Oct 24, 2009

Salvation by Design

Concept 1

Hindsight Critique: Probably my weakest concept. Looks like a hood ornament a faith healer would have on his Rolls-Royce. No wonder they didn't choose it.

I have to admit something before I jump into this post. I normally avoid working with Churches on design projects like this. It pains me to say that since I myself am a Christian, but my experience thus far in my career supports my hesitation and that is unfortunate.

So when I was contacted by Northwest Church in regards to designing a new identity for them I was very skeptical about it. That said I quoted it like any other corporate identity project and we proceeded.

Concept 2

Hindsight Critique: This is OK. A bit too literal perhaps. Note how I colorized the NW section of the mark.

I'm happy to say that the creative process went extremely well. Working with Northwest Church was truly a joy. Mainly because they get it. I felt like I was working with an agency.

That said I still had that nagging feeling in the back of my head that at any moment someone would mess it up, look at one of my designs and say it looked like a penis or something. But I had to keep the faith.

Concept 3

Hindsight Critique: I like the clean simplicity of this idea.

Every business has a personality. Designing a successful identity is all about capturing that personality accurately in a visual sense so it honestly represents them.

That said a design can be good, even great in and of itself but still fail as an identity for the client because it doesn't capture the essence of their personality.

Concept 4

Hindsight Critique: This approach was one of my favorites. I like the simplicity, form and the color denoting location all the while serving as a cross as well.

The main problem with most Church oriented design is it's lame. Sinfully ugly if you will. Sorry the truth hurts.

So when I approached this job I wanted to avoid your standard stereotypical graphic crosses as much as possible. And instead create a new cross-like graphic to use.

Concept 5

Hindsight Critique: This is another approach I liked as well. The hint at a page from the bible makes for a good graphic device.

Graphic metaphorical visual hints are the spice in design cooking. Anyone can serve up a circle, square or triangle. It takes more conceptual culinary elegance to plate a design that goes beyond ordinary.

Concept 6

Hindsight Critique: Probably a bit too comical. Doesn't fit their personality. More inline with a t-shirt design for a Church picnic I suppose.

Logo design camps in one of two locations. Literal or Figurative. A literal approach uses literal imagery in a literal way. A figurative approach uses metaphorical imagery or literal imagery in a non-literal metaphorical way. I prefer the latter.

Concept 7

Hindsight Critique: I really liked this approach. The icons nested together well and formed a subtle cross like shape in the negative space.

Sometimes in the design process you realize an idea can work in another way for the same project and that is what happened with these icons. I used them as part of the over all identity package to define the various ministries within the church.

Concept 8

Hindsight Critique: Simon says welcome to Milton Bradley Church.

I like the symbolism in this mark. The outer circle representing the Church. The inner sections representing the four Church ministries all forming a subtle graphic cross like shape. Note how I used the color to denote the northwest.

Concept 9

This is the concept the client selected. I have to admit I was surprised but they said they loved the thought behind it and that sold it. So it's a good argument for explaining your design when presenting your ideas rather than just sending them off and saying "Let me know what you think."

Designers should be good thinkers and share a vision with the client so the client can buy into that vision and truly embrace it.

To understand the design philosophy behind this mark visit the full project post at my primary site.

A Typical Glitschka Studios Project Folder


The Amazing Cosmo said...

Von - Great concepts and in-depth look at your creative process. I think all of the concepts could have worked for the church.

The project folder overview is also great for upcoming designers. I employ a similar method for my projects. Again, great work!

Alice said...

wow. thank you for sharing this process video.

this is similar to the way i work too. when i was a student, my teachers taught us to work this way and submit a 'thumbnails booklet' at the end of each project and it counted for 20% of our final grade.

this is becoming one of my favourite blogs. i'm glad i discovered you through the freelanceswitch radio.

Jupiter said...

Nice insight, thank you.

I too amd developing a church identity, it has been a pretty long ride, but definitely liked the idea. I also didn't wanted to go the traditionally crossed centered design. I'll show it to you someday.

Jennnifer said...

Nice work. Do you try to keep to a certain number of rendered out ideas in color that you like to show a client? Have you ever brought them to the table and you had to go back to sketch? Just curious.

Vonster said...


Well normally I only show 3-4 concepts but on this one I did more. I know that can be risky and in hindsight I probably should have done some graphic pruning and only presented like 5-6 but thankfully they didn't see fit to Frankenstein my designs.

Usually because I present only about 3-4 ideas means I normally have at least 2-3 sitting on the bench incase the starting players (concepts) foul out of the game (project) and I can then put my other ideas in.

My design batting average is pretty good though and because I'm methodical with my creative process it helps to only develop those ideas that are most appropriate for a given project which helps to get it right the first time most of the time.

But that said I violate my own design protocol at times such as I did here so it's not so iron clad as to not allow a little flexibility.


Jennnifer said...

Thanks so much for the response. I'm always afraid to show more than 3 strong concepts.

Steve Semanchik said...

Hey Von, I think this is a really great identity. I do a lot of work for a church organization and I cringe every time I have to use their logo. They won't allow for a redesign, so I'm stuck with it. I know how difficult it is to create something new with this type of subject matter. I think using the "northwest" aspect of their name was a good avenue to pursue. Is that Neutratext I see you using for the name? As always, good work. It's always a treat to see a new post

Vonster said...

Yes the typeface is "Neutratext."

Cameron and Alex Grey Jones said...

I've just found your blog via the Church Marketing Lab and loved reading about your creative process and seeing your artwork. Inspiring stuff!
I'm interested as to why you wrote "I normally avoid working with Churches on design projects like this "...can you elaborate?

I work with very small churches and have encountered some difficulties, just wondering if you would be able to describe some of your difficulties too, so I know what to watch out for! (perhaps you've already blogged about this?!)


Joe Hox said...

Good to know of Christians working in the design industry. I really enjoyed your descriptions of your logo concepts here. Really thoughtful designs! Thanks for sharing.

Prax said...

Great video Von, always nice to get a little insight and see the behind the scenes of how a designer works, thanks.

Geoff said...

Thanks for the creative process video.I was surprised to learn that you design a logo for a horizontal and vertical platform. Have you always done this or is this a new thing?

Vonster said...


I've always tried to do this. Sometimes both layout formats wasn't warranted but after seeing some client butcher the files to make it fit other usages I figured I'd just provide them to make the identity continuity stay consistent over time.

It's a good creative habit if you will.


Steve Smith said...

Thanks for the insight into your particular creative process. I love the style guides. Do you always stick to that format?