Does your church have a style guide?
That’s the topic of this helpful post over at SHRINKthechurch, and I think it’s worth your time to check it out. Post author Brian Kaufman shares a link to download the rather impressive and comprehensive style guide produced by Redemption Church in Arizona.
The goal of a style guide, of course, is to ensure that anyone creating visual communication pieces on behalf of the church does so in a way that’s consistent with the church’s mission, values, and aesthetics. If you take the time to read through Redemption’s style guide, you can’t help but notice the intentionality with which the church has articulated its vision and its visual preferences.
In reading through this vision, you’re likely to notice some things that are important to Redemption and its brand that aren’t important to your church. Perhaps you’re not dedicated to planting “Gospel-centered, Reformed, Missional churches.” Perhaps you don’t believe your church’s brand should be “confidently masculine.” Odds are that your primary typeface is something other than Interstate, although it’s a fine typeface.
Perhaps your brand’s color palette isn’t “strong and masculine, as if forged out of pure steel & testosterone.” Perhaps your preferred textures are something other than wood, leather, and concrete. Perhaps you don’t believe “gradients and bevels are for sissies.” Maybe, just maybe, as you’ve shaped the visual identity of your church’s communication efforts, you’ve chosen different themes, tones, values, and so on. I think that’s okay.
While there is be a conversation to be had about the traits and characteristics the universal Church should or shouldn’t embody, I believe local expressions of the universal Church can and should look different. Where there exist unique communities of unique individuals with unique gifts and histories, unique styles will emerge.
So by no means is your church obligated to adopt a “gradients and bevels are for sissies” mentality, but I still think you can learn something from Redemption Church’s style guide. Do the hard work of identifying your community’s ethos and explore the visual implications of that ethos.
In other words, perhaps our first question should be, Does your church have style?
Whatever conclusions you arrive at — whether you’re pro-concrete or not — articulate those conclusions in the form of a style guide. Share that style guide with your staff and volunteers and work together to represent the brand — and the universal Church — well.
Does your church have a style guide? Let us know in the comments. And hey, if you want to share a link to your church’s guide, the rest of us would love to check it out.
Scott McClellan is the Editor of Echo Hub and the Director of Echo Conference. Follow him on Twitter: @scottmcclellan.