I have been working with a church in Minnesota to develop their logo. During my last discussion with the lead pastor, he described what he was looking for from the logo in terms of the style, the feel, and the conveyed qualities embodied within the church. He told me specifically that he would like a logo with a retro style feel to it, and that would be received well by disenfranchised members of the community who are sick of the status-quo church feel.

After he listed out the elements he would like from a logo, he asked me for my opinion. I thought it was very interested that the pastor wanted to design his logo around the demographics he is looking to reach. Now, don’t get me wrong– I love the idea of reaching out to disenfranchised community members who may not approach the idea of “church” very well, but I cautioned him on designing the logo around a current style and trend like the “retro”. In speaking with him, I pointed out some key qualities a logo must have.

1. Looks Good In Black & White

A church logo is the visual representation of your ministry, and must have the ability to be used in a wide-range of situations. Having a logo that looks awesome with flashy colors, smooth gradients, and hip textures is great, but if your audience can’t distinguish what it is based on the shapes and movement of the logo’s elements (and negative space) then the logo is worthless. Remember, a church logo should never rely on color to be the sole communication technique to express your ministry.

2. Ages Well

Your church logo will be with you for many years. People will begin to recognize it and identify your ministry with it as your logo takes point on all outreach and branding exercises. Because of this, it is vital to ensure your logo will be relevant in the future. The idea is to have people in 50 years see the logo and not be able to pin point the year it was created. This is a daunting task, but by adhering to tried-and-true design components you will find that your logo will be designed for the “long-haul” and not fizzle out in a year’s time. Creating a long-lasting church logo now will also save your ministry a lot of time, energy, and headaches because there will not be the need to recreate the logo in a few years.

3. Originality & Memorability

A church logo needs to stand out, just like your ministry does in your community. It must convey who you are, tell potential attendees if they will be a right fit in the congregation, and give people a sense of what to expect when they come to your church. These are very deliberate items to convey, and can be difficult to pull off correctly. However, if you and your core group of leaders sit down and make of a list of three things that separate your ministry from others in your area you should be able to nail down these important items quickly. Once this list is created your team should think about what items can be used to visually represent those unique qualities of the church.

The best logos are simple, deliberate, and convey symbolic meaning. You can always play with textures, colors, and different brushes for various instances of outreach ministry campaigns but your logo will always be the same.

What ideas or advice do you have for pastors looking to develop a logo for their church or ministry?