As your ministry grows and establishes itself in the community, both online and locally, it becomes clearer and clearer how truly unique your church is. Through the culture and how you project your church online, the unique personality shines through and has been shaped in a specific, recognizable way.
But in order to keep your ministry's image consistent, its important to establish what makes your church your church and how to portray it right, every time. When a visitor sees a page on your website or a flyer, or your logo, they need to know right away that this is your church.
A design style guide may be just want your church needs to keep your designers on a consistent path.
What is a Church Style Guide?
One of the keys to make branding so successful is consistency. In order to be consistent, a set of standards needs to be established to help guide you and your church. If this sounds complicated, don't worry, because it's not. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, either. It's not like you'll need to create an eBook or fancy slide deck. Something as simple as an MS Word document will do the trick. It doesn't really matter how you go about creating your church style guide, what matters is that you have one.
If you need more encouragement to set up a church style guide, here are a few more reasons:
- If you ever need someone outside your team to do some designing, you can send them your style guide.
- With a Style Guide, it's harder for anyone to botch your church's imaging.
- It’s a way to put the values you want to communicate through design into words.
- With a style guide, everyone on your design team and church staff can more easily get on the same page and stay there.
Every Church Style Guide Should Incorporate the Following:
- Logo usage
A logo is important because it gives your church a visual identity. Because your logo is essential when it comes to branding, it's vitally important that it gets used correctly. It's also important that your logo stays relatively the same when it gets used on different mediums. While it may appear in black & white on the church bulletin, it may be full color on your website. This is totally fine, but when it comes to logo usage, your church style guide is there to ensure that the proportions, colors, or alignment never changes.
You should also include the different variations that are acceptable for your church logo. For example, if someone needs to use the logo over a dark photo, you can tell them that the logo should be used in white or "reversed out" compared to if it’s used over a light photo the logo should be used in its original color scheme. Other acceptable variations of the logo might include a 3D version or a version that includes an icon or specific ministry name.
Your church style guide should include which fonts you use and where you use the different fonts. For instance, maybe there are certain fonts you use for all of your headlines and the body of your text on your newsletter and website. Fonts used on your church bulletin should also be included in the style guide. Besides fonts, another important factor when it comes to typography is typeface. For example, are there certain words that should always appear in bold or italic type?
The use of color is a powerful tool when you want to make something recognizable. For this reason,the color palette should be used consistently. Since colors come in various shades, hues, and tones, it's important to not just put "blue" on your style guide. You need to be as specific as possible, which you can do by using hex codes. The hex code is a 6-digit hexadecimal number that is used in computing applications. For example the hex code #000295 represents a specific shade of blue.
As your church evolves, so can your church graphic design style guide. If you need help putting together your church style guide, or if you need help with church graphic design in general, download The Church Graphic Design Kit! This guide will also teach you about colors, templates, and give some specific church graphic design examples.