Zurich’s Grossmünster Church is steeped in history. It is the birthplace of the Swiss Reformation and the Zurich Bible, and its famous twin towers have been an icon of the city’s skyline for over 800 years. It attracts tourists from all over the world – those on a religious pilgrimage, and those who come to hear the Grossmünster organ or see the famous stained-glass windows by Augusto Giacometti and Sigmar Polke. Yet it’s much more than a tourist attraction – it’s also the community epicentre for its active congregation. The Grossmünster board approached Moving Brands to help the church speak authentically to both these groups, so it could continue to create an attraction for visitors and and a home for locals.
Together with the Grossmünster board, we set about creating a cohesive and distinct identity, communicating the church as a social/religious haven, as well as an international destination for art and culture.
We took for our creative springboard “For God’s sake do something brave!”, the inspirational command of Huldrych Zwingli, the 16th century pastor of Grossmünster and father of the Swiss Reformation. Our story (encapsulating ‘music and silence, words and The Word, the sacred and the social’) expresses the tensions and resonances of community, congregation, art, history and worship.
The story acted as a design directive for the visual identity, which brings a contemporary perspective to the building’s long history. The symbol represents the unmistakable outline of the church, while the wordmark represents the vibrant civic life that the church attracts.
The colour palette is influenced by the world famous stained-glass windows. The typeface and typographic style (GT Sectra, by Swiss foundry Grilli Type) are suggested by the typography used in the Zurich bible. The flexible illustration system maintains a strong connection to Grossmünster’s inimitable architecture, and can flex from elegant (for example for religious communications) to expressive (where the lively colour reflects, for example, the church filled with people and music).
The flexible identity ensures Grossmünster is able to speak engagingly to its wide range of audiences, while maintaining an unmistakable connection to its rich heritage.
The story and identity are live in the world and can be seen on the landing page of Grossmünster’s website.
Taking the challenge of a branding project for a Swiss icon like Grossmünster was both an experiment and a responsibility. But just as museums and hospitals have realised, I believe our organisation also has to work with the creative power of a brand, so we can engage with our stakeholders and stay relevant in the future. I was impressed how fast, how well and with how much passion the team at Moving Brands captured the essence of Grossmünster’s complex identity and turned it into an emotional story and beautiful design. We are very happy – and everyone who sees it, loves it!
Sascha Weisshaupt, Head of Communications, Grossmünster