A solid brand is the key to effective marketing. And when the goal of your “marketing” is to share the Gospel and save souls, it’s called evangelization.
Does this mean branding is essential for evangelization? Yes, it does.
Unfortunately, most Catholic parishes and organizations aren’t sure how to build a brand or where to start. Here we’ll outline three simple steps to help your church build a brand that unleashes your evangelization potential.
Church branding basics: Four visual components
Before diving into the actual steps to build a church brand, it’s important to understand the basic visual components of branding:
- Icon or Mark: A simple image that represents your brand
- Name or Title: Describes who you are
- Font or Typography: Helps communicate a specific message/feeling
- Color Palette: The official colors of your brand
All four of these visual components help you create a logo.
Also, before you start the process, you’ll want to:
- Assemble a team – Keep it small (three to five people) as there will likely be many difficult decisions to make.
- Identify your target audience – Define who you are trying to reach and how you want to be perceived.
- Commit to the investment – The branding process requires a significant investment of time, talent, and resources. Avoid cutting corners and identify qualified volunteers (or an outside firm) to help you get the best results.
Church Branding Step 1: Create a unique mark + define your name
The first step is to create a mark that represents your organization and appeals to your target audience. If you need some inspiration or creative direction to get started, try to find something that is already recognizable within your community. Many times, Catholic churches already have a painting, piece of art, statue, or an abstract texture/pattern that can be repurposed as a simple and attractive mark (such as the examples below).
Finding inspiration for your mark
This church used an original piece of artwork (left) and created a simplified version (right) that was much easier to use in a variety of media (print, online, etc.)
An existing statue of St. Joseph (left) provided this Catholic parish with inspiration for its mark (right), as shown below.
A final part of this step is to identify an official name to accompany the mark. For example, a parish named St. Joseph could consider establishing any of the following as its official name:
- St. Joseph
- Saint Joseph
- St. Joe’s
- St. Joseph Church
- Saint Joseph Catholic Church
- St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church
- St. Joseph Catholic Community
This process may lead to some challenging debates, but remember the ultimate goal: To convey a clear message and appeal to a specific audience.
Church Branding Step 2: Establish an official font set
Your brand will need an official set of fonts. When making your decision, be sure to consider the two types of fonts:
- Serif Font – contains serifs, or small lines/tails at the end of each stroke in a letter (e.g., Times New Roman, Georgia). Serif fonts are generally considered to be easier to read in print.
- Sans-Serif Font – does not contain serifs (e.g., Arial, Helvetica). Sans-serif fonts are generally considered easier to read on a digital screen.
Next, use the following free tools to explore different fonts and font combinations:
- Google Fonts – Easily sort fonts by style, thickness, and other characteristics. Once you find a font you like, this tool will suggest attractive secondary font options.
- Font Pair – Specify the type of font combination you’d like to achieve, and this tool will present dozens of options. You can even enter your own heading and paragraph text to get an authentic look at how your brand could be represented with each font.
Remember to take your time and select fonts that will be versatile, legible on a variety of devices/media, and appealing to your target audience.
Church Branding Step 3: Pick an official color palette
Once you’ve identified a few palettes you like, use the following tips to help pick a winner:
- Test on a variety of digital screens – Grab an old monitor, a Retina display, a tablet, an iPhone, an Android…any screen you can get your hands on! Colors can render differently on a variety of displays, so take a look at them all to make sure you’re satisfied with the result.
- Print it out – Similarly, print your colors on an ink-jet printer, a laser printer, your printer at home, and the copy machine in the parish office. Just for fun, hook up the printer you were planning to haul to the landfill next month. Take a look at the printouts and make slight adjustments to your color palette if you’re not happy with the output.
Implementing your church’s new brand
Once you’ve completed Steps 1-3, it’s time to enforce your new brand standards. Don’t let all your hard work go to waste! Create an official brand style guide: A document that defines your organization’s official fonts, colors, and other brand assets. A good style guide should include:
- Your new logos
- Links to download your official fonts
- Specific color values (e.g., hexadecimal, CMYK, RGB, and PMS)
Next, get everyone on board! Share your official style guide with the entire team, and be sure to hold people accountable to the new standards.
Establishing and maintaining a consistent brand at your church is hard work….Which is precisely why it can help your organization stand out in your community and evangelize more effectively.
Need help building your church’s brand?
Let us help with the technical details! Contact us for pricing, options, and more information.