Branding Case Study: The Institute of Biblical Leadership
IBL, The Institute of Biblical Leadership, is a ministry and non-profit that is over 25-years-old. They hired me to help rebrand their organization, refine their messaging, and produce design collateral.
Over the course of several months, we were able to breathe new life into their logo, more accurately communicate their mission, and create a modern website that better serves their clients and donors.
Here's what the president of IBL had to say after the project was complete:
“Jackson does a fantastic job providing us with graphic design services, website design, domain and email setup, and social media. He has also worked on our branding and corporate messaging, redesigning our logo and tagline. We could not be more pleased.”
— David Phelan (President, The Institute of Biblical Leadership)
The first step in a rebrand is getting to know the organization's identity.
For this project, research involved pouring over IBL's old marketing material, analyzing their website's messaging, observing their team meetings, and talking extensively with their president. Throughout this process, I was keeping notes and constantly brainstorming ideas that could potentially capture IBL's essence and identity.
Identifying key words and phrases that related to the work IBL does was an important step in determining what imagery and phrasing would be used in their new logo design and tagline.
Leadership training and coaching based on biblical principles are their core services, so the logo and tagline needed to communicate this central element of their identity.
Research: Interviews & Discussion
During the research and development stage, I interviewed the president and began working on a long list of value statements. From there, I went through this list with the president and discussed each statement in detail to determine how accurately (or inaccurately) it communicated IBL's identity. After lots of hard work we had created a captivating brand message and image.
Tagline & Messaging
New Tagline: "Because leaders who honor God don't just come out of nowhere."
Old Tagline: "Training, coaching, consulting & counseling; from God's word for God's leaders."
The new IBL tagline functions like any good tagline should; it works in tandem with the brand name, and it piques the interest of the audience just enough so that they want to learn more. The new tagline is also more concise and communicates the reason why IBL exists.
New Logo: Horizontal
Logo Redesign Process
Throughout the process of creating IBL's new logo, we explored numerous ideas and concepts to find the one that was right.
Trying a Simple Logo Refresh
Towards the beginning of the project, we attempted to take their old logo and do a simple refresh of it. The old logo was cleaned up, simplified, and recolored to create a modern and sophisticated look. In the end, the IBL leadership decided they wanted to move in a completely new direction.
The Final Concepts
We eventually landed on two final logo concepts. One was based off of a folded map, and the other was a combination of a compass and a Bible. After much deliberation, the board members chose the Bible/Compass design because it more clearly connected to their mission and vision.
The IBL website needed to be simplified and improved so that it would better engage potential clients and donors. It also needed to more clearly communicate their services and be easier to navigate. After several months of very intentional development, we completed their new site and achieved these goals.
The new website grabs the audiences' attention, guides them through their visit, and provides easy access to the resources and donate pages.
IBL Website Background Video
As part of the website redesign, IBL wanted to incorporate video into the layout. I spent a day with their team and shot video footage for several hours that was then edited and used as the main visual background of the home page (desktop version only).
A video background helps immediately grab the audience's attention, and it communicates professionalism and quality. To see it in action, visit the IBL website: www.iblministry.org
After finalizing the new logo design and messaging, we began to design new stationery and marketing collateral. Below is a gallery of some of the pieces we created.
Communications Director & Graphic Designer: Trinity Baptist Church Cayce
In 2015 and 2016, I was the full-time communications director and graphic designer for Trinity Baptist Church in Cayce, SC. During my time there, I oversaw numerous large-scale projects as well as day-to-day design and communication work.
In this case study, I will show examples of my work for Trinity Baptist Church and give detailed breakdowns of some of the major projects I completed.
One of the first projects I undertook was to update the church's logo and brand appearance. We explored creating an entirely new look for the brand, but, for many practical reasons, we decided to focus on refreshing their current logo and bringing it into the 21st century.
I selected a sans-serif font that communicated the personality of the church well, and I refined the icon to be cleaner and simpler.
