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The ESSENTIAL LOGO Design Guide for Catholic Parishes & Businesses

The logo… It’s one of the most important assets to a company, organization, product, or idea. There are so many brilliant logos out there, like Doordash and NBC. Everyone wants to rep a clever, attractive logo. But how does one go about designing one? And how much is it supposed to cost? Should you hire a designer or do it yourself? Here's a guide for those who are looking to DIY their logo.


Want to cut to the chase? Jump to the How-to section.



Contents









What is a logo?

According to 99designs.com, “A logo is a symbol made up of text and images that identifies a business.” Logos are also used by parishes, nonprofits, communities, causes, and others.


Squares or circles, black or white, different visual choices communicate different things. Skilled graphic designers are trained to leverage the principles of design in shape, color, line, and more, to create logos that creatively represent brands.


There are many types of logos. Here are a few examples:

  1. Text

  2. Negative space

  3. Illustrative

  4. Double meaning

  5. Acronym

  6. Geometric

  7. Abstract


Why have an excellent logo?

I’m totally biased, but every business needs a great logo. But why?


A good logo make you stand out

A good logo can make you stand out from the competition. Much like dressing up in a suit, rather than sweats, at Mass. A good example of this is the Archdiocese of Detroit. Just compare their logo to any other diocese shield logo! It obviously made an impression on me.


A good logo communicates your values

It's been famously said, "A picture is worth a thousand words." Not only can you communicate what you sell, you can communicate what's important to your company. EWTN's logo does a good job at both. In it, you can see three different shapes: A globe, a satellite, and the dome of St. Peter's Basilica. Together, these represent a global Catholic broadcasting network. It can be difficult to combine three complex shapes like this, but this logo gets the job done.


A good logo increases credibility

Similarly to standing out, a good looking logo really helps you look like you know what you're doing. Say you're interviewing prospective employees. Who are you going to take more seriously... Someone who shows up to the interview in a dress shirt or in their PJs?


A good logo increases employee morale, pride, and sense of unity

A good logo for your company can be like a national flag. Just like how Mel Gibson in the finale of The Patriot led a charge into battle, waving the American Flag high, so too can you lead the charge of your company toward its mission and vision unified with an awesome logo. It's a huge perk to have a logo your employees are proud to wear not just to the office, but out and about as well.



How do I know if I need a logo?

You don't have one at all

You're just starting your organization and you've gotten your Mission and Vision statements sorted out. It's time to create a logo you, your volunteers, employees, and customers can be proud of and rally behind!


Your logo is outdated or needs a face-lift

It's been a while since your current logo was designed or it just doesn't look good.


Your existing logo doesn't represent your company accurately anymore

Either your company changed or your current logo wasn't properly designed well in the first place.


You want to take your business to the next level

You've got a bit more money to spend on a skilled logo and brand designer to build a comprehensive guide and suite. These can be handed to your marketing department to create campaigns that will send sales through the roof. You're also ready to give customers and your competition something to talk about!



How do I know if I should wait to create a logo?

You don't have a clear understanding of your company

Do you have Mission and Visions statements? Do they need to be redone? Is it accurate to how your company is run and its goals? If you don't know who you are and what you're selling, how can you clearly communicate those things to your customers?


You don't have a clear understanding of your customers

Are you selling your product to yourself? No! You're selling to your customers. Your customers and donors are your sources of income, so you should be designing your products and services to fit their needs.


This includes your marketing. So, who is your target audience? What language and visuals appeal to them the most? If you don't know who your customer is, you might create a logo (or anything for that matter) that won't appeal to them and you're going to lose out on sales.


Creating a User Persona can be really helpful for any marketing endeavor. A User Persona is a fictitious person that represents your ideal customer, complete with a name, profession, marital status, and attitudes related to your product. It's a great way to humanize a conglomerate of people.


Further, bringing a User Persona to a designer can possibly give you a discount on a logo design. A User Persona is a valuable asset to every business that wants to run efficiently. I've create a free User Persona Creation Tool just for you.





How to Design a Logo

With all of that being said, an emerging company or organization still needs a logo even if they don't have the funds to hire a designer. If that is the case, having a logo is better than not having one at all. I'd rather give you some tips than leaving you hangin'!


Here's how to design a logo for your business, nonprofit, or organization.


1. Strategy

Create a document that spells out your company's identity information. Mission, vision, tagline, goals, history, etc.


Create up to three User Personas that represent your audience or customers.



