Logo Change - The BattleBegins
By Russ Ward
The church has faced difficulties before; oppression, division, strife and conflict. But none of the previous trials have prepared the church for the impending battle yet to come. That battle is when the leadership decides that a logo update is needed. One of the most difficult times a church must face is when it becomes apparent that the logo is out of date and needs a revision or a total makeover. For some reason the logo, regardless of current iteration, has people of strong conviction landing opposite each other. The only debate that is fiercer is when you are considering a change to your church’s name.
If only all of that pent-up passion could be directed at the lost, the church would really make an impact. But, instead, people tend to quibble over colors and fonts and usually ignore the advice of graphic designers and other communication professionals.
What I find interesting about the controversy is that, often times, the people who do not want a change will say that a logo is “unimportant” and that we “shouldn’t concern ourselves” with making a change. But, when you propose just that, you would think that the world is coming to an end with their negative speaking and you start hearing, “over my dead body.”
So, you should be warned that a change to the logo can be a difficult battle where strong opinions and traditions often trump common sense and modern communication strategies.
How do you avoid what seems to be an inevitable battle?
First, have a reason. If there is no reason to change the logo, then the people complaining may be correct. Always ask yourself “What does our logo say?” If it says nothing to you, or to other people, then a change is necessary. Your logo should state who you are and speak to those you are trying to reach. If it is in an old style font with bold colors, then it will say you are traditional. If it was designed in the 80’s or 90’s it may say that you are stuck in a bad episode of Perfect Strangers or Full House. Keep in mind that very few logos are timeless and even those timeless logos get revisions over time. Look at the history of the Pepsi logo, for example.
Second, when you consider a new logo, it should speak to people. Also, you should be able to defend it based upon the message it communicates and whom it speaks to. You should be looking at four primary parts of the logo design: the colors, the font choice, the shapes, and the layout. What are the meanings of each and what do they say? Are the colors muted or bright? Is the lettering bold and square or rounded? Do you want a “Jesus” fish, a dove, or Bible, or cross, or none of these? For years, a conservative Christian Church had a logo with a dove, and yet they were always perplexed when Spirit filled Charismatics would enquire about attending, or show up on a Sunday morning. Layout styles also communicate, as they have evolved over time. Is the design symmetrical, or is it weighted left or right? These are all important communication devices that should not be ignored and a new logo should be defendable on all of these points.
Third, get some professional help. You may be blessed with a quality graphic designer or artist at your church, but even they will need a second opinion. Usually, you can get free advice regarding design. Speiro can help with that.
Fourth, there is never a design emergency. Avoid the rush to decide. That doesn’t mean that you put off the project due to disorganization or lack of planning. Instead, thoughtfully consider the aspects of the design, because you will be stuck with it for several years.
Fifth, think about spreading the decision out to a small group of people. Let them be a part of the discussions, but also let them be part of the rollout. A word of caution, don’t let that number swell beyond five people. When doing logo design in the secular world, if I worked with a committee over five people, I charged double. All of a sudden, the process took twice as long and the results usually became a mishmash, or, trying to please the people in the room and not the target demographic.
I hate to say it, but most churches need at least a revision of their logo, but many will shy away from the battle and fail to communicate to their target demographic, their community, in an effective way.