The End of Static Logos

June 22, 2007 by

I read an interesting piece from across the pond recently; British blogger Johnson Banks begins “It’s official. The age of the static brand is coming to an end … “

In his post, he discusses logos that change to meld with their environment, to reflect current events, or merely to exist as different works of art. Long ago, this was a big no-no. Your logo was your logo was your logo. Obviously, the most striking example of this active logo is Google. Check out their gallery of logos.

Obviously, continuity is necessary. You can’t do a weekly logo redesign, but your logo needs to reflect that you aren’t passive; you’re changing, you’re moving forward, you’re staying in touch with the world around you.

Where could these ideas associated with active branding be more pertinent than the church? If your church is alive, moving, creating, and reacting, shouldn’t your logo say the same? I know there are some churches out there using the same logo as they did when planted by the patriarchs on the Mayflower. And you can hold on to that.

Tradition is beautiful. There’s something sacred in the architecture of storied cathedrals. Heck, there might even be something romantic in your long-standing logo. But what if your logo said that you hold on to tradition as well as reaching for the future? The two elements aren’t mutually exclusive.

How about you guys? Have you had any experience with non-static church logos? I, myself, haven’t; it just seems good in theory. What do you think? Am I wrong on suggesting this one? Is there something special in absolute continuity for church logos?

Post By:

Joshua Cody

Josh Cody served as our associate editor for several years before moving on to bigger things. Like Texas. These days he lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife, and you can find him online or on Twitter when he's not wrestling code.
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12 Responses to “The End of Static Logos”

  • Erickyp
    June 22, 2007

    As a youth pastor for 17 years, we use to “morph” our logo just a little bit about every year to year and half. I say morph because they were slight changes from year to year but when looked back through the life of the logo, it was a big change. One of my favorite corperate examples was Oakley sunglasses. Their logo has morphed to where it is totally dfferent than it was twenty-something years ago.
    One of the great things it did for the youth ministry was everytime the new T-shirts came out with the new logo, which we tried to coincide with camp, all the students wanted a new one. Then it was cool to see someone wearing a T-shirt with a logo from 10 years ago as well; kind of retro.
    Now, that I am a Lead Pastor of a 2 year old church plant, we have already morphed our logo once.

  • Betsy
    June 22, 2007

    Erick- I don’t even see a logo on your church website. I’d be really interested to see what a “morphed” logo looks like.
    When I read the headline of this post, I thought it meant that people were going to animated .gif files for their logos. Oh.

  • Erickyp
    June 22, 2007

    You know, you are right; there is not a even a logo on our site. You know, we have been looking our site to make some changes and not one person caught the fact that there is no logo on there. Sometimes it takes an outside eye to see something so obivious, like my wife showing me where the mayo is.
    Maybe, I am using the word morph wrong. I am not the tech person but that is my word for making subtle changes to the logo so that is changes but still looks similiar.

  • Matthew
    June 22, 2007

    No matter what you do to it, a logo is still just a logo. It lets people know your name, but beyond that, it doesn’t matter much.
    Many of the most popular and respected companies and institutions have kept the same logo for years, and the public doesn’t care.
    You can change your logo if you want, although I think it’s likely a waste of time. What matters is the church.

  • Mean Dean
    June 22, 2007

    This is a nice concept – but I wonder how much it does in terms of reaching one’s conversion goals for their site?
    I mean, Google has dynamic logos – but only on special occasions – and only because they’re a well known and adopted brand.
    I know of no church who has the same fan base nor affinity with their brand – so the question in my mind is: nice, but does it get us anywhere?

  • Chris Huff
    June 23, 2007

    LOL Betsy!
    I agree with Matthew. I put logos in the same category as mission statements, vision statements, even church web site designs. It’s fun to try to tweak our public image through these kinds of things, but what changes our public image the most is what we actually do. What ministries do we participate in? Do we go out of our way to be Christlike? Of course, this makes sense, but we forget so easily.

  • IMAGE Church
    June 24, 2007

    we morphed ours once in a year since we became a church plant; however we had three different logos when we were a ministry at a church in a 4 year span. That is probably not the best way to go about it because of brand identity. We do need to stay moving forward though. UPS, Shell gas and other big corps have kept the traditional logos with morphing to todays market and it works..

  • Matt
    June 24, 2007

    I’m working on a redesign of our logo at the moment (we’ve stopped using our old one and are kind of logo-less at the mo)…
    The intention is to have a tag that stays basically the same design (in this case the word ‘riverside’ in a block) that lays over a large stylised RS: the RS will change each year or so in line with the fashion, but the block will stay the same, except for colours.
    Ours is a young-adult focussed church: fashion matters to them, so it matters to us.
    Matthew – I agree the church IS important, but as soon as you start talking about the lower case C church (ie the local congregation) then identity matters. It matters a lot.

  • Mean Dean
    June 26, 2007

    Is it a good marketing idea to create a brand that is a moving target?
    If not, then perhaps we should reconsider the “gee whiz” thinking behind dynamic logos.
    Meaning, while technically refreshing, if they don’t contribute to a church web site’s conversion goals, then do they profit us anything?

  • Damian
    June 26, 2007

    The church matters, the logo matters, the wording in the brochure and in the message matters, the parking lot matters, the bathrooms matter…
    These are interdependent realities, and good design is becoming a key priority. Design won’t save anyone, but the work we put into every facet of what we call church is an indication of how much we care. In other words, saying “it doesn’t matter” is saying “you don’t matter” to the community, and to the congregation.

  • karab
    June 29, 2007

    I would love to see dynamic logos in our church. I believe the UMC flame is the perfect logo to be animated.
    And the future of signage will soon be able to keep up with dynamic logos as a real world site as well as virturally. And if we put that much work into promotion/logos, it’s directly linked to the amount of time we pour into ministry…or should be at least.

  • christina
    October 25, 2007

    exactly, Damian, the whole concept of do everything as if you are doing it for the Lord… additionally, I think that it is one of the marks of a good brand if you can change it a bit for a holiday or whatever and still see the identity.

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