Thinking about creating a new logo for your church or organization? Below, you will find a series of questions to consider and answer. Underneath these questions are notes based on my experiences with other churches and basic information that is related to that particular question.
1. What are the church’s mission, vision, and core values?
This is the first and most important question for churches to ask themselves. This is the core of your ‘brand’. It’s what you believe to be the most important things your church should be doing. It’s your annual and future ministry plans based on your present situation. It’s what you plan on communicating to your members and your community. It’s what members and teachers communicate to friends, coworkers, and parents. A logo is just a visual representation of this or a symbol that’s used to rally people to your mission and values.
2. What is the church’s general budget for this project?
Sometimes this is tied to the funds for a new building project, major event, or is already established within the church budget. Sometimes there are no specific funds allocated toward graphic design. The two main reasons I ask this question: 1) So I know what I can do within the limits of the budget, and 2) So that the church understands what can and cannot be done within their budget.
3. What is the timeframe for the completion of this project?
Logo projects can run anywhere from 3-6 months depending on the time it takes to research the project in the early stages and the time it takes the council/committee to respond to various drafts. In some cases, a specific date is set when the final logo is presented to the congregation. Council meeting dates can also be beneficial to keep me and the project on track. However, most correspondence and approvals can be made via email and don’t need a physical meeting to approve designs.
4. What is your budget for the project?
For a logo, most churches fall within the $1200-2000 range (more for full branding). Many churches, because of budgetary concerns, will negotiate with me on a fixed price for the entire project based on the research for the logo, what they wish to do, and what I can do within the confines of their budget. The initial designs with slight variations factor into the pricing. Research and development of those first drafts take up the lion’s share of the project, while the further revisions are much quicker to develop, depending on the timely feedback of the council and committees. I have found that it is easier for churches to decide on a fixed price along with the minimum amount of initial designs expected from me. For example, the flat-rate cost of a project could be decided on as $1500 after the initial discussions and time estimates. It is typical that I ask for 50% of the cost up front and the remaining 50% after the final logo has been approved and files delivered.
5. How many logo variation do you want?
This varies from church to church. Most often, there is a main logo with other variations if there is a school or other ministries within the church. These variations pertain to the text in the logo and not necessarily the graphic/art portion. However, depending on the direction of the drafts and concepts, this can play a big factor in the early stages of the project.
6. Do you want a clean break from your previous logo?
Most churches that I have worked with did not have a logo that was previously tied to their church. For those with a logo already, this is a very big question.
7. What is your target audience?
This is a bit of rhetorical question when asked of Christian churches, but is nonetheless very important. A temptation for many congregations is to focus too much on what they personally want and how the new logo relates to the previous one. However, it’s important to consider how others outside the church view the new logo. Is it inviting and memorable? Does it communicate that this is a church? A logo is indeed a point of pride for church members and a symbol of the community in which they belong, but it is also a symbol that others in the area associate with your church or school. This is more of a question that is asked throughout the entire process of creating a new logo and ties into the very first question relating to the church’s mission.
8. Is there a specific direction you want me to take with the logo?
Some churches have a clear vision for the direction and style of their new logo. Most do not, but it’s something worth asking just in case. I appreciate people’s different viewpoints and opinions. It often helps me to work through the earliest stages of conceptual design. I would also be very clear whether or not the direction is a good one based on my research and understanding of Christian symbolism.
9. Is there a specific color or colors that you would want?
Along the lines of the previous question, this is not entirely necessary for you to answer, especially in the early stages. The majority of the first drafts will be black and white, but I will sometimes add color to help visualize the concept. When choosing a color, it’s important to consider what other colors are used by churches in your area, its symbolism within Christianity, and its connection to the community.
10. How will this logo be applied?
The three main applications of a logo are print, digital, and embroidery. This is important when working on the details of the logo. I try to keep my logos simple and timeless, and as a result, they can be easily transferred to different media with little-to-no changes. You will receive all the necessary print files, web graphics, and files that could be used on a variety of different media. This would also include all the variations of the logo, along with grayscale and one-color versions.
11. Are there any questions you would like to ask of me?
I’m free during the entire process to answer any questions you have. Many of the question come within the first stage of the project and before the project officially begins. The ones I’ve asked above may not cover everything but help me formulate a plan of action and to finalize the details of what is expected of me and of the congregation.
12. What and how much information do you have to share with me about your church?
During the first portion of the logo design process, I will be gathering and studying information about your church. This also includes census data of your community. These things may have an impact on the direction of the logo or some of the early concepts. One requirement is the mission and future ministry plans of the congregation that is tied to question #1. Another is historical information about the church, or anything that you find relevant to share with me. Some documents I can acquire through synod archives if your church is affiliated with a large denomination. Others may come from city, township, or county archives. I’ve found that some of the best information is shared with me by the church itself. Feel free to send me anything of importance that is tied to the history of your church either by email or mail.