I attended Flagler College originally for Graphic Design, with a Youth Ministry Minor. Over the course of my studies I became a Religion and Philosophy major with Graphic Design and Youth Ministry as my minor. Over the course of the last 11 years, I have worked on several logos for the Youth Ministries I have worked on. They started out as hand sketches scanned in and used, then I improved over the years, but maintained a love of simplicity. Here I’ll show you my various logos over the years (from oldest to newest), and I’ll have a brief explanation of the development, theology, and philosophy that went into developing the particular logo. I do this particularly for the thousands of youth ministers who have checked out my previous post on YM Logos which was a response to someone talking about tacky youth cultures. This blog is particularly for contemplation and development of your own logo. So lets get to it.
The Logos and How they were developed
As an intern at Anastasia Baptist Church in Saint Augustine, Florida; I was asked by our Youth Director to develop two logos. One for “Oasis” the middle school youth ministry, and another for “Powerhouse” the high school ministry. The Oasis logo was to have a Jesus fish in it and the Powerhouse logo was to have a cross in it. The ethos was beach culture (since this youth group was near the beach) so we developed the Palm trees, the pond with the fish, the hut and the surf board. The ideas were sketched in one of my design notebooks (and being a busy college student) I literally scanned the sketches inked out into the computer, transferred them to everything we did via .png and .jpg and boom – Logos. Surprisingly, despite the hand drawn nature, these logos went well on just about anything, though didn’t do well on stationary and official documents as you might imagine. I don’t believe that they use these any longer.
As a new hire at Grace Chapel in the High School Ministry, I began working with the HS Pastor who had a vision for communicating the values of the youth group into a logo. There had been several sketches done by students trying to find an ethos for the already selected name “Gravity” and the slogan, “Experience the Pull”. The values of the youth group were to grow deeper, higher, wider, lower and the like, coordinating with values such as worship (higher), discipleship (deeper), wider (outreach), and lower (humility). There were a few more values, but that is the basic flow. My original concept was a Tree (following the “growth” ethos), but as I doodled for some reason I began experimenting with arrows (probably at the HSP’s insistence, he didn’t like the tree idea much – too Arbor Day like). We settled on one that had an arrow going down, and an arrow going up connected by a vital stat – to symbolize life. It was something that just arose in the sketching. Not having a whole lot of experience with illustrator, I just roughed up my sketches with some filters, and found the font “Broken15” which would become the logo font. The symbol could point students to the values of the YM, and boom, it was a hit. It was placed on bumper stickers, all official communications, sweatshirts, tshirts, giveaways and on projected screens each program. The logo was (and I believe still is) everywhere at Grace’s High School Ministry. I’m pretty proud that this logo has been enduring. I love to see something that lasts.
Coming to Saint Andrew By-The-Sea United Methodist Church after Seminary (did I mention that, lol), I walked into a youth group that had previously been titles SURF (an acronym for Serving…well, I can’t remember the rest…I’m not an acronym kind of guy). The ethos of Hilton Head Island, where the church is located is very tropical and beachy, so I thought that the title Surf still made sense as an ethos. Surfers are confident, they enjoy God’s creation, the waves are a reminder of God’s awesome power, and water is such a strong symbol of the Holy Spirit that it had to stay. But there was no logo, so I started doodling, like I always have. Over time, and after getting feedback from students in the ministry, we settled on this three wave format with a semi-circle completed by a solid foundation. The word Surf (in Gipsiero font) and the deep blue color were most favorable over many other selections, and despite my wife’s opinion to the contrary, I believe that the Three Waves symbolize the Trinity (God Father and Holy Spirit), The Arch above is a symbol of Noah’s rainbow which was a covenant from God that he would not use Water to destroy mankind and his/her evil ever again, and that the bottom was a surf board. Perhaps real surfers out there can contend with me, but I felt the bottom looked like a short board. Again, my wife contends. Regardless, this used to be for our whole youth ministry, but as the High School Ministry became more differentiated from the Middle School Ministry it was clear that the HS students needed an identity all their own, so this is primarily used for our Middle School Youth Ministry today. And guess what, it looks great on just about anything. I love it.
Here is the last piece, and try to see beyond the added tags. At the moment I cannot find a clear logo .png (merely because the computer I’m currently using), but look at the actual ACDC part. As the High School Ministry began rising out of missions and service in our state of South Carolina, the High School Students came to me to start up something new for them. I was quick to meet with them and nudge them in a few directions. (1) We needed a time and day that we could meet for Christian Fellowship (Food, Fun, Friends, Faith, etc.). (2) We needed a format, I had one, and I presented it and they were digging it, so we have gone with that and it has been good; and (3) They would need a Logo for communications and promotions that surmised the ethos of the group. I challenged the two main girls who were at all the meetings to think of some ideas. While I was at a yard sale (actually having one), I received a text from one of the girls that had a picture of a napkin with ACDC with a cross done in red ink on it. It was beautiful, the handwriting was brilliant, the bleed was textured and it was balanced. I loved it through and through. She told me that she wanted the name of the youth group to be ACDC or “Awesome Christian’s Digging Christ” and I think the rebel nature of the band name (which we are reclaiming for ourselves – it is two types of scientific current after all) had something to do with the choice. I lifted the handwriting with a scan, colored the logo a deep red, and gave it a nice shadow to pull it out, and boom – we have LOGO. So good, and youth created it. They own it and have grown the HS youth with it. Such a cool ethos, and the cross clearly communicates who we are as a Christian Youth Group trying to be disciples of Christ.
Well, those are the main ones I have been involved in. I’ve done countless calendars, trip art, tshirt designs, fonts and series slides over the years, but for some reason the logos are so satisfying, and it is cool when you see them drawn on a youth’s notebook or see them playing with it and asking what it means. It adds an element of unity and cohesion in a visual way, and that is such a neat element to have for any group. Feel free to drop a note if you’re struggling or need some help thinking a logo out on your own. Peace.
(Image Source for Title Image: http://www.theartcareerproject.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/graphic-design.jpg)