Meet with key stakeholders to identify a creative direction based on company identity and customer needs. What kind of logo should it be? What style would appeal to customers the most? Is there defining or important imagery related to our business that you should include?


While everyone is gathered, come up with three to five keywords that describe your brand. Brain-dump as many words as you can think of, then whittle it down from there. Use a Thesaurus.


Gather images to be used as inspiration. Other logos, images, pictures, colors, fonts, etc. This will help guide the visual direction.



2. Concepting

Now combine all of the ideas in the previous step into logo concepts. What is the theme of the logo? Either write them down or sketch them out. Write down and sketch everything you think of. There are no dumb ideas in this step. Draw circles! Draw a stick figure! Anything. Be creative and have fun!


Examples could be eagle monstrance, a funky R, elegant text logo, negative space pencil with a spaceship, or a Catholic flower. Sketch out multiple iterations of one concept. I usually shoot for 100 thumbnail sketches. These are quick, low-fidelity sketches, not Rembrandt paintings!


Only work with black and white in this step. You need to have the lines before you can color inside them.


Once enough sketches have been generated, pick the best concepts. I usually present three concepts with their best thumbnail sketches to clients. Gather and evaluate change requests from key stakeholders.



3. Polishing

Spend some time refining your best three concepts. This is when I usually move to the computer and digitize the black and white shapes I drew. I like to make a copy of every single exploration to compare everything. Again, no silly ideas here, so create as many versions as you need.


Choose the best version of each concept to present to stakeholders. Ask stakeholders to choose one concept and requested changes.


4. Finalization

This is when things get really exciting. Apply requested changes to chosen concept. Digitize your black and white logo if you haven't already. This is when you apply colors! Again, choose colors that speak to your company identity and what appeals to your customers. Don't delete that black version though. You're going to want it!


Carefully choose a font too and place text around your logo in as many layouts as you want. Here are some ideas:

  • Square

  • Badge

  • Horizontal

  • Vertical

  • Text only


Create different versions in black, white, and perhaps reverse colors.


Export to different file versions. The types that will be most useful to you would be PNG, PDF, EPS, and SVG.


It might be a good idea to create a document that gathers all logos, official fonts, and exact colors (hex codes, CMYK/RGB values, etc.) in one place. Here are some examples of brand guides.


5. Implementation

Now it's time to publish your new logo everywhere! If you're replacing and old logo, make sure you plan on phasing out all old branding. Things like investing in new branded material and making the big reveal to your audience.


Plan on educating those who will be directly working with branding assets on how to use them. Make sure your logos are accessible to these people. You can either put them on a shared online drive or make them downloadable link on your website.


Buy a cake and celebrate the launch of your new logo!



A few tips

Test the scalability. Your logos will live in all sorts of places! From a billboard to the side of a pencil. Shrink you logo down to small sizes, like 1x1 cm and see if you can still "read" it.


I do not recommend Fiverr or Upwork, especially designers that do work for cheap. Like I said before, you get what you pay for.


Get educated on basic licensing and copywrite laws when it comes to creative work. Consider trademarking. Draw inspiration from but do not copy visual aspects from other logos.



Tools to use

Of course, I'm going to recommend Adobe Illustrator to create your logo. This is so you can create vector type images, which means you can infinitely scale artwork without losing resolution. You could purchase the program individually for a month or two, and then unsubscribe.


You could also purchase a month to month subscription to ChatGPT that can generate a logo for you. Creating art with AI is a debated topic, but the technology is here and available.


Canva is an option too. You can use its free graphics and drawing tools to create a logo. You can even download it as a PDF, PNG, and more. Make sure you understand licensing regarding using their stock graphics for your logo.


You can also use stock imagery from websites. Make sure you purchase the appropriate license!


There are a few logo makers out there. Things like the Wix Logo Maker.



When to hire a designer

Sometimes, it's worth the time and energy to simply hire someone. It's like deciding to DIY your bathroom versus hiring someone to do it. If you are feeling overwhelmed while reading this article or even thinking about taking on logo design, it might be worth it to you and your business or parish to hire someone to design your logo.


Also consider hiring a designer if you feel you are artistically or technology challenged.


Perhaps this article has helped you understand and appreciate why logos have the price tag that they do.


If you want to talk to a designer, you know where to find me 😉




 

Thanks for stopping by! Was this article helpful? In what ways? What has your experience been with logo design? Have you designed your own logo? Did a logo designer design your logo? What was your experience with that?

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