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Case study: Sainsbury’s Journal redesign

Revitalising an employee institution

  • The Journal has been Sainsbury’s colleague publication for more than 70 years and is much loved, trusted and respected by its readers
  • We revisited the magazine’s original mission statement from December 1946 and balanced the many elements that still resonate with the needs of the diverse and rapidly changing business of today
  • Within a broader-than-ever range of communication channels, listening groups showed that the Journal remains one of the most popular and trusted sources of information among colleagues

Sainsbury’s is the UK’s second-largest chain of supermarkets, with a proud history stretching back almost 150 years. For almost half that time, the Journal has been there for colleagues, explaining how the business is growing and changing, sharing news and celebrating achievements, and ensuring they understand the role they have to play in the company’s future.

With the retail market ever-changing and the Journal now sitting within a multi-channel landscape, the time was right for a new look and feel.

We determined two possible routes for the magazine – evolution and revolution – both offering a new route forward without ever losing sight of its fundamental aims or damaging the huge brand warmth established over many decades.


The result is a vibrant magazine with a fresh, modern look and feel that, crucially, feels like Sainsbury’s. A broader mix of commissioned photography, illustrations and graphics is complemented by a balance of longer features and bitesize snippets, all written in a clear but conversational tone of voice.

Core elements of content including products, values, business strategy and colleague news, are all retained in this format – every piece of content meets the criteria of helping colleagues to do a great job. Plenty of calls to action give readers the chance to have their say, with pushes to content on other channels ensuring the magazine supports the overall internal communications strategy to its fullest ability.

“We’re really pleased with the new-look Journal. As well as crafting a smart and fresh new design, the 44 team has raised the bar creatively too, making nice use of illustrations and photography to bring our key colleague messages to life.”

Christopher Taylor, Internal Communications Manager.
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