Church of the Resurrection got in touch with us and asked us to create a new brand and website for their revitalized, growing parish.
Like many parishes, Church of the Resurrection has a lot of history. They wanted to respect the legacy of the parish and simultaneously move in a direction that would make it an appealing place for younger people to join and put down roots. They also wanted to remain a competitive K-8 Parochial School option in their area.
- Create a new logo and brand identity for the parish that was updated and representative of the current culture while paying homage to history of the parish.
- Build a new website that would reflect the brand and vibrancy of the parish and school and be appealing and easy to use for parishioners, ministries and potential newcomers both to the school and the church.
To fully understand the culture of the parish and help the parish leadership to refine and articulate exactly what direction they wanted to head, we conducted an in-depth discovery process. We surveyed staff, volunteers, parishioners, ministry leaders and everyone in between to let their voices be heard. We wanted to know how they viewed their own parish - what they liked, what they didn’t like, and what they hoped it would look like in the future. Once the surveys were in we identified trends and themes and compiled a report to show to the leadership team. This enabled us to work with them to discuss what parts of the parish image they were happy with, what aspects could use improvement, and what parts they hoped to see emerge but hadn't seen yet. Then we began to develop a solid direction to take the branding.
In the redesign of the logo we wanted to be sensitive to the emotional attachment that long-time parishioners have to their home parish. We needed to appeal to a newer crowd without alienating the long-time members. With that in mind we opted to keep the shield shape of the original logo, but simplified it and incorporated a subtle image of a monstrance which was fitting for this classical and traditional parish. We redesigned the word-mark to keep the same general feel but chose a more readable font and corrected some kerning issues. Based on this direction, we built out a full identity system, with a detailed brand guide that would enable the parish to continue using their new branding in multiple media into the future.
Parish websites are often cluttered with lots of text, pictures and general business on the homepage. This is because parishes want people to see, "Hey, we're doing tons of awesome stuff here, come and see!" And in most parishes, that is true! The problem with putting all of that information on the homepage is it's overwhelming for those using it to find information and those using it to update information.
A clean, simple, straightforward design is essential for a successful home page. As the first landing place for many visitors, the home page needed to make a strong statement about the culture of the parish, be inviting and non-intimidating for any user to dive right into.
We limited the top menu options to only the essentials, and we designed a custom icon set to add some visual interest and significance to the drop down menu.
Perhaps one of the most important features of the site are the three buttons that are always displayed in a non-intrusive but extremely accessible way for mass times, confession times and directions to the campus. This information needed to be concise and readily available at all times because for both regular parishioners and newcomers this is the most common need. On mobile, these three buttons have a permanent home at the bottom of the screen.
Rather than being bombarded with a catch-all parish calendar on the homepage with absolutely every activity on the schedule from funeral luncheons to Knights of Columbus meetings, people who visit the site can get a visually appealing snapshot of what types of things are happening at the parish at any given time, with the easy-to-update featured content section. This helps build and maintain a cohesive brand because the parish staff (or whoever updates the homepage) can choose what events to feature and therefore can appeal to certain audiences - i.e. if the target market is families with young children, a parish carnival might be a featured event.
Letting People Connect
In our discovery process with Resurrection and other parishes we've noticed that people find it confusing to understand how they can connect with a parish. So we simplified this into an easy-to-understand, linear process, which moves people from signing up to get information about the parish, to registering, to becoming part of a ministry or parish organization. There is also a separate track for those who are completely new to Catholicism. This gives people a way to connect right off the bat and makes sure that they feel welcome regardless of their situation. Most importantly, it creates a straightforward path for a newcomer to connect with a real person at the parish – which is the most crucial goal of any parish site.
How to make everyone in a parish happy.
Well...that might be a bit optimistic. But it didn't stop us from trying. We created a system that allows staff to easily set up a page for each and every ministry running at the parish, and allocate management of that page to a specific person. This way, the person in charge of running a specific ministry can link to their ministries’ social media accounts, upload some of their own photos, write their own content, and add events and news.
It was an exciting challenge for us to incorporate the old into the new for this project. The new brand identity and website have been really successful with the parish because it reflects a culture that was already present, whilst leveling up their communications to more modern, updated look and functionality they needed.
Sound like something your parish could benefit from? Let’s make it happen.