When churches approach me looking for a logo, I often see myself explaining the more complex and important need for a Visual Identity. A Visual Identity, which is sometimes referred to as Branding, is the graphic expression of your brand – and it goes beyond having a logo. It embodies the logo environment and all of its possible variations. The visual identity is the most important tool for recognition of your brand going forward, especially when it starts being used by people other than the original designer. Below are the 10 steps to creating and making the best use of your visual identity.
1.) Start With Your Churchʼs Vision
Churches must start their branding process with clearly defined Mission and Vision Statements. Check out this article to learn how to write your Mission Statement and this one for how they differ as well as how to write a Vision Statement.
2.) Know Your Target Audience
Targeting everyone is not an effective way of reaching people. We live in a culture that values customization and knowing details about your audience will allow you to create powerful emotional connections and, ultimately, make your visual identity more effective.
3.) Research As Much As Possible
It is a silly assumption to assume we have the ability to create something completely original. Design is, therefore, a combination of two previously existing creations. Research reveals what creations, or inspirations, should be explored together.
4.) Brainstorm Freely
Sketch without censorship. Quantity over quality is key here. Black and white sketches at the highest speed possible are the way to achieve the best end results.
5.) Consider the Gestalt
Evaluate your brainstorming sketches according to the graphic principles of Gestalt and your churchʼs vision. Choose a few sketches and redesign them in more detail. Do this repeatedly until one stands out.
6.) Consider Color Psychology
When choosing a color scheme, personal preferences should never come into play. The effect that the colors will have in your target audience is the single most important concern.
7.) Design Your Vector Art
A logo should never be finalized as an image file. A vector graphics program must be used in developing a mathematically created logo, with will allow exporting flexibility to any conceivable size.
8.) Create Your Brand Guidelines
With a finished logo, a collection of fonts, backgrounds, and graphics should be created. Besides being added to a Brand Package, these files should be clearly explained in a Style Guide or Brand Guidelines. This guide should then be available to all personnel involved in marketing, with the purpose of avoiding possible deviations.
9.) Respect The Brand Guidelines
A staff member who likes a certain color might be inclined to use it in church branded material. That kind of decision making is to be completely avoided. The church brand is above personal choices and will be more effective when the Guidelines are respected.
10.) Distribute Your Brand Package
Together with your Brand Guidelines, a package with logo variations, font family, and marketing graphics should be made available to all staff members. This will ensure consistency in the dissemination of your brand and its efficacy.
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