Adventist Corporate Identity Will Receive First Makover in Twenty Years

SILVER SPRING - The General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists has announced the first change to the denomination’s corporate identity in over two decades. General Conference Communications Director Williams Costa Jr. circulated an image of proposed changes to the Seventh-day Adventist logo graphic at the 2016 Spring Meeting of the GC Executive Committee.

Costa said changes to the logo, characterized as being relatively small, will be voted during the General Conference’s 2016 Annual Council this October. The current Seventh-day Adventist corporate identity, a registered trademark of the The General Conference Corporation of Seventh-day Adventists®, was officially adopted at the 1996 Autumn Council (now Annual Council) of the General Conference Executive Committee.

The current Seventh-day Adventist logo on the left, proposed changes on the right.

The logo in its present form is the work of Adventist designer Bryan Gray, who serves as Creative Director for the Adventist Review.

When the denomination’s corporate identity was unveiled to the public in early 1997, GC Communications Director Rajmund Dabrowski said,

This new corporate identity for the Seventh-day Adventist Church reflects our deep and abiding belief in Jesus Christ as the center of our lives and our faith. My prayer is that this graphic representation of who we are will be used all around the world as a familiar symbol of our Church and its values.”

The logo includes elements that depict values and beliefs central to the Adventist faith:

The lines at the top of the design suggest upward momentum symbolizing the resurrection and ascension to heaven at Christ's second coming, the ultimate focus of our faith.

The shape formed by three lines encircling an implied sphere represent the three angels of Revelation 14 circling the globe and our commission to take the gospel to the entire world. The overall shape forms a flame symbolic of the Holy Spirit. The symbol of the cross, representing the gospel of salvation, is positioned in the center of the design to emphasize Christ's sacrifice, which is the central theme of the Adventist faith. The Bible forms the base of the design and represents the biblical foundation of our beliefs. It is portrayed in a fully open position suggesting a full acceptance of God's word. It is our hope and prayer that though this logo is a very simple picture of the foundation of Adventist beliefs and values it may be a recognizable symbol of the Adventist message to the world.

The proposed modifications reflect a corporate zeitgeist that favors informal, made-for-web logo design. A sans-serif font replaces the current all-caps, serif font. Many contemporary brand overhauls have gone this route, favoring less formal modern fonts over classic typefaces. In 2008, Pepsi paid Arnell Group many millions of dollars to redesign the cola company's corporate identity. Arnell described the change as "breathtaking." The public was far more critical.

The addition of a rounded square behind the Adventist logo calls to mind app icons ubiquitous on mobile devices and computers.

Abandoning the all-caps typeface provides a pragmatic solution to a frequent problem. “Seventh-day Adventist” is often incorrectly written “Seventh Day Adventist” in media reports and discussions outside of the denomination (occasionally within the denomination as well). The use of upper and lower-case lettering makes clear the correct capitalization of the name.

The current version of the logo bears a passing resemblance to the way the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) configures its name. Note the similarities in typeface and layout of the wording. While there is nothing to suggest the similarities have had any bearing on the redesign, Adventists and Mormons, both young, American-born denominations, are occasionally confused for one another. Adventists seek to distinguish themselves and their unique understandings, and the proposed corporate makeover would provide another opportunity to set themselves apart.

When unveiling modifications to the logo at the Spring Meeting, Costa gave no indication that public input had been sought (we later learned that the update had input from Bryan Gray, the South Pacific Division of Seventh-day Adventists—which already has incorporated a new typeface for the words “Seventh-day Adventist” in its official publications—and designer Clayton Kinney of 316 Creative).

Initial social-media sharing of the logo’s redesign drew uniformly unfavorable reactions. Both on Spectrum’s Facebook page and on the Adventist News Twitterfeed, Adventists voiced dismay. Critics of the new look particularly took exception to the addition of the “box” surrounding the logo. “I don't like the ‘black box’ or any kind of box!” said one commenter. “It's blocky. It has lost the grace of the original logo,” said another. “The ‘new’ logo will require a whole lot more ink to print because of the black background,” suggested someone else.

Others suggested the cross should be made more prominent, and some disliked the font choice.

One commenter compared the redesign to a disastrous attempt by clothing company Gap to recreate its logo. After overwhelming public outcry and derision, Gap scrapped the changes and reverted to its classic logo design.

If anything, the comments may point to a resistance to change when it comes to such a strong symbol of the Adventist faith. Clearly, feelings concerning Adventism’s corporate identity run deep.

It remains to be seen what additional changes may be made in advance of Annual Council, when members of the General Conference Executive Committee are slated to finalize the (slight) branding changes.

For more on the Adventist Corporate Identity and usage guidelines, see the Global Identity Standards Manual.

Jared Wright is Managing Editor of SpectrumMagazine.org.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/7422

It definitely looks like the box was added to configure it for an app logo. I don’t think it’s better or worse than the previous version. It’s just a little bit different.

Corporate logos/signatures are critically important. Rightly created they should immediately state the all-encompassing purpose of the corporation…if, at all possible, it should separate its contributing focus from all other competing entities; standing head and shoulders above the common herd, as it were. One might wonder if this newly created version does that. It seems that there has been an attempt to improve the church’s logo by creating it to be more representative of current trends; negating the notion that “Here’s who we are and we are different.” Secondly, and more importantly, it puzzles me to see the iconic Christian Cross, which evolved up through Catholicism, inspired by Constantine’s vision of a Roman Sword emblazoned in the sky with the inscription, “By this sign conquer”, continuing to be a focal point in the new logo rendition.

