The Debrand of Sandals Church


The vision of Sandals Church is to be real with ourselves, God & others.


For a few years now, the Sandals Church look and feel has been grounded in the Industrial Revolution. The grit of movements like the Bolshevik Revolution and De Stijl were perfect for our vision, “Real with Ourselves, God & Others”. We built a visual language that used type and texture to communicate authenticity and craftsmanship. It was a deep system that communicated the idea of our vision through visual application.

As we enter our 20th year, we realized that it was time to take an inventory of our visual identity. What had our voice become and was it still effective in communicating our vision of being real?


We began to explore what it would look like to simplify and condense all of the complex ideas of the past visual system into something that was clean and direct. For this, we turned to the International Typographic Style. This style was pioneered in the 1950’s in Switzerland. The goal of this is to create a system that is clean and direct. The style relied heavily on asymmetry, sans-serif typography and grids. Designers like Jan Tschichold served as inspiration for typographic treatments.


We toyed with creating new marks and logos to properly represent where we were heading, but nothing could capture the momentum and boldness in which the church was growing and progressing. After some time, our creative director Dex Alexander suggested that we explore the idea of a debrand. This is a concept where you strip away everything that would be a traditional brand such as brand colors or logo marks, and allow the typography to speak for itself. It is the modern variation of the International Typographic Style, focused on clarity.

We began to strip everything away and instead of having a beautiful box that would invite people to look inside to find our vision, we were going to build a crystal clear box, where our vision with clean and clear at the forefront of all communication: “Real with Ourselves, God & Others”.

One of the first things we did was explore how widely this system could be used. We created as many templates as we could to reference for type layout. Because we were working only with black and white as brand colors, we knew that we needed dynamic layouts to maintain visual interest. We then named these layouts to reference later as a design team, almost as if we were stocking a pantry for recipe book.


Instead of creating a new logo, the new debrand allows for an open system by using identifiers. Any lockup or combination is able to be used as an identifier. This allows for our system to be ever growing and ever changing. It’s focused on a visual language instead of a specific symbol.

We also created a set of identifiers to represent our vision, using arrows to convey direction and momentum, but also the ideas of ourselves, God & others.


While implementing this system, the staff needed an easy and fast way to access identifiers for their digital and print materials. We created a typeface that has an identifier attached to each keystroke. Using this typeface, all staff can keep our system in constant flow and variation.


To help with asset delivery, we created a system of type layout templates. These can be used almost as ingredients in a kitchen. They are basic elements that can be incorporated into designs. This expedites the design process and brings alignment as we create more assets in this system.


When addressing color use in this system, we wanted to stay as true as possible to Black and White. By reserving the use of color for direction, we can use color to connect people to people or people to places. This idea has incorporated into signage as well as apparel for specific teams. The design of all team apparel is the same, but we change the shirt colors to make it easier for guest to find the right person to help them with a specific need.


Every system needs limits. We wanted to create an ever flowing and growing system, but needed some restrictions to allow for alignment across all platforms.


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