Having lived and worked at Hume Lake for nearly 10 years I was blessed with the job of designing, developing and deploying the visual brand of the camp. In coordination with ministry leadership we re-branded the camp identity into a logo using ripples in 2001. This visual carried us for a number of years until we reorganized and created an umbrella brand, Hume Ministries, which I also helped implement in conjunction with the branding firm Brand Navigation. The following text is a re-publishing of an article I wrote for the Hume News insider newsletter. It describes some of our challenges and the emphasis our thought in the new visual brand execution.
“Ripples not only tied the Hume Lake brand to the location of it’s beautiful lake, but served as our metaphor for the influence of the Gospel that happens there.”
The more I read Genesis the more I’m amazed at the seriousness of creation. Especially day six. I can imagine God pondering: “What parts of Myself should I put into human form? What will My image look like?” His answer was as important visually as it was theologically, for God was making a logo.
When Jeff Lilley approached me with ideas for a new Hume Lake logo, I remember feeling overwhelmed. While I didn’t have to make anything as grand as a universe, my task felt just as complicated. What sounds like a straightforward project is really a marathon of stage after stage of prototype design. One small slip and you can get a logo that looks like a cow with a lame left foot wearing a party hat. While memorable, that would be bad.
The largest challenge in designing a logo is condensing so much information into a single symbol. Companies rely on their logo to convey a clear message of their identity, which includes their particular personality, mission, past and future goals. And while advertisers get a few thousand words to describe a company, designers get just one symbol. To make this task even more difficult, most employers want their logos designed yesterday, and they expect it to last forever. Fortunately, Jeff was more forgiving than most employers.
“Water, like people, responds to impact by rippling outwards; lives changed by Christ also reach outwards…”
Our group agreed on the concepts that defined Hume Lake but then found it impossible to concur on how this distilled into a workable idea. Did we want a forest scene represented in the logo? Did we want a lake? A campfire? A cross? Yes, but no. These said “Hume Lake,” but in a hackneyed and unoriginal way; we didn’t want to be unoriginal. This commitment to be unique and improve upon past performances is one thing that I appreciate about Hume Lake. For our process this meant starting over—multiple times—from the beginning.
How, exactly, does one make a logo that says “impacting lives for eternity?” There are an infinite number of ways and most of them are overly vague. Now, how does one say this and also say “Hume Lake Christian Camps?” This was our particular challenge.
Our strongest concept used water to symbolize Hume Lake’s ministry in affecting lives for Christ. Water, like people, responds to impact by rippling outward; lives changed by Christ also reach outward to touch others. Furthermore, water is a constant reminder to us of what Christ is to our parched, weary souls. Christ, and His gospel, is the unseen (yet strongly suggested) initial impact that creates the resultant ripples. These ripples represent people as the message of salvation is translated through their lives. This transformation, and the logo taken as a whole, represents the activity and mission of Hume Lake. When combined with the nearness of our lake and the relationship it plays in our ministry, the logo was complete.
Hume Lake’s new logo isn’t meant to reflect a new leadership, a new direction in ministry, or a burgeoning staff in the Graphics Department. Rather, it represents Hume’s singular focus and continuing mission to rescue lost souls. Our logo is meant to remind others of our ministry and mission in service to God, who, before His rest, made a logo. His logo visually represented a great Thing, a wonderful Concept, a larger Picture. Namely, His logo reveals Himself.