I do a fair amount of design work for this large congregation in Western Pennsylvania near Indiana University of PA, and in this case the traditional limestone Presbyterian church wanted to appeal to youth and college students. They showed me a black and white design they’d noticed and admired, so along with the youth appeal and the black and white I had something to start with.
I am hardly among the youth, but ideas are all around. Are we still using grunge design? I see it everywhere in battered-looking fonts, layered and rough-looking backgrounds, lots of black and white, yet even with the details of the elements themselves, the number of elements in a design is few.
Hence the stark black and white with no shading, the elderly typewriter and faded typestyles, the cut-out shape of the dove, the crumbling background.
I had begun with another typestyle that was a good authentic brushed font, small x-height, emphatic ascenders and descenders and overall really cool look, but the word “Liberti” was lost, unreadable. The all-caps styles with swashes on some letters was unnecessarily complicated. Neither one accommodated the line of text underneath with any type of clarity, even when I created my own swashes. Even with the battered edges adding just a touch of grunge, the old typewriter characters are as clear as if they’d been typed on paper. The faded font underneath, slightly unconventional in its mix of upper and lower-case letters and its extended letters, contrasts nicely and is still clear at the small size.
The background became itself, created from a shape I drew freehand in PhotoShop, then repeatedly faceted it, copied and pasted elements, then removed the ones I felt were too small and distracting. It could be a wall battered down or a container burst open, either one a metaphor for the act of finding liberty and freedom, the dove then either released or found when the barrier was removed.
The dove is symbolic of what doves always symbolize, peace, perhaps the peace in the aftermath of a struggle, a hard-won peace, as finding or keeping with one’s spiritual nature can be in teenage years and in college.
I am not Presbyterian, nor protestant, nor really even Christian, though I was raised Christian and am as familiar as possible with as many faiths as possible, yet subscribe to none. I use a lot of nature in my designs, and in the years I’ve been working with this church they’ve come to enjoy my more secular design sense, telling me it feels more universal than the heavy symbolism they’d been accustomed to using. They tell me this logo is very popular; I’m glad for this.