101 Book – New global headquarters launch

Salvation Army

The challenge

The Salvation Army had completely rebuilt and restructured their global headquarters building opposite St Paul’s Cathedral. Hat-trick Design had created the graphics and imagery to the glass frontage, with light and transparency as key themes. Now attention turned to designing and writing a commemorative book for the opening ceremony. The book had to serve as a souvenir and a rationale for the actions taken.

What we did

The theme of transparency was carried into the book, with the use of acetate pages to create layers and build images sequentially, as well as replicate the ‘stained glass’ effect of the building itself. Check out the history section towards the end. As time passes, and you turn the pages, the picture of the original is slowly lost and the earlier dates begin to fade as you turn more pages and the translucent paper gets thicker. Then the new building begins to emerge. A beautiful piece of design.

I interviewed all the key people in the project, from the Army to the space planner to the architects. Each told their part of the story.

The writing helped to solve a strategic impasse in the messaging. 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.

The compromise was to talk of the human facets of Jesus. In came the naturalness, approachability and humanity that suited everyone, and it formed a key central section in the book.

What happened next

The building was opened by the Princess Royal on 9th Nov 2004.

The problematic passage mentioned above was made into an extraordinary fold-out booklet (cross-shaped, of course) 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 book won Best in Show and best book at the McNaughton Awards, and won the Editorial Books category at the Design Week Awards.

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