How do you go about creating a brand identity for a religion? It’s the kind of brief that gets bandied around art schools all over the world, resulting in highly conceptual – and often damning – designs from students with a thing or two to say. For Sydney-based studio For the People, however, this brief became very real when it was asked to create an identity for The Centre for Public Christianity, a not-for-profit media company in Australia that produces material about the relevance of Christianity in the modern world. The result is work that toes the line between creative license and sensitivity, scepticism and understanding.
“Working with an organisation that is pro-religion is obviously something you have to consider deeply,” says Jason Little, creative director and co-founder of For the People. “For a start, the majority of our team have nothing to do with religion in any way. However, upon talking with the organisation and gaining a better understanding of what they do and why, it seemed like something we could help with.”
The Centre for Public Christianity offers a Christian perspective on contemporary life to promote understanding and debate. It actively supports mainstream media, aiming to put out “unbiased, high-quality and well-researched print, video and audio material that explores both the relevance of Christianity today, and equally, the relevance of other belief structures and religions”. So, Jason explains, “these are smart people, writing and discussing society at large through the lens of Christianity.”
The team that undertook the project was not religious at all, Jason tells us. “That meant approaching the identity with a degree of scepticism and neutrality. For an organisation such as this to be taken seriously, we felt it really needed to move beyond the usual aesthetic.” With everything completely open, except the organisation’s name, For the People set about creating visuals which were challenging and respectful at the same time.
“Our breakthrough in developing a verbal mechanic for the identity – which was the real crux of the project – came from listening to, and really understanding, what the journalists in the organisation were trying to do,” he explains. As a result, For the People landed on using the symbolic cross as a way to convey that The Centre for Public Christianity is aware of both the positive and negative elements of its religion. This small visual twist, paired with a bold sans serif font and contemporary colour palette means that For the People’s identity is simple yet meaningful.
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