St Paul's Bow Common

When looking for the first time at St Paul’s Church, Bow Common, you wouldn’t guess that it is widely regarded as the most significant post-War Church in Britain. The building won the National Churches Trust Diamond Jubilee Award and is the Winner of the UK’s Best Modern Churches competition.

St Paul’s Bow Common was rebuilt after World War II from 1958-60 by Robert Maguire & Keith Murray, two architecture students with brutalist tendencies, the building has been described as ”burningly honest, but not aggressive demure yet full of fun, reverent yet fully light-hearted” Gerald Adler (Robert Maguire & Keith Murray, 2012)

“ In the 1950’s there was a serious re-evaluation in progress far and wide, among churches and architects alike, as to what exactly the purpose and function of a church is, and how its configuration should express its deepest purposes.” Prebendary Duncan Ross, 2011

St Paul’s Bow Common is a part of the architectural movement New Brutalism. “New Brutalism was a 1950s’, mainly British, architectural movement that asserted the primacy of the functionalist principles. New Brutalism probably represents the extreme case of functionalism.” Dr John W Nixon  
Architect Augustus Welby Pugin, wrote about those functionalist principles that “there should be no features about a building which are not necessary for convenience, construction, or propriety” and “all ornament should consist of enrichment of the essential construction of the building”

Our task was to create a Brand for this church and we set ourselves the aim to create a visual style to suit an iconic building that sits with the personality of the structure.

Having such an iconic and unusual building to work with was a real pleasure - we quickly discovered the beauty in the Brutalist minimalism and the play of light on concrete structure. The origin of the building had to be reflected in the new brand, so we looked to the era of its conception the 1950’s - 60’s for inspiration.

As such, we decided on using the Univers typeface family. This is one of the most prolific grotesque sans-serif typefaces of the century. The cool, systematically designed font family appealed to the rationalistic style we thought suited the building, giving written documents a clear and punchy feel.

We presented the client with two differing approaches, each celebrating the beauty of this building. The first, considered the look and feel of the building as being completely simplistic and utilitarian, we proposed the following typographic logo to echo those qualities. 

“These powerful geometric forms, that confident brickwork, the high lantern ” Gerald Adler

Additional to the typographical Logo, the overall look was to be created with geometric shapes which are drawn from the building itself.


The second approach, which became the final brand, has a more iconic feel, timeless and stand alone direction. The architecture forms the Logo and the Icon references the play of light on the abstract geometrical forms of the architecture. While the left part of the logo is an abstract illustration of the building, the right fulfills the symmetry with the help of letters



For the creation of all the materials and outputs we took a trip to London and spent a day photographing and documenting the building. 



I have never worked with a design company with such an effective, insightful, transformational approach to creating a brand. The process is sound, the end result flawless, the service is perfect.
Julian Bream Churchwarden St Paul's, Bow Common