Design Journal: Designing a new logo for St. Elizabeth Missionary Baptist Church (SEMBC)

Design process for creating SEMBC church logo (Eric Hepperle, 2019)

Last night I began teaching myself InkScape (again). This is the best and most well-known free and open-source alternative to Adobe Illustrator.

I’ve tried to learn InkScape before, but the tutorials never seem to work, or are incomplete — not step by step for an absolute newbie — and often don’t include the very fundamental step of being oriented to your workspace. This means understanding the difference between theĀ documentĀ  and what Adobe InDesign calls “artboards” (not sure what InkScape calls them). This fundamental knowledge always tripped me up.

But, last night something just sort of clicked. Maybe I had watched the right combination of videos finally? In any case, I figured how to set both the document and canvas sizes individually and then was able to begin my project.

My InkScape Design Project: Church Logo

My pastor had asked me in our Saturday church leadership meeting, since I was newly employed as a graphic designer with the Dothan Eagle, a prominent local Alabama newspaper, and had demonstrated skill at it, if I would be willing to design official church letterhead for the church. The project would also involve redesigning the church logo. I had designed the first logo for the church last year, but it was never officially adopted. Pastor Harvey wanted a new design, similar in concept, but different in execution from the original.

The Design Specifications

The design specifications I was given for the logo were fairly simple:

  • People of all colors holding hands in a circle around the word ‘SEMBC’ (which stands for “Saint Elizabeth Missionary Baptist Church”.

I was to use my own creativity in the design for the letterhead.

Using my own discretion and understanding of design and symbolism in visual communication, I knew that the logo probably needed to incorporate a cross somewhere. Other symbols that have been used in church logos are purple stoles (a liturgical garment that resembles a long scarf, sometimes with embroidered designs), gold crowns, crowns of thorns, doves, fishes, grapes, stylized or line art church buildings, fire, lions, sheep, shepherd’s crooks, cups or chalices, and praying hands … there are others, but these are the most popular. And for anyone in any language, the cross is the ultimate, most easily recognizable symbol of a house of God.

So I started working on a design. I designed some people with circles and rectangles. Grouped them. Calculated that I could get 5 equally positioned people holding hands in a circle if I put them each at 72 degrees. I figured out how to rotate by creating tiled clones and added a cross in the middle.

I’m still finalizing the design, but getting the people rotated around a circle was a major accomplishment for me!

Onto the next one.

Until next time!


Date Published: 2019-09-14
Date Updated: 2022-09-06

Eric Hepperle

Eric loves to write code, play guitar, and help businesses solve challenges with code and design.
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