Unreal redesign to help publisher bash Bible market rivals

Even the Bible, it would seem, cannot rise above commercial competition, as Hodder & Stoughton’s scripture range is set to be rebranded to make it stand out in a crowded market.

Even the Bible, it would seem, cannot rise above commercial competition, as Hodder & Stoughton’s scripture range is set to be rebranded to make it stand out in a crowded market.

With designs by Unreal, the publisher’s New International Version series, which includes 26 different versions of the Bible in traditional, contemporary and everyday language styles, will undergo a revamp, focusing on the design of the jackets.

The consultancy, which won the work following a three-way pitch, was briefed with bringing the whole series together under one unified look. Unreal’s creative partner Brian Eagle says the range aims to be more contemporary and fresh.

Each book cover works inside a cross template, which contains passages of the Bible in its respective language style.

However, a different typeface is used for each book to reflect its genre. The spines have also been redesigned, so readers can get a feel for the flavour of particular publications from browsing the shelf.

‘Our concept was to bring the inside to the outside,’ says Eagle. ‘Typography is the best way to express the new look – nothing photographic, as that would be leading people in a different direction. We came up against quite a few obstacles such as which type of cross to use, but we interviewed vicars and researched this with various parts of the Christian community, and thought about different approaches.’

The Bible market is now a competitive one, with Hodder & Stoughton seeking standout from hundreds of other publications, such as the school favourite The Good News Bible.

‘We’ve gone, over the course of the past ten years, from being the undisputed market leader to a situation where there have been hundreds of new translations of the Bible and where there is now a very confused market,’ says editorial director at Hodder & Stoughton imprint Hodder Faith, David Maloney. ‘We felt like we weren’t doing enough to make it clear what puts the New International Version series above others, hence this new direction,’ he says.

Set to launch with the first six versions in April, the remaining 20 books will roll out during 2008 and 2009.


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