club also stages a calendar of events, art exhibitions and gigs, many of which are held in its ‘secret chapel’.
The charity is rolling out its new brand strategy, visual identity and communications, all of which were developed by independent creative agency The Corner. The refreshed approach can be found across social media, materials such as menus and welcome packs, and a new website created by Maido.
At the heart of the new identity is the House of St Barnabas symbol which has been ‘remixed’ into a number of contemporary, textural designs, from shiny metallic finishes to a fluffy version. The palette offers a spin on CMYK, resulting in neon-flecked visuals that buck the often staid colour scheme historically found in members’ clubs.
“HOSB is different to other members clubs. It invites people in, rather than keeping them out, which in turn creates a more vibrant, eclectic atmosphere,” says Tom Ewart, CCO and founding partner at The Corner. “Our new brand design aims to capture that diversity in the colour, photography, typography and language. No grey-on-grey 6pt Helvetica here.”
Assets created for the branding feature ancient statues, more commonly found in elitist spaces that feel out of reach to most people. The team also developed a photography style that’s enjoyably messy, showing the down-to-earth spirit of the club, while poster campaigns use graffiti to convey its new tagline: ‘Welcome to the club that never joined the club’.
The redesign shows “how fundamentally different we are to our peers”, says HSOB director of engagement Gillian Jackson. The Corner chose to emphasise what it described as the “vibrancy, eclecticism, and genuine diversity HOSB was built on – a founding belief that sparks fly when worlds collide”.