Living Hope Church is about seven years old now, give or take, depending on how you do the math. Over the last sevenish years there has been a metamorphosis in our “look and feel” that has been easily tracked in our logo development. This shift in design has been in a constant effort to better communicate who we are and what we are all about.
After this earlier post on excellence in artistic output and design in our churches, I feel like this post needs the following disclaimer: There are MUCH BETTER designers out there than the Living Hope team. MUCH BETTER designers than me, for sure. MUCH BETTER logo designs, etc. Please don’t misread my passion for excellence in the church as a belief that our design work at Living Hope has set new standards of awesomeness. Not at all. I thought a look at our design process might be both interesting and informative, so I’m sharing it for whatever it’s worth. Cool?
Second Disclaimer: The earlier versions of our logo were developed by a dear friend and working graphic designer who does GREAT work. Her design work served us well for years, and we appreciate it much (you know who you are, friend!) This latest iteration of our logo design wad the first one she was NOT an integral part of, so we want to say a huge THANKS for helping shape and steer our look and feel at Living Hope during our critical early years.
Having properly set the stage, we begin…
our very first logo ever
When Living Hope took root, we began as a group of families with a desire to be a part of a new work of God in the NW metro area – a fast growing region, with over 200 families moving into the surrounding area every month. We had everything in common. Passion. Vision. Desperation. No money.
We shared a desire to model ourselves after the very first church recorded in the new testament, in Acts chapter 2. Our dream was to build a biblically functioning community of believers who helped people in our surrounding culture who were far from God grow into mature believers. At first, we stated it this way: “Living Hope. A New Testament Church for Our Generation.” Our first logo looked like this:
We soon learned that there was another church movement known as the “New Testament Church,” so we made our first adjustment. Our goal was the same, but we decided to state it this way: “Living Hope. An ACTS 2 Church for Our Generation.” Our next logo looked like this:
We used this logo for awhile (and it’s actually still on the side of the trailer we use weekly to haul our equipment and gear to the Middle School where we gather), but we realized it had some limitations. First of all, we realized that this logo was not easily scalable. The tag line text was too small in relation to the rest of the logo, AND the tag line text was an integral part of the logo. Take the tag text out, and the logo looks lopsided. It worked fine on top of church letterhead, but it couldn’t be shrunk down easily. And, we found out, it couldn’t be blown up very easily either…
This was a problem when we tried to develop it for use on a highway billboard near our church. In order for the tagline text to be readable by motorists zooming by, our logo would need to fill almost the entire billboard. This was not workable.
Also a problem, our tag line “Living Hope. An ACTS 2 Church for Our Generation” communicated something specific to other Christians who knew what we were referencing in Acts 2 – but it was meaningless to people who had no church background. We realized over time that it actually caused more confusion and raised more questions than it helped communicate our heart as a church. So it was time to change our tag line, as well.
Because of these hurdles we set out to develop a MUCH simpler look… an iconic logo that didn’t HAVE to be married to our church name or our tagline:
The oval logo retained our “new life heartbeat” line from the early days, and it was much more flexible than our early logos. Although, there was still some problems with scalability. The hearbeat line would often almost disappear as the logo was used in smaller applications. You can see this problem, even in large applications. The billboard we first used this logo on looked like this:
Much prayer and discussion went into changing our tagline – to better communicate what our church was all about. We wanted to reflect our Biblical mandate from Jesus to make disciples, and we wanted to communicate something about the methodology of our church – not only the WHAT of Living Hope, but the HOW, as well. We thought the best way to communicate the GOAL of our church (our measuring stick for effective ministry) in as few words as possible was to ask the question, “Is God changing lives?” In other words, is the Word of God reaching into hearts here and transforming people, or are our methods getting in the way of God’s work? This became our measuring stick in each area of ministry. Further, we realized that God had pulled together at Living Hope a very RELATIONAL group of people. We believed strongly that personal relationships were often the key environment God used to do His work in people. And of course, the most important and life-changing relationship of all is the one we have with Jesus Christ. So our new tag line was born. “Living Hope. Building Relationships that Change Lives.”
This latest iteration of our logo and new tag line were unveiled at our first ALL-LEADERSHIP RETREAT in January of 2008. For two days, 60 of our core leaders prayed together, played together, had meals together, and sought God for a clear path forward in ministry. We wanted to get beyond just “doing church” the best we knew how, and develop a clear plan to help structure environments where God could help actual growth – “life-change” – happen… to determine whether Living Hope was actually helping people grow into mature disciples of Jesus.
We started the process by examining scripture – trying to identify what a mature disciple of Jesus looks like in the Bible. After much prayer, study, and discussion, we began to write our bullet points out on a huge white board. A pattern began to develop. We realized that we could categorize our bullet points into four key growth areas. In other words, we believed that EVERY mature disciple of Jesus Christ ought to be CONTINUALLY GROWING in ALL FOUR of these areas:
(1) A growing love for people not connected to God. (A growing interest in building relationships with lost people and introducing them to Jesus.)
(2) A growing love for other believers. (Sharing resources, pray concerns, and meals together – “doing life together” with a groups of friends you can be honest with and grow in faith and love with.)
(3) A growing love for serving together. (Serving the needy in our community and our world, as Jesus taught us to, and doing that together with other believers, the way the Bible models over and over for us.)
(4) A growing love for God Himself. (The greatest commandment, and our greatest joy, is to love God in ever-increasing measure, as a response to who He is, what He has said, what He has done, and what He has promised to do.)
For each of these growth areas, we have developed one primary environment. Each environment is branded with a specific color and logo. While God deepens and grows the hearts of disciples at Living Hope in multiple areas in each environment, we believe it is important to invest time, energy, and resources wisely – to make sure we promote growth in each of these key biblical areas by assigning each one a primary environment – so that Living Hope can help to develop not just baby Christians, but deeply rooted, mature disciples. And because God does all the work, and He gets all the credit.
our latest logo design, just launched this fall, 2009
In the end, our newest logo, unveiled this fall, reflects our new tag line, and it also reflects our four key growth areas (and their corresponding environments, by color). It also reflects our understanding that JESUS CHRIST is in the CENTER of all that we do. Notice the four color blocks and the cross formed by the empty space between them in our new logo:
Watching the changes happen in our logo design reflects significant points in our church history. I remember the “Holy Spirit” moments, when an idea broke through, and God led with clarity. I remember each change along the way, and what drove them. And I learned a lot about design as we moved ahead. For my next post in the “Designing Ministry” series, I’ll lay out some key take-aways from our logo development process, and some guide points in developing your next ministry logo.
“designing ministry, part three :: rebrand 2009 :: logo development” by Joshua Skogerboe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.