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After 20 years building communities through reading aloud together, The Reader marks its next chapter with a new look

Written by Rachael Norris, 22nd May 2019

National charity The Reader, which has spent more than 20 years bringing people together and books to life, has updated its brand as it prepares to re-open its headquarters in Liverpool’s Calderstones Park following a £5M refurbishment.

The visual identity refresh has been designed by Liverpool studio Kaleidoscope to communicate the warmth and connection of the ‘Reading Revolution’ at the heart of The Reader’s work.

The Reader began life in 1997 as a magazine created by Dr Jane Davis MBE. In 2008, The Reader charity launched, to improve wellbeing, reduce social isolation and build stronger, healthier communities.

Having left school at 16 with two GCSEs, Jane eventually returned to education as a young single mother, and gained a First Class Degree and a PhD from the School of English at the University of Liverpool. Over many years, Jane became aware of how literature’s ability to open up our imaginations and thoughts had been instrumental in helping turn her life around. This inspired her to leave her career as an English lecturer and to set up The Reader, which has pioneered Shared Reading bringing great books, poems and plays to life through reading aloud and group discussion – as a powerful group experience that sparks connection, reflection and discovery.

Through a growing movement of 1,000 volunteers and partners across health, criminal justice and the community, more than 500 Shared Reading groups take place each week in care homes, hospitals, prisons, homeless shelters, libraries and community spaces. The Reader is also the inspiration for an international Reading Revolution that spans countries including Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, Germany, Mexico, Sweden, the USA and New Zealand.

A new logo has been created for The Reader Mansion House, which will re-open to the public later this year. The Grade II listed building will be the focal point of The Reader at Calderstones – a warm and vibrant community that will attract visitors from the UK, and around the world, who are looking for new ways to enjoy and experience literature, wellbeing, art, heritage and food.

Jo Spragg, Head of Communications at The Reader, said: “As the vision for The Reader at Calderstones comes to life and the Shared Reading movement continues to grow at home and abroad, we wanted all aspects of our brand to reflect who we are today – a radical and warm organisation with people and literature at our heart.”

“So far we’ve had a positive response on the update from our volunteers, staff, funders and trustees and we’re hoping that visitors to The Reader at Calderstones will be just as receptive. We’re grateful to the players of People’s Postcode Lottery for funding this project.”

The updated identity includes a refined version of The Reader’s previous organisational logo that will help the charity to attract a more age-diverse audience as it looks to make a difference to more lives. The simplified design has been chosen to work better across digital platforms.

Kaleidoscope has also created a family of sub-brands for the existing visitor experiences on offer at The Reader at Calderstones. These range from The Reader Storybarn, an imaginative playspace dedicated to the delights of reading for pleasure in families, to The Reader’s social enterprises, including the Café and Ice Cream Parlour, which generate revenues to support the charity’s work with communities.

James Kirk, Managing Director at Kaleidoscope, said: “Kaleidoscope has always sought out organisations that do great things and whose values we relate to. We have been very fortunate to work with some inspiring people and organisations over the years, but The Reader may be one of the best we have ever worked with. We are proud to have developed the new identity for the organisation and look forward to following their next exciting chapter”.

The Reader is currently rolling out the new identity externally and has plans to update its websites as part of a broader digital project that is set to commence later this month.


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