Global Adventist Identity System

“My experience with Types and Symbols is unforgettable for all the right reasons. The whole team has the unique ability to solve complex communication problems through simple design. They are reliable and trustworthy, especially for long term projects. However, their most valuable contributions stem from their profound knowledge of Adventist history and their passion for mission.”

—Sam Neves, Associate Director, General Conference Communication Department

The Opportunity

Types & Symbols was engaged to help rethink and expand the global identity system to provide greater value to the global church. While the existing identity and accompanying guidelines had helped develop recognition over the past 20 years, the system had not been updated in over a decade, and very little guidance had been provided for extending its usage. When the guidelines were originally created, it wasn’t possible to anticipate the myriad of contexts and formats that the system would need to support. The new identity system needed to address that—to recognize the growth of the Adventist church across cultures and mediums. A major goal of the project was to help celebrate cultural differences while still helping viewers recognize that we are all Seventh-day Adventists. More importantly, the system had to actually work well—to be simple enough for non-designers, and flexible enough for professional designers. The deliverables for this project included defining the core elements of the identity system, developing visuals and content for the guidelines, script-writing for videos and presentations, and design support across multiple elements, including an inspirational brand book.

The Team
  • Williams Costa

    Director

  • Sam Neves

    Associate Director

  • Brent Hardinge

    Associate Director

  • Tanya Hollland

    Graphic Designer

Process

We kicked off the project with an intensive design workshop. After brand exercises, discussions, and extensive explorations, an approach was established that could provide enough flexibility for culturally appropriate applications while still retaining recognition across contexts. The final identity system comprises four core elements—the symbol, typography, layout grid, and color.

The Symbol

We refined the official symbol of the Seventh-day Adventist church to ensure it worked well in digital applications and created an additional circular symbol for general use.

Typography

The primary typography is Advent Sans. This multi-language type system is based on Noto—a global font collection designed by Google for writing in all modern and ancient languages.

Layout Grid

The most important element in the design system is the “Creation Grid.” This is a seven-column layout structure to be used in the majority of communication materials. The first six columns are available to fill with text, images, illustrations, patterns, logos or anything else. Those six columns are dedicated to the work of communicating information. But the seventh-column, the Sabbath column, is to be set apart—to be special and different from the other six columns.

Color

Because color means different things across the world, there is no official global color or color system. Where it seems valuable to create internal or regional consistency for missional purposes, world divisions are encouraged to create carefully thought-out systems that work to differentiate their materials within their individual contexts.

Promoting the System

We collaborated with the team at GC Communication and FlipTV to create an introductory video for Spring Council, participating in script-writing, animation, and editing of the final script.

Applying the identity

To communicate the flexibility of the system, we created dozens of sample applications using the core elements in varying ways. As creators, and now users, of the system, we’ve continued to participate in building distinctively Adventist materials.