Creating a church logo is not for the novice. But it’s a necessity because we live in a visual world. Most have become accustomed to a controlled, visual symbol that represents everything an organization, product, service or church is known for.
A logo is an easy way to have people quickly recognize your ministries and distinguish your communication from all the other churches. And, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Creating a church logo properly will reinforce messaging and open doors.
Here are 5 practical steps:
1. Know all your requirements. Many will want a say into your church logo development. Many will believe you must have certain symbols with a certain style. It’s good to listen to anyone with an opinion. But be careful if you attempt to please everyone. You can’t.
Consider these: Do you need a religious symbol? (Probably not.) What words must be part of the logo? (Is the word “church” needed?) Do you have a thread or tagline that needs to be present in your visual brand? (I say “yes”!)
2. Decide on the church logo format. You’ll certainly need a horizontal and vertical version for flexibility. But consider the choice between a wordmark-style logo (just a stylized font for your name) or a unique symbol that accompanies your stylized name. The latter gives you flexibility.
3. Create the design in vector format. Now the fun, creative and challenging part.
If you’re not a designer, I’d recommend hiring one. Or a church branding company. If you want the challenge of creating a church logo that’ll define who you are for over a decade, the options are endless. Research trends, but resist being too trendy.
Simplicity and uniqueness need to define the logo. Use computer programs like Adobe Illustrator ($$$), Affinity Designer ($$) or Canva ($) to create a vector format (all points and curves are mathematically created). Don’t design in a program where resolution will be a concern. Vector format can be enlarged to a billboard-size and maintain a quality appearance.
4. Edit, Reduce, Simply. Think you’re done creating a church logo? No.
Your design now needs to be revised. Decide now between a “simple but not unique” logo OR a “more complex and very unique” concept. Most logos today are very simple so it will read well in a small format (i.e. website header or business card) and also can be screen-printed onto a shirt.
Your final church logo should represent who you are, the quality you expect and the people who attend. If it’s printed on something and offered to your audience, they should want to be associated with it or want the item.
5. Create file assets. Once the church logo is finally approved by all stakeholders, you need to create various files that can be used and controlled across all mediums and sizes. Your vector format (.ai) can be used in professional applications, but you’ll probably need some bitmap (resolution-bound) file formats (like a transparent .png) in color, greyscale and/or black and white. And your bitmap formats will need various sizes for different usage.
Yes, there’ll be many assets required in your collection, but the end result will be a logo you can use across multiple communication channels.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Mark MacDonald is a communication pastor, speaker, consultant, bestselling author, church branding strategist for BeKnownforSomething.com and Executive Director of Center for Church Communication. His book “Be Known for Something” is available at BeKnownBook.com.