Scottish Bible Society


Branding & Visual Identity, Guidance & Training, Brand Research

SBS Logo Dev2

Founded as the ‘National Bible Society of Scotland’ in 1810, the (now) Scottish Bible Society has steadily continued to grow, making a huge impact locally and globally ever since. The organisation aims to be a progressive and relational brand that helps to see people’s lives transformed through the Bible.

Since 1810, many localised ‘Bible Societies’ have grown around the world, intrinsically linked through a core passion to share God’s word, yet each with their own vision and values, forged from their locations. So, when we were approached to help the Scottish Bible Society refresh and revive their brand, we knew it was imperative that we began by looking under the skin of ‘who’ the real Scotland is, ‘why’ does the Scottish Bible Society exist and how we can help them build a brand that would flourish for years to come and continue to underline their real vision for the people of Scotland and beyond.

SBS Logo Dev2

Brand Research

The original visual identity for the Scottish Bible Society heavily pointed towards the brand being from Scotland, with the use of tartan colours, weaving, and highlighting the Celtic cross. Following workshops and group conversations it was clear that the emphasis was being placed entirely on the wrong element - the Scottish heritage, instead of the core organisation’s focus on life being transformed through the Bible.

We knew we needed to adjust this focus in the new identity, bringing back the attention to the Bible and yet ensure that there’s a clear relation to people of Scotland, and the outstanding work of the organisation. Therefore we needed to better understand Scotland’s relationship with the church today (SBS audience) and what makes something inherently ‘Scottish’ at heart, without overbearing on stereotypes.

SBS Research

“To be honest, the research was a really heartbreaking read. It was clear that the Scottish Bible Society needed to be a catalyst for change in Scotland, working to re-introduce the Bible and reignite the faithful Scottish church. A revived, forward looking identity would help be the first step towards exciting change.”



Key Stakeholder Workshops

As part of getting under the skin of the project, we interviewed a number of key stakeholders internally and externally of the organisation to better understand the feelings around what was their current branding and then help qualify the assumptions of the mindset that has brought SBS to decide on a rebrand. Stakeholder workshops give us the real ‘nuggets’ of information we are not going to find out from the official documentation.

This stage is hugely beneficial, as a rebrand can’t be forced through, it needs the entire support structure behind it to help it flourish. Listening and hearing people’s frustrations, ideas and challenges gives solid directions for us to build from, while allowing the wider team to feel ‘heard’ and thus able to take ownership of the new brand as it grows.


Images: Michael Laird Architects


A recent architectural renovation of their beloved home Bible House in Edinburgh, saw the entire team removed from their insular small and stuffy team offices to an open, relaxed and inviting work space - this had a profound impact on the organisation internally.

The renovations gave a way for collaboration, relationships and ‘bigger picture’ thinking to really be part of who they are - something the team were keen to see echoed in their rebrand.

For too long the focus of the visual identity had been on the ‘Scottish’ elements of the brand, but what had come to light through the workshops was that the team really wanted to bring the primary focus back to the core proposition of ‘Life transformed through the Bible’.

The key stakeholders also recognised that, as an organisation moving forward, they wanted to create a brand that was friendly, fresh and vibrant while keeping a good connection to the incredible heritage of the Scottish Bible Society. The visual mark needed to be simple and iconic, something that could be used across all the multiple various expressions of the out working of the core values as a ‘publisher mark’.

“The workshops really helped guide our approach to colour, our approach to form and assisted us in navigating what’s really quite a complex challenge, which is how to communicate with a domestic audience, how to communicate globally and how to communicate ‘Scottish Bible Society’ to a supporter base as well.”


SBS Logo Dev2

Branding & Visual Identity

While we knew the update was going to be quite significant, we were incredibly keen to work from a position of “honouring the past, while looking forward to the future”. The new identity did need a radical change, as well as the ability to carry some of the magnificent heritage Scottish Bible Society has. We found by maintaining the joined ‘tt’ in the final wordmark, we were able to keep the cross integral to the identity.

SBS Logos

The success of this identity, was to depict the Bible in a dynamic way. The ident needed to show movement, that it was alive and that it represented the vibrancy of the word of God and the work that Scottish Bible Society do.

We took great inspiration from the Book of Kells, an astounding document produced in full colour with great skill way back in 800AD, to communicate the Gospels far and wide. The colours are still remarkably fresh and contemporary today.

One of the things that was important to us was to think ‘how would we be interpreting those strong and vibrant colours now and how can we make sure we do that in a way that can communicate a complex series of issues, ministries and projects.

So we developed a broad range of dynamic colours, using scientific understanding of colour theology, to help Scottish Bible Society communicate effectively. We created a gradient tool inspired by the colours garnered from the Book of Kells, the various research stages and historical colourings of Scottish Bible Society that could be used to depict the multiple out-workings of the core vision. This could be used as a resource throughout the entire global brand.

Coupled with the core visual identity, a really striking, vibrant use of gradients allowed the internal team to consistently keep each and every design fresh and unique.

SBS Presentation21

Training & guidance

As with every branding project, we produced a ‘brand guide’ to help maintain the structure going forwards and continue the great work being undertaken by the marketing and communications team at SBS. As the new Communications Director began working with the SBS team, we were able to demonstrate all of our work and research as well as support them to initiate the integration of the new brand across the organisation.

SBS Guide Update

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