This guide is designed for you – someone who loves this place and in some way, through a leadership position, volunteer opportunity, or just being a smiling face on a Sunday morning, you speak Grace. You speak grace into lives, just by being you.
About This Guide
The purpose of this guide is to give Grace leadership a way to speak the same language, have a similar look and feel to our communications no matter the platform we’re using, and give a place to start when we’re preparing to promote, advertise, design, or create something. This is generally not shared with the public, but among Grace staff and leaders. Having a coherent “brand” helps people understand who we are every chance we get to connect with them, creates confidence in guests that we’re a thriving community who knows where we’re going, and gives us a base of storytelling and good-news-sharing with each experience and opportunity we create for people to connect with God and each other.
Below, you’ll find 9 areas this guide covers. You can click on the button below each one, or simply scroll through the whole page. Ideally, before creating any publications, social media post, flyer, website content, print announcement, etc. we consult this document. The first three sections remind us why we do what we do and who we do it for. The second three sections contain the visual design elements we use including downloadable items and copy-able assets. The last three sections give content guidance as you plan and design things and talk a bit about where we communicate and connect with people.
We’re confident God has called us to be grace in our community and our world.
How we live and who we are inside and outside our walls makes all the difference.
We have a building, but we are our people. That’s the true definition of church.
We designed a visual brand intentionally to begin to tell our story as a community.
To keep things consistent, we usually start from a set of colors when we create.
From headings to details to stories, we try to keep things consistent across platforms with font choices.
How we speak
These are some of the words we use to describe our community of faith to those around us.
How we create
When we create posts, publications, graphics, print items, and more we try to start from these ideas.
How we connect
The platforms and programs we use to connect and communicate inside and outside of Grace.
“Welcoming without exception, listening without judgment, and supporting without prejudice, all people.”
We claim a traditional identity here at Grace in how we design worship experiences, celebrate church seasons, and use lectionary text to guide us. But here’s the thing – we creatively mold this traditional identity in a way that works in the world today.
The Grace logo was designed to begin to tell our story. We’re a community of faith, and the circle used in the logo and in other designs remind us of that community and our connectedness within ourselves and the Church globally. Our name is Grace, because we both accept it from God and do all we can to spread it to others, as the wide blue cross in the circle spans across God’s people in the fullness of grace. Recently, connected to our decision to become a Reconciling in Christ congregation, we added the rainbow to the upper right corner of our logo. We’ve placed our intentional welcome right on the first thing that many see. Our logo font choice, Avenir Next, is clear and bold – two things we seek in our message and mission.
How to use our logo
There are a number of variations on our logo that can work in different designs and publications. Here are some ways we use it while maintaining our brand identity.
- You may use the full logo or circle icon independently
- You may use the horizontal version with the icon on the left or the square version with the logo larger on top of the text
- Use the blue version when the background is lighter and the white version when the background is darker
- Use the white version with transparent background when the logo is placed over the top of an image
- You may print in in black and white/grayscale.
- Design and print in color whenever possible.
- Use the logos provided in the download package below. There are a number of different sizes, file types, and variations included.
- You may use the logo with or without the “tradition for today” tagline.
How not to use our logo
Here are a few examples of things to avoid with Grace logo usage. If you have questions, you can always contact our Director of Communications & Systems
- Avoid using a logo so small it looks pixelated or blurry
- Avoid changing the base color of the logo. Occasionally, we’ll use variations within the color palette.
- If being placed over an image, use a transparent background.
- Don’t use the logo without the rainbow.
- Avoid distorting the shape of the logo.
Biology reminds us that color can inspire, connect, clarify, and identify. They are a deeply important piece of a visual identity.
We use an engaging hue of blue that finds a balance showing energy yet depth. Then, we accent with a charcoal (not black) when a darker accent is needed and a very light gray when a lighter accent is needed. We also use clear, clean white backgrounds to help images and objects pop. When using text over an image, we typically choose white text over a darker image to provide maximum contrast.
We also use rainbow imagery and colors when appropriate as a design accent, as in our logo.
We choose typography with two goals in mind. First, clarity is top priority. We want to make things easy to read and not hard on the eyes. Second, we want to captivate people with what we have to say and how we say it.
We have a few types of fonts we use based on the program they are being used in. There is flexibility in typography based on the project. If you’re designing something that is ongoing and a regular part of Grace, stick with these font choices. If you are doing a time-based, campaign-style project with a specific theme, use font choices that work well with your design.
- Eye Fatigue
In our logo and on a number of headings on graphics and publications, we use our primary font, Avenir Next Demibold.
As an accent font, we use a script font called My Dear Santa. You’ll see this in our “tradition for today” tagline used with the logo often.
These fonts are not available in products like MS Word, but we have them available for design requests.
On our website and in most publications, we use the Open Sans family.
For headings, we use Open Sans Bold or Semibold to help the headings stand out.
In the body type, we use Open Sans regular. For both headings and body type, if Open Sans isn’t available in the program, we use Arial as a secondary option.
We use bold for headings and sometimes inside a paragraph of text to help something stand out. We reserve italics for titles rather than a way to emphasize.
Everyone communicates. Being part of Grace means you’re on the communications team with a chance to spread the good news of God’s love and the welcome of our particular faith community. Our congregation is big enough, with enough activities and gatherings that it takes a village to promote and advertise all that is going on. Often the first step is to connect with our Communications Team using a request form. This gets the right information to the right people. From there, the team will work with event organizers to create and execute the best plan for getting the word out.
Whenever possible, we use images/photos to help tell our story. People biologically respond differently to images than just words. Use images that show experiences and emotions.
Our communications team uses a few different programs to create and design: Canva, MS Publisher, Adobe Illustrator, and others. If you have something to design, we may have a template to start from. Just ask!
When creating content of any kind for any platform, follow this framework:
- Call to Action
Headlines should be short and catchy. People often only read the headlines that captivate them.
Specific details like dates, times, and locations work best in their own section, while stories and ideas work best in paragraphs.
Calls to action should be specific, often with a direct link, button, or other clear direction on what to do next.
EVENTS + CAMPAIGNS
When we’ve got larger events, worship services, community gatherings, or service opportunities we use “campaign-style” thinking and planning to make sure we communicate well. There are often multiple platforms we’ll want to use to connect to different audiences at different times along the way. We use this Communications Grid to provide a framework for promoting the event. If you’ve got something like this coming up, download the grid below and use it to help you plan communications wisely.
Communication platforms become connection platforms when there is a chance for a relationship to form. That’s our hope when we gather, whether inside our outside our walls. Here are the different spaces in which we communicate.
We print announcements weekly. This announcement sheet is delivered in worship and is also published for download on our website.
Our website has the latest news, updates, sermons, events, calendars, and more. This is the hub of our digital space and where people often meet us for the first time.
We use Facebook as a primary digital community for Grace. We have both a main page, and groups underneath that page for various sub-communities.
Images are a great way to capture the stories of our community as they happen. We use Instagram regularly as well.
People have access to their email in the palm of their hand. We use a weekly email to share upcoming gatherings and announcements plus special emails as needed.
We have two screens in common spaces that rotate a small series of images. These are geared toward first time folks visiting in person to find ways to get connected.
Community television and newspaper advertising is used just a bit for certain special events.
During worship services there is a short announcement time to call attention to a small amount of upcoming opportunities.
Posters, Flyers, Postcards, and Signups
These print items are used to inform and to give a place for people to take action. It is often valuable for special events to have this kind of communication.
Word of Mouth
We’re all part of the communications team at Grace and sharing stories and opportunities with friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues is always a key way to inform and connect.