Also, see post on annual church theme ideas.
For 30+ years the North Valley Baptist Church has had a yearly theme. Since 2001, I’ve had the privilege to create a logo and a look for the new year. We also have an annual youth conference, pastors’ conference, and missions conference. For each of these conferences, there is a theme and design that goes along with each. I must admit I’m not the greatest at coming up with the logo and theme. It is usually a challenge, but a challenge I welcome and enjoy. Here are some thoughts on how I design the logo and overall look for each theme. I hope it’s a help.
Once I receive the theme for the year or the conference, the first thing I do is brainstorm. I’m privileged to work with some amazing and talented people. I love to grab a coffee with some of the people I work with and respect. While sipping coffee we will brainstorm about the year’s theme. (Coffee always helps me think better) This is a time to throw out as many ideas as possible about the theme. For instance, this year’s church theme was “consumed with compassion.” We tried to think of everything that relates to that theme – images, words, colors, etc. In the case of “consumed with compassion,” here are some of the things we came up with (heart, hands, tears, fire, fervency, people, empathy, yellow, orange, red, etc.)
The idea is to get as many ideas as you can. Encourage all types of ideas, even if they are not that great. You can sort through the ideas and throw out the bad ones later. This is not the time for criticism (constructive or not). That will come later. Some may find it useful to have a specific number of ideas you want to come up with during the brainstorming session. This may help you to really focus and put down as many ideas as possible. The more ideas, the better the possibility for a breakthrough.
Once you have brainstormed, the next step I take is scour. I try to scour the internet for ideas relating to what we came up with during the brainstorming session. For “consumed with compassion” we looked at many websites for ideas. We searched for heart, tears, fire, hands, etc on quite a few different sites. Here are some helpful websites.
Brandstack.com – You can actually purchase pre-made logos here.
Logopond.com – a great looking logo showcase
Google Search – I searched for “compassion” and visited compassion.com and other sites for inspiration. Also, I checked out google images for “compassion” to see if I could get inspiration.
iStockphoto.com – I search their vector images for logo/theme ideas
Depending on the theme, I may check other websites related to the it. For instance, Youth conference is a football theme this year, “Get in the Game!”. Last year it was a EMT (police, fire, paramedics). 2007 was a boxing theme. For Youth Conference themes I will check out many websites about football, EMT, boxing, etc. I also love to take “road trips” to places related to the theme. We’ve been to NFL training camps, boxing gyms, fire stations, etc. for inspiration, pictures, and for filming.
I save and file many different ideas from my scouring to reference on the next step. Remember to respect others work.
Once I have brainstormed and scoured, I like to sketch out designs. I just have a paper and pencil and start to sketch ideas for the theme. Believe me, it doesn’t always come easy. Many times, we sketch dozens of logos before we find the right one. I then work on the logo in Illustrator or Photoshop. Don’t give up. Look at what you’ve filed and saved for inspiration and ideas.
After you’ve sketched out an idea and mocked it up in illustrator or Photoshop, now is the time to submit it for suggestions/approval. Be prepared to make changes. Don’t be upset if they don’t like it. Take constructive criticism and work to make it better. Sometimes I get “the nod” on the first try. Other times I have to submit many ideas before we have the logo/theme we use.
I hope this was a help to you. What you do when creating a logo or theme? What steps do you take? Where do you go for inspiration and ideas? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.