Rebranding faith

As religious and spiritual organisations turn to design and branding to reach wider audiences, we examine what these new trends suggest about the role of faith in society and culture

At a glance, Omse’s standout project of 2020 feels like an identity for something like Depop, or a Glossier-style cosmetics brand: modern, minimal and bold. The bright neon orange tote bag accented with ticker tape-like straps; the nonchalant clashing of sans serif and serif type; the street photography aesthetic of the campaign – so far, so trendy east London. And it is, but it’s branding for a church, now billed as a “cathedral of creativity”.

Omse’s much-celebrated work for Hackney Church, which has since been extended to take in a number of east London churches under the umbrella Saint, is one of many recent projects that seem to suggest graphic design for spirituality is having a shakeup.

Anecdotally, there’s a significant appetite for good design from religious-based clients who are starting to look beyond the often tired, frequently business-like agencies that specialise in religious projects. Since the Saint work, a number of religious organisations around the world have started using more ­forward-thinking design work, and even ripping off Saint’s distinctive black and bright orange colour palette and window-shaped graphic device.

Meanwhile, those brands underpinned by spirituality seem determined to shake off clichés of shoddy serif ­typefaces and wishy-washy, rather ‘auntie-with-a-new-hobby’-like images of sunsets over fields.