A brand refresh of the
Unitarian Universalist Association
The Unitarian Universalist Association was formed in 1961 and marked the unification of the Unitarian and Universalist church. Their logo has long been a flaming chalice because of its relation to the history and tradition of the faith. The official UUA Brand Guidelines currently list Helvetica Neue as the preferred typeface, but I decided it needed a bit of a refresh. Montreal Serial was chosen for its weight and cleanliness as well as its friendliness. The typeface is basically all that was changed in the logo besides a little tightening, but the refresh also includes a brand refocus emphasizing the seven principles that are the basis of the Unitarian Universalist faith, hence the refresh title of VALUUES.
A traveling exhibition was developed in conjunction with the brand refresh and the new focus on the principles. Content was curated from the UUA's magazine, once called UUWorld but renamed below to VALUUES, as well as the UU hymnal and outside art. Two pieces of art were chosen to reflect each of the seven principles as well as a related article from the magazine and a related hymn.
WHAT'S IN THE BOX?
The articles and hymns are compiled into an exhibition catalog. Also included in the box set is the art, each on its own stand, as well as descriptions of the art including information from and about the artist, why the curator chose it, and which principle it represents. Yellow exclusively was used for the exhibition because at the time of its release Standing on the Side of Love, a UU organization fighting for marriage equality, was new and felt representative of UU beliefs. Also, a monochrome color palette helped to focus the attention on the artwork itself. The full original UUA color palette is used in the accompanying posters and magazine rebrand shown below.
The typeface primarily used for this project was Montreal Serial, published by SoftMaker. This typeface was chosen for its modernity and clean design, as well as the many weights present in the family. This faith is one that while very old and occasionally traditional, is full of modern and progressive values that are represented well with a geometric sans-serif such as this. Supplemental type was set in Frederic Goudy's Goudy Oldstyle. This was chosen to reflect the traditional aspects of the faith that are sometimes few or overlooked but still there, and still important. View the slideshow below to see both type choices in action.
Inside the book was a chapter for each principle and an intro. Each chapter included an article/essay about the principle found in the UU quarterly magazine, once named UUWorld but in this refresh renamed to VALUUES, and a hymn related to the principle from the UU hymnal.
The box had a unique cover that showed all the art in the exhibition with heavy white borders to separate them. The top opened as a flap to reveal a pocket inside holding all the materials. The inside of the box was patterned with the UU Associations logo, a chalice. In VALUUES, the refresh, these boxes, full of the traveling exhibition, would be available to all recognized UU Churches to show the new emphasis on the seven principles to the congregants directly. Easy to set up and plan an event around, the exhibition could also serve to reintroduce the church to the community around it, reminding people of its presence and its VALUUES.
Posters representing the seven principles were also developed. They could be used as advertisement or in conjunction with the exhibition, or alone to advertise the refresh within UU Churches. The full UUA color palette as it is today was utilized in the posters.
The UUA quarterly magazine, UUWorld, includes a UU take on news and events as well as updates and news related directly to the UUA. The magazine as it was before the refresh usually included an illustrated cover and very basic typesetting. In the refresh, the name was changed to VALUUES to continue emphasizing the refocus on the seven principles, and the imagery was changed to be more photo based with big, personal images being featured on the cover to intrigue potential readers and push the human centered nature of the faith itself. The body typeface was also changed to a weight of Montreal Serial to keep cohesion and increase readability. The color palette was utilized to differentiate between sections in the magazine and is featured in the pull quotes and drop caps. Titles were emphasized and overall the typesetting was made to be more modern.
The UUA is an important and influential organization that is not well known outside of the limited scope of UU people and churches. This rebrand has the potential to not only refresh the brand and make it more modern for those experiencing it from the inside, but also give it a more modern feel for those new to the faith. While UU churchgoers are usually highly averse to anything like to proselytizing, an attractive brand wouldn't be getting in anyones way and could bring a lot more people to congregations that are highly liberal and modern in practice and belief, but not in brand and aesthetic.