It’s been great to see more and more activity in the Church Marketing Lab. The level of creativity is matched only by the willingness to grow and expand the gifts God gave us. Logo and brand identity has come up time after time in the lab, and it’s an area that can be both challenging and very rewarding.
Too often we jump to designing a logo when in fact we should be developing an identity. It may sound like symantecs, but it really isn’t. A logo by itself is simply an appealing image connected to a church name. An identity is a strategy that tells your story through imagery and color. This certainly involves a logo, but must first begin with strategy.
Don’t begin this process without first seeking God. This is a big task and if you don’t have some divine guidance, good luck.
Every identity and logo needs to begin with a pencil in your hand and your computer turned off. Don’t jump into Illustrator until you’ve done your homework and have pages of sketches. If you skip this step, you’re letting the computer design your logo and you’ll end up with a logo without heart.
Describe Your Church
Before we even sketch, take out that paper and pencil and begin to write down words that describes your church, your culture, the people in your community, what you’re great at, why people would want to know you, what people will find when they arrive, etc. This helps to find a foundation to build your identity on. Just because your church’s name is Hills Valley Christian Church does not mean you must have a logo with a hill, a valley and the sun shining over a cross. Instead your logo should be about what you are, it should tell your story.
Once you’ve written out this list of words that make up your story, now you can begin to isolate the main threads that run through who you are. Now, you can being to sketch with the goal of putting into visual terms these key concepts. Sketch and sketch and sketch. Put the paper down, go take a walk downtown, play catch with your kids, pull yourself away and refresh. Now, go back and sketch some more.
Now Use the Computer
Now take a look at your sketches, highlight those that jump out at you… now you can turn the computer on. As you begin to put your sketches into Illustrator keep a few things in mind:
- Design in black and white. Color is the final piece of the puzzle. Don’t let it confuse your decisions too early in the process.
- This isn’t time for the tagline, that can come later. The logo must stand on its own. If it needs to be explained, it doesn’t work.
- As you progress, look at different size scales of the logo. This will be important in having a universal logo. It will need to work on the side of your building or as a tiny web icon.
Step into the Lab
Once you have some concepts that you like, post them to the Church Marketing Lab (need help?) and the fun can continue. You’ll end up with a much stronger identity when you don’t do this alone. That’s what the lab is all about.