I’m sure there are people who think that churches shouldn’t have logos or websites, that it’s too business-like. I believe, however, that in current American culture, even for churches, images communicate more than words. High quality and contemporary logos, websites, and printed materials can help to communicate the Gospel to a community in a more relevant way.
Of course, if the people in the church are hypocritical and don’t care about their community, then no logo or website is going to help them. Their lack of concern for the mission of Jesus Christ communicates louder than anything else they could do.
I serve in the United Methodist Church where the Cross and Flame is the official logo. From a design standpoint, it’s a good logo. It’s simple, clear, and it communicates a message. United Methodist Church leaders can find various formats of the logo here.
There are some rules in place about how it can be modified and how it can’t, and these are common sense from a design standpoint. For example, the colors can’t be changed, and the cross and flame have to stay together in the logo.
Unfortunately, when I visit UMC websites I generally do not see a high value placed on visual communication. Websites and graphics tend to be of a lower quality, and the look and feel is out of date.
While this may seem trivial, a way of modifying the Cross and Flame that is acceptable and looks cool is the 3D plastic effect. Companies like Apple, ABC, EA, the NBA, Coca-Cola, and many others have switched to 3D logos.
The only UMC example of this I know of is the Stonybrook United Methodist Church logo designed by outreach.com. While Stonybrook’s logo is simple, the 3D effect on the Cross and Flame is at least a slight contemporary touch.
I think using a cool design trend communicates that the church wants to be up to date and relevant to a contemporary context. This is true for Stonybrook, and I hope, in some small way, the small detail in the logo communicates that. Of course, the logo isn’t anywhere near as important as loving the people around us and doing good in the world.
If you are a pastor or church leader, how you could make your church’s logo, website, signage, and printed materials communicate as effectively as possible to a contemporary audience?