Branding University Church Oxford

An interesting contrast of modern design for a traditional and historical building

In the heart of Oxford stands the beautiful University Church, a building rich in history, dating back to early 13th century. Over the last decade, it has increasingly become a popular tourist attraction. Following the £5 million Lottery Funded reconstruction in 2013 came a visual idenity to contend with the newly transformed church.

Creative studio, Spy were challenged to refresh the outdated identity. Surrounded by a major student hub, it was important that University Church attracted and inspired younger visitors without excluding its current audience.

At face value, the new identity has no obvious visual cues that it is designed for the purpose of a church, and has elements comparable with the aesthetic of modern museum and gallery branding. Instead, spirituality is represented in an abstract approach. The slanted, ray-like graphic device used across all communications (including print, web, and in the logo itself) visually and cleverly represents Oxford University’s motto ‘Lord is my Light.’

The new photography styling is unconventional and refreshing. Artistic images taken by Christian Sinibaldi celebrate the building’s beautiful architectural and historical assets.

So far, it’s reported that the new identity has received a positive response among its visitors and is said to have attracted many high-profile speakers to the church. The new branding is a testament that churches are by no stretch just for Christians and welcomes all walks of life. Spy’s work for University Church definitely accommodates this progression with modern design that reflects modern thinking.


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