Revitalizing a 150-Year Old Community of Roman Catholic Priests

Paulist Logo

The Paulist Fathers are the first community of Roman Catholic priests founded in the United States. From inception in 1858, the Paulists embraced an approach to use all modern means of communication to invite and engage spiritual seekers and to reconcile the mystery of faith with contemporary American life. Over time, however, their existing identity had become dated and failed to capture the cohesion and dynamism of this unique community of priests. The Paulists approached BrandCulture to create a new identity and communications system that reflects their united optimism, openness and commitment to mercy and spiritual renewal.

paulist-old-assets

Previous Paulist materials reflected a varied collection of logos, colors and fonts originating from different Paulist offices and ministries developed across different locations and time periods. These disparate design directions did not represent the unity within the organization that the Paulists wanted to convey. In addition, the designs themselves, including the primary logotype—a cross, bible and flames—reflected the deep Paulist spiritual roots and commitment to religious tradition, but were also viewed by some members of the community as insufficiently welcoming. In addition, the Paulist website contained some outdated and repetitive information that needed to be streamlined and restructured in order to make it more accessible and useful to the online audience.

Paulist Logo

The foundation of the new Paulist visual identity begins with a logo that provides inspiration for other elements of the design system. The symbol of the dove underscores the Paulist fidelity to the Holy Spirit, enclosed in a “speech bubble” representing the community’s commitment to dialogue and outreach to all, the combined composition echoes a “P” letterform to serve as a powerful representation of the entire Paulist community. From the new logo, the design system expanded on the dove to include a series of other symbols used throughout the website and collateral material to help direct attention to specific ministries and outreach of the Paulist Fathers that are instrumental to serving their mission across the country. Each of these symbols also calls on the rounded corners of the “speech bubble” again, emphasizing the Paulists commitment to perpetual communication to assure American Catholicism remains a vital and vibrant element of American life.

paulist-old-assets

paulist-old-assets

paulist-old-assets

paulist-old-assets

The BrandCulture team then extended the identity system to the Paulist website, environmental graphics, and prototype communications that reflect friendliness, simplicity and consistency while evincing the Paulist commitment to engage the world with warmth and welcome.

Across the Paulist website, both visual design and intuitive functionality work together to reinforce the new brand identity. For example, blog posts were renamed “The Conversation” and feeds were added to pull dynamic content from other Paulist sites and social media platforms into one central location. Not only does this aggregation of relevant, continually updated content help reinforce a unified Paulist brand, but more importantly, it allows the Paulist Fathers to advance their mission harnessing the social media channels so essential to engaging contemporary audiences.