Additionally, I began an initiative to create consistency in how people talked about the church. Among staff members and congregants, there were a variety of names and acronyms that people would use: TBC, Trinity Baptist, Trinity Baptist Church, Trinity, Trinity Baptist Church in Cayce, SC. Moving forward, I proposed we begin calling the church "TBC Cayce", with an extended "Trinity Baptist Church Cayce" usage being acceptable as well. This new name was concise and clarifying, and it was quickly adopted by our team.
Brand Style Guide
To help get all of our volunteers and staff members on the same page with the updated brand name and logo, I created a short brand style guide that people could print out or use digitally.
Redesigning the Church Newsletter
One of the church's long-standing traditions was a monthly printed newsletter called the Trumpet. This newsletter kept donors and congregants in the loop about what was happening in the life of the church community.
Before I arrived on staff, the church was creating a simple, mostly plain-text newsletter that was printed in-house (see above left). The newsletter had become an after-thought over the years, but they kept publishing it because people wanted it.
When I came on as the designer and communications director, I put together a proposal to reimagine the monthly newsletter. I saw great potential for it to become one of the church's strongest and highest quality communication channels.
After my proposal was approved, I transformed the newsletter into a full-color mini-magazine (see above right and images below). I outsourced the printing so that we could have a higher quality end-product, and I became the editorial director and lead designer for the monthly publication.
The First Issue of the Updated Newsletter
The church loved my work on the newsletter so much that they became on of my clients after I left my position with them in 2016 and transitioned to full-time self-employment. I have produced many issues of their newsletter since.
Newsletter Article Example
Newsletter Article Example
Newsletter Article Example
One of the other major projects I undertook was a redesign of the church's website. A website is one of the most crucial pieces in the new visitor funnel for a church, and I saw that the old website was not very effective in attracting new guests.
Over the course of two months, I completely redesigned the site to focus on providing new visitors with the information they needed. I photographed the church building and various church events myself so that the website would be highly visual. I also made it into a responsive-design site so that it would be user-friendly on every kind of digital device.
The old website lacked photos of people and the church, so it came across as impersonal and generic. It was not mobile-friendly, and the content lacked organization and purpose.
When I was redesigning the church's website, I wanted to make it more inviting and personal. One of the things I did to accomplish this was to add staff photos. Over the course of a few days, I set up a makeshift photo studio in one of the hallways in the church and took some simple headshots.
As part of my rebranding efforts, I completely redesigned our print material to reflect the new logo. I gave our printed communication channels a highly professional and consistent look.
Print Media: Church Bulletin
The church bulletin is one of the most important communication channels in any church. Before I arrived on staff, the church was doing the best it could with a template they made in Microsoft Word.
In addition to redesigning the cover and exterior of the bulletin, I updated the interior layout to be cleaner, better organized, and more effective in driving our communication goals.
During my time on staff, I designed numerous print and digital pieces to help market our events and projects. Above and below you will find some examples of that work.
I have a wide skill-set beyond graphic design, and I bring that skill-set with me to every position I hold. Photography is one such skill that greatly benefited the church while I was on staff there.
I shot custom images for the website redesign, and I documented church events and community projects on a regular basis. My work in this area gave the church a robust library of professional photos to use for years to come. Below are some examples of my work.
Podcast: Made in GVL
In the fall of 2017, I decided to challenge myself and try something new. I created a podcast. The podcast is called Made in GVL, and it's a show about the people who are making creative and inspiring things in Greenville, SC and the surrounding upstate of South Carolina.
A lot of planning, research, and skill development went into the creation of this project. I contacted and lined up guests to appear on the show, I recorded interviews with people, and I edited the show myself. It was an extremely rewarding and challenging project to start, but I'm so glad I did it.
The first episode of the show was released on November 1, 2017 with an additional episode scheduled for December of 2017. Future episodes of the show for 2018 will be in development if all goes as planned.
You can listen to the show by visiting the Made in GVL page of this website.
To give my podcast guests an enjoyable and easy experience, I created a guest guide that answered all of the questions they might have about the show.
The guide provided them with details about the interview, the recording session, and included a contract/agreement to sign.
Guest Guide Example
Editing the Guest Guide
The above image is a photo I took while I was designing and editing the guest guide.