Ministry Branding – Logo
We finally get to talk about the visual aspect of your ministry’s brand; the piece that everyone associates with when they hear the word, “brand.” Up to this point in our series we’ve established that a brand is made up of words and visuals. We touched on visuals last week, but only as an introduction. Today we finally get to talk about the logo or mark, the most recognized part of any brand visual.
Your ministry’s logo is your visual identity. The logo is the mark by which your target audience visually remembers you. It’s a major piece to your identity as a brand. If those statements are true, which we believe that they are, then creating something that is simple and easy to remember is important. Think of the simplicity of some of the biggest brands in the world. The McDonald’s M, the Nike swoosh, the Apple… apple. All of the logo marks associated with these big brands are very simple shapes that are easy to remember. However, the best logos in the world are not simply, simple. They also tend to follow some very specific rules. Take for example, Dignity Health. You’ve probably seen a commercial of theirs at some point in the last week. They recently rebranded and they are making a huge advertising push to keep themselves in the front of their viewers’ minds. If you look at Dignity Health’s brand guidelines, it’s a one-hundred and twenty-two page document detailing the rules that must be followed anytime someone wants to use their new visual identity. They demand consistency around the use of their brand, something we’ve already discussed at length. Now, with anything that falls within the creative realm whether design, video, or photography, rules can always be broken, but in order to break those rules, you first must know the rules. Here are some of the rules we like to follow when designing our clients’ logos.
Ministry Branding – Logo Rules
- The logo must work well monochromatically. This means it must be just as strong viewed as a black, grey, or white version, as it is in color.
- The logo must be strong “flat.” There may be 3 dimensional elements to the logo, but the logo must work well flat. In fact, we prefer logos that are flat because they tend to be more simple.
- The logo must be scalable. This simply means it must work well when viewed in any size.
- The logo should be timeless. Creating logos that are timeless is more of an agency rule for us. To the best of our ability we try to create logos that don’t follow trends.
- The logo should be relevant to and informed by the messaging components of your brand. Remember, we want to build brands that speak well to our researched target audience. We try and incorporate design elements into the logos we design that speak well to the target audience.
- Lastly, the logo must be aesthetically pleasing. Now, this is probably the most difficult rule to follow because opinions differ on what’s aesthetically pleasing from one person to the next. This is another reason why it’s important to understand who your target audience is, because you want to create a logo that is aesthetically pleasing to that group of people. This rule has far less to do with your staff and critics’ opinions, and much more to do with your target audience’s opinions.
Brand Experience is Everything
Now, please don’t think or hear me say that your logo is going to sway your target audience to support or give just because it’s beautiful, simple, and easy to remember. I’m not saying that a great logo has ever been the reason someone purchased a product, service, or gave to a non-profit. At the end of the day people are only loyal to brands and only advocate for brands they support and love because of the experience they have with that brand. Brand experience is what causes someone to give. Brand experience encourages that supporter to come back again. Brand experience is why someone will give to your non-profit on a monthly basis. Brand experience is why a supporter will tell her friends, family, and anyone willing to listen about your ministry. It is imperative that you create a brand experience for your supporters that is unlike any other experience they’ve had with other ministries. Your logo is important, but it’s only a small piece to your overall brand experience. At Reliant, we fundamentally believe that brands should be built on story and emotion, but none of that matters if the brand experience is lacking. You can have the greatest story in the world, the greatest logo in the world, but if your supporter’s experience with your brand is lacking, or heaven forbid negative, generally speaking your ministry will struggle. A great brand experience should permeate everything you do and say, and your logo is the very first visual introduction to your supporter’s experience with your brand.