Kieran Harrod

Brand Design & Consultancy

Kieran Harrod

Brand Design & Consultancy

Kieran Harrod Design
Theological Training School Branding and Website

Aberdeen, Scotland


Conceived as an evangelically centred new theological course for those exploring Christian ministry, the Ministry Training Academy (MTA) were looking for a brand and website that reflected the history of both the teaching and location in North East Scotland.


Inspired by the mica crystal "pages" contained within the locally mined granite that make the regions buildings glisten in the sunlight. A crystal like irregular hexagon contains the letters MTA, created from the letters seen on the Aberdeen street signs. Supporting images and colours are inspired by Aberdeen and the wider Cairngorms.

The Ministry Training Academy (MTA) team identified a lack of authoritative training courses for those looking at becoming preachers and other workers in the evangelical church in the North East of Scotland. The MTA was formed by a group of leaders from local churches who were sending their own trainees and apprentices for training in Glasgow, a 6 hour round trip. Creating a more local training course would not only allow their own trainees chance to gain the experience they needed without this trip, but also open up the opportunity to the wider North East Scottish region.

I was commissioned by the MTA team to create a logo, brand, brochures and website for the course. Beginning with desk research and competitor analysis, we resolved to explore an unconventional space for an “educational” logo, with a leaning toward using text in a strong way.

I was also able to travel to Aberdeen and explore some of the wider area. This enabled me to appreciate much of what I read about, but also uncover things I’d not appreciated from a distance. A couple of examples of this were just how the buildings do glisten in the sun, giving rise to the name “Silver City” as well as the influence of the sea on the area, which I hadn’t appreciated at first.

Creating the MTA initials from the tile letters seen around Aberdeen.

Granite pillar glistening in the Aberdeen sun thanks to the mica in the stone. The crystal “pages” formed by the Mica within different granites.

I was also able to visit Dunnottar Castle, which holds some importance to the development of Protestantism in Scotland as the prison of over 167 Covenanters and Whigs, imprisoned within a cellar in terrible conditions at Dunnottar for refusing to acknowledge religious reforms imposed by King Charles II.

There was also the opportunity to explore the street signs of Aberdeen. These are typically formed from individual tiles for the letters, and each has a handmade feel. In chalk on black they create a very striking atmosphere across the city. I took the opportunity to create the initials of the MTA logo from the street signs.

I’d already begun to explore the structure of the mica that runs through the granite of the buildings in and around Aberdeen. Mined locally, the stone has a high concentration of a reflective form of the mineral mica. The granite is also exceedingly durable, so when cleaned and repointed, the buildings look almost like new. The shape of the mica crystals, described scientifically as “books” is what causes this glistening. This played perfectly into the bookish nature of a theological course and cemented my decision to play with the chap in the logo.

Visiting Aberdeenshire also enabled me to add some of the final elements to the brand, colours, inspired by the local landscape and photography, still and video, taken on my visit with my camera and drone. Combining all of this together creates a modern brand that still has its feet rooted in both the region and its history.

Visit the wonderfully evocatively named to see it all in action.

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