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The cross and the switchblade. Rene G.

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I think that they need to go back to the drawing board and try to discover something that is more contemporary than this somewhat muddled design. As already stated by a commenter, this design also looks like an app and not at all more innovative than the old one. I think that if they allowed some younger designer to be creative this would not be the result. Too old and staid looking in general.

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I didn’t like the current logo; it was too impressionistic, and no one but an Adventist would have a clue as to its meaning or purpose. I can’t see that the proposed changes are an improvement, either. I don’t see why we have to copy the corporate world. Do we really need a logo? I don’t have one for my business. We have a name and a reputation. Isn’t that enough?

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I prefer the “old one” one on the left “Out of the box” is an expression that describes non-conformal, creative thinking. The term is used as an adverb to describe the thinking or as an adjective to describe the ideas. The term is said to derive from a famous puzzle created by early 20th century British mathematician Henry Ernest Dudeney, in which someone is asked to interconnect nine dots in a three-by-three grid by using four straight lines drawn without the pencil leaving the paper. In order to be successful, the puzzle solver has to realize that the boundries of the dot array are psychological. The only way to solve the puzzle is to extend the lines beyond the artificial boundry created by the nine dots.

In our church God wants us to extend our boundaries. The new symbol on the right appears to be more rigid, more defined, more limited. Perhaps this the new reality of the church, I hope it isn’t!

Jesus’ teaching was full of symbolism and creative imagery. He presented Himself as a Shepherd, a Sower, a Bridegroom, a Door, a Cornerstone, a Vine, Light, Bread, and Water. He likened the kingdom of heaven to a wedding feast, a seed, a tree, a field, a net, a pearl, and yeast. He was so totally out of the box in his communication. For Adventists we also think of the expression “boxed-in,” or having reduced choices. In the fast-paced world of information technology, churches can say they are looking for persons who “think out of the box.”

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My subjective and non-expert impression: I like the proposed new logo.

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In both designs the cross is minimized by the flame and book. The Bible is easily seen, but the flames do not have a self-identification.

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I liked the “Old” one better.
This one looks "Primitive"
Couldn’t have taken more than 15 minutes to come up with this one.

ACTUALLY – I liked the “Old Old” one with the 3 angels. Do any of you all remember that one?

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New is not necessarily bad. I’m a bit surprised to see such resistance to change especially on Spectrum’s website.

Pro: I like the simplified font because the old font is a challenge to use and modify if you don’t just copy and paste the logo with text. This becomes an issue when you want to add your church name into the logo, as in, “Centerville Seventh-day Adventist Church.”

Con: I think the box may limit creativity in how the logo is artistically incorporated. But then, in general, I’m not a fan of the more boxy shape that is so popular these days. I would suggest an optional outlined box if they think that is necessary.

i think the proposed changes to our logo are HORRIBLE…hopefully they’ll be voted down in october…i don’t know if the yellow and blue color scheme will continue to hold if our logo is changed, but this black and white version, dominated so thoroughly with black, looks positively creepy and cultic…my first thought is of something to do with witchcraft…

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The South Pacific Division have spent several years tweeking the colour scheme of the logo. The intention is to use the logo in a concerted effort at corporate branding. For local churches the colour scheme is to be backgrounded in orange with white for the logo itself. Educational institutions will use the logo with a different backgrounding colour. Ditto for health-care institutions and for administrative offices.

I think it is a worthy initiative to try and create some corporate brand recognition.

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When the logo of the German train changed from serif to sans-serif … hardly anybody would have noticed the difference. Yet it costs about 1 Mio Euro as far as I remember. … I hope this particular change cost a few zeros less.
I can understand the thinking behind it … and yet for me it looks more “black and white” (the original was more diverse and playful with colours) and rather constrained (a box you don’t dare to go beyond).

Fair enough - that shift in logo may have become necessary…

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Well this is a sign that Adventist has entered a new phase. From its early expansionist dynamic phase, of a judgment hour message and calling the world for obedience to the Commandment of God—now Adventists has become more institutionalized. More concerned about image rather than message.

No one is concerned about the millions to be spent in building, maintaining and certain expansion of hierarchy in the new NAD headquarters. Gone is the awareness in the leadership that only those connected with Christ in His work of self-sacrifice and self-denial will be known by the world.

It is almost as if it is mission accomplished and now it is time to settle back and build on the gains. Globally Adventist congregations are growing in South America and Africa. Once the WO issue is settled with new younger leadership, I predict that hierarchy will become more political, concerned about appearance, modern looking buildings, and job security.

“Why was it the world did not know Christ? It was because He brought meekness, purity, and virtue into the world, and the world understood it not. Men could not harmonize with this purity. And those who are connected with Christ in His work of self-sacrifice and self-denial will not be known by the world.” EGW

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The interpretation is very simple and obvious. The new logo represents a complete reversal of the direction of the denomination with the black changed to white and the white changed to black. The changing of the fonts to identical font sizes represents a drive towards uniformity and a suppression of diversity. The logo changes are a public expression of what we all know has taken place since the first election of Ted Wilson. Symbollogy has long been used to telegraph to the subconcious a message that if written verbally would be rejected outright.

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Much ado about little.

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Pleased to hear the Spring Meeting has something to discuss after flying in from all over the world at great expense. I can’t imagine what else there would be to talk about. And I’m sure the Lunch-a-Lots will enjoy their lunches at our expense.

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I think you may be on to something…the logo looks cold, harsh, and uninviting.

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Bold is not better. Why a black Cross? It does seem to reflect current leadership. tZ

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