Behind the Artwork: Heaven Come 2019
As the designer behind the original Heaven Come Conference logo and branding, it was both a fun and challenging task to redesign the logo and branding for our annual worship and leadership conference.
I'll start with a little back story with regard to the original conference branding.
One of my first projects for Bethel Music was designing the logo and branding for our first Heaven Come Conference in 2015 (for the 2016 conference). I remember coming up with so many varied concepts/logos/emblems/aesthetics because the idea and mission of the conference changed many times.
Originally, HC began as a conference for leaders and worshipers, with a strong lean toward business people and professionals. So the original branding was created to fit within that vein of society. The colors were cooler, the logo was set to be a monogram - targeting the business/professional market.
After the plans for a leadership and business-targeted conference were scraped, the audience was changed to encompass everyone. We wanted a conference that was now focused primarily on worship alongside the prophetic activation/declaration that "Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven."
I designed the logo that you see today in New Zealand after a series of different logos were rejected. I was sitting at my local church back home and was sketching on some paper, doodling the letters for the word Heaven. As I wrote, I noticed that the word had an even number of letters and that in all-caps, those letters could be manipulated to read forward and backward.
I drew a rectangle, placed the letters inside (as you see on the logo) and thought it looked pretty good! When I later went to digitize it in Illustrator, I was drawn to the fact that the A+V letters could be simplified and filled in to create two triangles -- one pointing up, the other pointing down. As I simplified the letters, I saw that the "E's" could also be further simplified to become 3 stacked rectangles - which to my surprise created two giant arrows pointing up and down -- the very essence of "On earth as it is in Heaven".
After 2 successful conferences in Los Angeles, our team felt it was time for a brand refresh - which I agreed with completely. I'd been trying to get a redesign happening for a while - you learn so much about people and events as you grow and watch, so I felt like we could definitely do better!
Fast forward to this year where we have our first Heaven Come Conference in Dallas, TX - with brilliant branding and art direction set by Fabian Hernandez and Taylor Ostrom - I was tasked with branding the next phase of HCC...launching 2019 with two locations: Los Angeles in May and Dallas in August.
The brief was simple enough, we decided to take conference on the road as it were, traveling to both LA and Dallas with the same simple message of "on Earth as in Heaven". I knew I wanted to make this re-brand powerful and visually interesting. For too long my previous conference branding efforts were minimalistic and clean, I really wanted to experiment with a more modern feel, whilst maintaining a little grunge and 70s nostalgia.
I have to confess, I lost my mind a little during this branding process, I felt creatively dry for a long time and nothing I was designing was getting approved - low-key I was worried that I might get pulled from the project! Thank God for our team and leadership for always giving us creatives a fighting chance when we feel dry and down-beat. I wouldn't be here without them and their belief in my abilities - especially when I forget to believe in myself.
I'm not going into detail about why each of these concepts were rejected - I'm sure you can see on some of them! However, I will say this: for every great art direction there are 10,000 bad ones...and I mean bad!! If you're stuck in the valley, caught in between the "now and the not yet" of a project...stick it out, commit it to the Lord...He's faithful and He'll either provide you with the creative breakthrough you need...OR He'll change the minds of your approvers!
With that said I went through a ton of different directions as we trialed multiple conference themes. These iterations were: "Turn Your Eyes" and "All Creation".
For the art direction of HC19, I was convinced that I'd landed the branding, but no-one around me was obsessed with the design like I was - which is important to note. I can get so caught up in my own world that it's easy to think I'm the only one who knows best. Whenever I submit my designs to other creatives for feedback (as we all should do), it's so vital to actually listen to their feedback.
Yes, know what you love. Yes, stand your ground and fight for something you really believe in - especially if you're getting very experimental. However at the end of the day, if those around you who you've entrusted with the power to speak into your process aren't feeling it - there's something to it - often that's the voice of God too.
After a lot of back and forth, many new concepts and the revival of some old ideas, we landed this new art direction. What you see today (as you can probably tell) is a mashup of a few of those previous concepts. I love this new direction, it's full of color and life - something that we love and value here at Bethel Music, but often haven't visually portrayed through our various branding.
Watch this space, as our team unveils more of this artwork in the coming weeks and months leading up to our two gatherings in 2019! The incredible website for this conference was designed by our Bethel Music designer Josh Warner - who is an absolute gift to this House! Make sure you check out his work and give him a follow!
If you haven't already, make sure you register to join us in either LA or Dallas - there's nothing quite like being there in the room with us!
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