Color is Communication

Today was another meeting for my church’s fund appeal campaign.

You’ll recall St. Mark’s Lutheran, Watertown, WI, is raising money for its school’s building addition and renovation. I’m one of three people serving on the communications committee (three being the perfect number for such a group).

The appeal planning committee had previously decided to use the same logo for this second phase as we did for the first, with perhaps a change of color for a distinguishing factor. We communications people willingly obliged and set forth studying the theories of communicating with color.

Color Communication 101

God created us to be very visual beings. He beautified our world with an array of colors and each one communicates a message.

With this thought in mind, graphic designers use color as a tool when designing logos. In doing so, they consider two important things: #1) the audience and #2) the message.

In our case, the audience is our 3000 congregation members of varying ages (median is 37) and walks of life. Of course, when choosing a color for the logo we cannot choose someone’s favorite, can we? Because, after all, each of our 3000 members has their own favorite color.

Instead we choose colors by the message they communicate.

Our logo’s objective is to communicate one overall message: “We have an important task of sharing the good news of salvation to future generations—a task we can fulfill through our school.” Additionally, the logo should also convey these attitudes:

  • Excitement
  • Happiness
  • Youthfulness
  • Energy
  • Vitality
  • Forward-thinking

Orange and yellow do all of this. Orange is a color that demands an exclamation point! As Leatrice Eiseman says in Pantone Guide to Communicating With Color,” orange contains some of the drama of red, tempered by the cheerful good humor of yellow.”

She also says, “Of all color combinations in nature, yellow and black is the most unignorable,” making this a pow!, as in powerful, use of color.

Let’s do some comparisons:


Purple was our second choice of color.

Purple is royal. It’s conveys spiritualism and excitement. It also has a futuristic quality when used in the right hue.

Purple is glorious, but when it really comes down to it, it doesn’t communicate our message with the vibrancy that orange and yellow do.


St. Mark’s team mascot is the lion and its colors are red and white. Wouldn’t red be an applicable color?

For many reasons, yes, it would. Red communicates energy, excitement and passion. It’s is a color that motivates the viewer to action.

Yet, red is also a color of heat. Fire. Cinders. Here in our logo, we have a child walking with a lamb and lion—something incomprehensible, except by God. We certainly don’t want to associate them with fire, as in hell fires!

Nope, red will not do this time.


Here are the colors we used three years ago for our first campaign.

When we began this campaign, there was a pervading doubt within the congregation and members wondered how we could afford to renovate our school. Therefore, the logo had to convey trust. It needed to remind members of God’s words when he says “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future,” Jeremiah 29:11.

An initial color choice might have been blue. Blue is calming, meditative and spiritual. Dark blue conveys credibility and trustworthiness, which is why you often see financial institutions or policemen in navy.

Yet, blue wasn’t the right color.

This was a school project. It was for our children. It was about life. And when we began this campaign, it was before the big economic bust, a time when everyone was thinking green, sustainable and resourceful. Green communicates all of these things, plus more—it communicates generosity, a very necessary factor as we started our project.

Color is such an awesome thing, isn’t it? It’s a creation of God. It not only beautifies our world, it communicates a message.

So there you have it—the true theory of color.

Very awesome indeed.

Leave a Comment

error: Content is protected !!