UMC branding 101: Templates and guidelines
When we see the Apple logo, we don't just think about computers, we're reminded of innovation. Just as the Nike swoosh has come to represent an active lifestyle, not simply sneakers.
A corporate logo is, in fact, its personal "face" to the world, representing not just the brand, but also everything for which it stands. And while your church isn't a company, it can benefit from using The United Methodist Church logo.
Here are the reasons:
When you see a red soda can branded with the signature Coca-Cola font in white and silver, you know what is inside that can.
The Coca-Cola logo, like all logos, is actually part of a bigger picture — branding. Branding isn't just about identification. It's also about identity, which includes all the emotional touch points associated with the brand. A logo is a simple but well-developed tool that becomes a link or a bridge to something greater.
Logos are created to be representative of an entire brand, to be a visible interpretation of a company and everything it represents. Likewise, a church logo is meant to represent the core values, beliefs and practices of that particular church.
For example, a recent quantitative study by United Methodist Communications about what it means to be United Methodist found that an emphasis on God's grace, open Communion, acceptance of all people, church fellowship, a strong Scriptural foundation and an emphasis on mission and outreach in the local community were important United Methodist values.
Why use The United Methodist Church logo?
The United Methodist Church has made a significant investment in the brand of the denomination through advertising, which has raised the positive perception of the church. It is quite valuable for local churches to associate with this strong brand.
In addition to bringing your church recognition as part of a worldwide Christian denomination, using the Cross-and-Flame logo promotes a sense of unity among congregations that enhances the connection and establishes visual consistency among a church's various ministries and publications.
Together, the Cross and Flame and the brand promise, "Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors." offer an accurate and easily recognizable indication of the vision of The United Methodist Church. The UMC.org Graphics Library offers a variety of free graphics/illustrations including the UMC logo, the Cross and Flame.
The Cross and Flame is simple, memorable and distinct. It can be printed easily on letterhead, bulletins, posters or T-shirts and can be placed on something as small as a church postcard or as large as an interstate billboard.
How do you use a logo?
Behind every logo is a great deal of time and creative effort. Everything is considered - the colors, the fonts, the white space and the size.
While The United Methodist Church has made its logo readily available for use among its congregations, it is important to follow the guidelines of usage to maintain a consistent, clear brand. Read more in our Branding at a Glance guide.
There are some restrictions, which include:
- Never change the font.
- Never alter the colors.
- Preserve appropriate white space in and around the image.
- Keep font size and spacing in perspective.
But don't worry. The UMC Branding Toolkit outlines everything. United Methodist Communications has made it easy, not only to use the denominational logo, but also to incorporate it alongside information relevant to your church. There are a variety of social media assets to choose from for maximum flexibility.
You can retain the unique identity of your church, while benefiting from the recognition that comes with using the UMC logo. You can even develop or use sub-brands in conjunction with the Cross and Flame.
By applying the UMC logo consistently, you can help your congregation clearly to establish its affiliation with The United Methodist Church. Just as importantly, you can inspire your community's trust in the reputation, the vision, the beliefs and the people of The United Methodist Church.
— Tricia Brown has been a freelance writer and editor for more than fifteen years, ghost-writing and editing for individuals as well as for health, education, and religious organizations. She enjoys reading, writing, and public speaking commitments in which she teaches and encourages other women.