Branding • The Heights Church • October 2016
Art /Rhetor has had the joy of working with the Heights Church during the early phases of their launch. Towards the end of 2016, with regular Sunday services coming up in just a couple months, they decided to adjust their logo to communicate some new things. They loved the typography and colors created by the designers they worked with before us, but the icon part of the logo (the mountains) wasn’t standing out or doing enough to catch eyes or create recognition.
We’re really proud of what we came up with. In a city like Denver, where mountains are in three out of four organization’s logos, it’s hard to break away from “easy” designs and stuff that people have already done. Admittedly, even the minimalism-and-polygons approach is not that unique, but as our client’s favorite idea, we’re so pleased with where we took it. We love the cognitive dissonance created by the first mountain being “opaque” in a way, with the two mountains behind it being “transparent” and in uncertain order.
Rhetorically speaking, mountains are an easy way to see the glory of God. It’s not only that they’re really big and have remarkable ecosystems and you can see them from hundreds of miles away, it’s that they show us how small we are. Why is it good to know that you’re small? Why do so many people crave being in the mountains? One answer—my favorite answer—is that the greatness of our God is magnified to us as we realize our smallness, and the even greater cognitive dissonance of “Yet He knows me perfectly and loves me even as He loves His own Son” awakens my heart and affections in an even wilder way than the mountains themselves.
Additionally, like every good gift that God has given us, the mountains are a lovely thing to look at, yet they do their true and full work for us when we look through them, seeing the work and the grandeur and the dangerous, expansive God Whose hands formed them. For this reason, and because we are in great tension with this principle, the mountains are both opaque (the front one) and transparent (the back ones).
After completing this update to the Heights’ brand, they asked us to create a unique version of it for their children’s ministry, The Heights Kids. Using primary colors and a bolder, slightly-softer version of their main brand’s , we created a fun, more-approachable sub-brand that references the main brand while working a lot better for kids.
Rhetorically speaking, we believe that every child is different, and that a children’s ministry must be engineered to teach the Gospel to all kinds of kids. Furthermore, one of the coolest things about children’s ministry (and church community in general, for that matter), is that the Church does more than just accommodate kids and adults who are different than each other. These difference create a context where we can see the Gospel through each other’s eyes and gain perspectives we’d be blind to if just left in homogeneity. For this reason, the mountains in this logo are almost all on the same “plane” in the depth-of-field (it appears more 2D than 3D), and new colors are formed where the mountains each overlap—the multiplication of the two colors. For example, the entire base of the blue mountain and yellow mountain combine to make a shared, green base. On the one hand, it’s fun and inviting, but on the other hand, it’s a picture of what happens when we expereince the Gospel together.
To demonstrate how the main brand and the sub-brand interact, here are two nametags we designed for the Heights side-by-side.