Before and After
As churches seek to update the logo/branding over time, many ask the questions:
1) Why would I pay for graphic design when I can create something nice in Microsoft Word or Publisher?
2) Why pay a professional design company when I can buy a pre-made logo for $5 or less on the internet?
Those are great, legitimate questions and we have answers for all of them. Instead of giving you intangible answers and reasons, we’ll walk you through the process one of our customers just embarked on.
Sheffield Church of God approached us in March of 2018 wanting to update their existing branding. Their logo was 10 years old, and their motto was 30 by the time they contacted us. They knew they wanted change but couldn’t put their finger on what they wanted or how they wanted it.
Our design process started with gathering the facts we needed about Sheffield. They were setting a new 10 year mission of:
Additionally, Sheffield wanted a more contemporary/cutting edge visual mark (logo) to match that concept. They still wanted “love” to be a part of their mark but they were open to ideas. They also wanted their logo to be attractive and relevant to younger families, as children and youth are a large portion of their church.
After collecting this and some other information about the church, our designers set out to create a series of concepts that reflected the design aesthetic, or style of artwork, that best fit the goal of being welcoming to guests while not completely alienating the current congregation. Sheffield also wanted a logo that reflected a modern, 21st century church, not one stuck in the 1990’s. When you choose to use a stock logo company or an international online source for your logo, they don’t care about your goals, your history, your community or anything else. They show you a quick design with no thought or intentionality. It’s just a generic mark. Even if they ask you questions, they most likely have no context or experience in church branding or building a great Guest Ministry.
After some hand sketches, we used professional design software to flesh out a handful of basic ideas to show the church.
When we start showing churches concepts, we try to avoid color and let the logo mark stand on its own. If it needs color to work, then it probably isn’t a very good logo. Why do we do it this way? Simple. Usability.
A logo is meant to exist far beyond the projection screen in your sanctuary. It needs to be built in a way that allows it to remain legible and recognizable regardless of the size. All of the concepts we showed to Sheffield were easily adaptable to a wide array of uses including:
- Outdoor church signs (Etched into stone, etc.)
- Ink Pens
- Printed Material
- Coffee Mugs
In order for a logo to function correctly in all of those applications, it needs both the correct file architecture and it strategically needs to be designed for usability in a multitude of different environments. When we design logos for churches, we consider the totality of applications where it can be used, not just the immediate needs of today’s project.
When Sheffield started working with us on their logo, it was after they had already put some work in on their own, but couldn’t quite come up with what they wanted. As pastors or staff in a church, your time is best spent doing what only you can do – shepherding your members in your community. Yes, the laws of physics allow you to buy a subscription to software and physically create your logo, but at what cost? Sermon prep time? Time spent investing in volunteers or taking steps to build your reputation in your community? While we ask for a minimum of 2 weeks for the design process and have worked on brands that have taken over 1 year to craft, we believe taking advantage of a great designers speed, efficiency and experience is ultimately one of the best forms of stewardship you can undertake in this branding process. What may take you 100 hours to master, may only take us 5. What steps could you take to help your church grow with the extra time you would spend learning software?
After a few more revisions, Sheffield settled on a logo that matched their desire to love the people in their community. The simplicity of the design gives them flexibility to use it in multiple formats. The addition of color creates a sense of hierarchy and the fonts were modified to fit the character of their church.
As you review the branding of your own church and consider if it’s time to update, we recommend asking yourself these questions:
1) Would someone who doesn’t attend any church (let alone your church) find your logo relatable and applicable to the culture in which we live?
2) If your logo has a tag line or motto as part of it, is it still correct?
3) Can your logo be scaled for use on anything from an ink pen to a billboard?
If the answer to any of these questions is no, it may be time to rethink your church branding.
Ready to give your logo that kind of an update?
Click here to begin the process of creating a new logo for your church.