Hands not arms

The Salvation Army

The Challenge

Problems are opportunities. This is a great example of how words can solve an impasse and break new ground for an organisation. Pure strategy, as far as I’m concerned.

During the process of producing signage for the Salvation Army’s new International Headquarters building next to St Paul’s, and some collateral to accompany it, the design agency (Hat Trick) and the Army had reached something of an impasse. The glass walls of the building were to feature translucent and coloured human figures, and quotes from the Bible. Hat Trick felt that the human approach would open the Army to a modern audience. The Army, however, felt that generally, globally, people had lost sight that they were an evangelical movement of the Church. The message of God and Jesus had been lost. They wanted it back.

How, then, to communicate that in a way which would appeal to the modern world, and complement the design?

What we did

I sat down with Hat Trick and a number of senior Army figures. I asked the Army to talk about what were the most human facets of Jesus.

What happened next

This released an extraordinary amount of positive energy. In came the naturalness, approachability and humanity that suited everyone. The result was an extraordinary fold-out booklet that captured the intellectual and spiritual essence of the Salvation Army. The booklet was left free for people in the downstairs cafeteria open to the public. The signage is still there, and still looks great.

The best bit was the brochure which bears your name… I thought it terrific… Blooming marvellous! I hope you are as pleased with it as we are. It would have been good to meet a man with ideas like yours. Thanks for your sensitive text in the booklet. You seem to understand what matters to that odd and almost unknown thing called the Salvation Army.
General John Gowans Salvation Army