Friday, January 29, 2010

Style Guide - why it's important

One of the projects our team is currently working on is updating our style guide. A style guide is something that all professional organizations create to provide rules and guidelines for how their materials look. It includes things like what the logo should look like in relation to the piece on which it appears (a brochure, a banner, a website, etc.), what colors should be used, which fonts are appropriate, etc.

Some people might ask, who cares? Why spend so much time thinking about what our stuff looks like? Does it really matter?

A big emphatic YES is appropriate here!

This is what my job is all about. My job as a graphic designer for InterVarsity is to visually communicate with students, donors and staff who InterVarsity is. Just like InterVarsity's core doctrines, all of our communication must be united in some essential things.We want InterVarsity's look to clearly communicate our identity: we're a national campus ministry. Whatever campus you find InterVarsity on, you can expect it to be about the same thing - reaching the whole campus with the whole Gospel. When our graphics are consistent, that communicates that the ministry is consistent and unified. When our logo is used across the country, InterVarsity will become a kind of brand. Not the kind of brand that is trying to sell something, but the kind that communicates our values and our mission. When we are haphazard about using the logo or other elements of the style, it communicates that we are not united, that we don't know who we are, or that we don't agree on who we are.

That being said, we also have a challenge as a ministry that celebrates and values diversity. There isn't necessarily one image that could aptly describe who InterVarsity is. We also are about student-led, indigenous, grassroots ministry. To try to control what font people use or what colors are appropriate can be very challenging. The process of creating a Style Guide as well as making it accessible and user-friendly for our busy campus staff around the country is a project that our whole team will be working on in the next several months.

Please pray for wisdom, grace, creativity and healthy interactions as we enter this process! And pray that ultimately our work will go towards advancing God's purposes through InterVarsity.

1 comment:

  1. I am so grateful for the work that you do Laura...though I do wish it was in GLE. I miss you! Looking forward to the sweet results in graphic design. Keep it coming.