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Holy, Holy, Holy: Rebranding the Bible
By: Kaitlin T. Gallucci
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The German Bible Society has released a new translation of the Bible’s New Testament, specifically to appeal to a younger crowd. The modern translation, coupled with the creative design of Hamburg’s gobasil, resulted in the BasisBibel winning a Gold Design Lion at the recent Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. But how do you “brand” the Bible?

The new translation uses clear, modern language and has been described by the German Bible Society as the first Bible that meets the needs of the twenty-first century (certainly an interesting niche). In addition, the text has been structurally optimized for better reading comprehension, both in print and online. According to the creative brief, the cover design was especially developed “to communicate the style of the language, and the particular benefits of the translation.” With its unique language being such a significant and differentiating feature, gobasil set out to develop a design “that would be as laconic and straightforward as the style of the translation.”

Ultimately, they chose the symbol of the cross, which, according to Eva Jung, Creative Director for gobasil, is “the most well-known ‘brand’ in the world.” Simple and iconic, the design was reduced to focus on this symbol — the “brand” — a white cross encompassing the entire body of the book, set on a solid-colored background in a variety of bold, brilliant hues.

Previously, the design won awards from the Art Directors Club of Germany, and receiving accolades from the Cannes Lions has brought international attention. General Secretary for the German Bible Society Reverend Klaus Sturm commented, “We are particularly pleased because we were not expecting international success…The fact that we have won another award shows that there is a lot of interest in Bibles with an unusual design. And in the case of the BasisBibel, we know that the excellent design also reflects the equally successful content.”

So, it’s won awards for its design, but can it actually work as a brand? Some find it silly; comments on Copyranter ranged from “kinda pointless” to “looks like a Tiffany box” to the hilarious “it's in pretty Facebook blue! The kids'll love it!” However, the BasisBibel hasn’t been just sitting on the shelf. Since its introduction at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October 2010, 20,000 copies have been sold, and the purple version sold out within five months. Of course, this doesn’t by any means prove that it’s successfully rebranded the New Testament for a younger demographic — the book may be selling just on novelty and design appeal alone. It would be interesting to know who is exactly buying the BasisBibel... and where it will be a year from now.

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About the Author
Kaitlin T. Gallucci is a New York based direct and digital marketing strategist. She tweets here.
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