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.