Francis has redefined the papal persona. Now Parisian studio Les Cousins gives him an image to match
Since his election, Pope Francis has become an international icon, and thus a public-relations saviour, for the 2,000-year-old Roman Catholic church. He has scolded international bankers, politicians and bishops alike, embraced environmental concerns and challenged corruption. He has redefined the papal persona with an approach that we would characterise as ‘Progressive, Personal, Authentic and Tolerant’ (PPAT). This new direction for the pontiff has resonated with changing communities around the world.
Even with this maverick at its helm, the Catholic church faces stiff competition to be heard and trusted. With its reputation in disrepair after years of scandals and corruption, it struggles to present a relevant identity to the modern world. While its message and role have been updated, its visual representation remains trapped in a medieval past.
The Pope’s new monogram and slogan reinforce his inclusive, approachable style
So, to complete the circle, we’ve revisualised the personal brand of the Pope, updating iconography, colours, typography and message in line with the PPAT approach. For the primary branding, we have created a contemporary monogram using the letters IHS, based on the traditional Christogram used by the church. This consists of the Greek letters iota (I), eta (H) and sigma (S), which are the first three letters of Jesus in Greek.
The typography alongside the monogram is set in lowercase to reinforce the Pope’s friendly, approachable character, while the custom pattern used throughout is an abstraction of the floorplan of St Peter’s Basilica, referencing the past while ensuring the branding’s relevance. And finally, we’ve created an inclusive slogan, ‘Come as You Are’, along with an associated campaign, to help the Papacy communicate its message to a changed society in a more radical way.
Words and images
The updated colours and iconography would be used across all aspects of the papal brand – from letterheads to the Popemobile