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Sage are number five or six among the world’s biggest academic publishers. For almost 60 years they’ve published, and often commissioned, academic books, journals, reference titles and more recently video content and digital tools. 

Several big rivals have recently gone through mergers or acquisitions, and Sage needed to articulate more clearly how it differed from the behemoths in the sector to retain a clear voice. Commercial academic publishers are often seen as a necessary evil in universities, and yet research showed Sage were seen as ‘the nice ones’.

Visually the brand hadn’t been fully reconsidered in decades. Limber Brands worked with them closely side by side for 18 months, steadily working through key objectives – to re-articulate their positioning, tell a clear story, streamline their product offerings, update the logo and build a recognisable visual language.

Independence with Impact




‘Independence with Impact’ underpins the brand’s visual evolution. We evolved the logo mark, freeing it from its oval frame, retaining the three parts but creating a far more fluid, 3D-like shape that can blow up to hold many different content types – just as a publisher holds many different publications. And we advised the logo lettering be switched from upper to lower case, for a more personal tone that reflected their warm personality.

Brand story

Brand architecture


Visual identity

Graphic design


Website design


Independent since 1965

A comprehensive rebrand of a global academic publisher, built around the benefits of independence.

They say

”Limber created a visual identity that perfectly encapsulated our mission and values as a company. It brings together everything we currently do and supercharges what’s coming next. ”

Andrew Hunter, Head of Marketing

Uniquely in the sector, Sage are female-founded and still independently owned. It’s now been guaranteed this will continue for at least 50 years. In a sector full of mergers, this clearly differentiates them, and wasn’t widely known. We developed the positioning ‘Independence with Impact’ around this, articulating what that gives customers with the flexible structure ‘Free to…’.


Alongside the core brand elements, we streamlined their digital product range from 15 to 8 sub-brands, and gave them clearer names, revised colours and a unified story. We then created hero visuals for each, held in the S logo mark. The presentation of them now makes for a much more unified suite under the new name Learning Resources.


An ‘independence mark’, above, reinforces the brand story. The logo’s lettering forms the basis of a uniquely customised font family, Sage Peak, with warm, humanist characteristics.


Limber also designed and produced hero applications across all key media – a new microsite (, a beautiful printed brochure, an animated brand story video and the booth design for the prestigious ACRL conference. We’ve taken care to make sure internal teams can follow what we’ve started.


Sage have all the elements needed to build their brand, for the first time in decades. Their ‘independence’ story is a genuine point of difference that will get competitors talking. The visual identity holds on to brand equity while becoming fit for the future. Their products are now structured as a much more unified suite, easier for customers to remember, and crucially for sales teams to cross-sell. This is the tip of the iceberg and work will continue to roll out throughout 2023.

Visual language

The logo shapes, which bend like sheets of paper, expand into a visual language used as highlights, quote marks and within a comprehensive icon set.

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