The URC Visual Identity Guide

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Visual Identity GuideA free guide to help churches and church organisations follow the URC's visual identity.

What is a visual identity guide? 

Why are style guides important? They ensure brand consistency throughout any materials you produce – no matter who created it.

How much time does it take to explain to a designer how much space you need around your logo at all times? And how they’re not supposed to change any of the colours? What about finding every font you use and having to relay that to them as well? Not to mention explaining the type of imagery that is acceptable. This guide helps answer some of those questions.

This visual identity guide contains the necessary information to create whatever your church needs. Whether it be a poster, church newsletter, website, or other materials.

Downloadable URC templates, such a editable letterheads and compliment slips, can be found below: 

Further templates will be available upon request by contacting graphics@urc.org.uk

The URC Communications team has created templates for letterheads, pull up banners, postcards, bookmarks and different eyelet banners, where you can add your own details and obtain printed items. For further details visit: www.cpo.org.uk/URC

URC colour

The colour blue used in many URC products, including the URC logo, and also on the national website, is as follows:

Printed materials Digital products and websites: 

  • CMYK: 100-0-0-0
  • Pantone: Cyan Blue

Digital products and websites: 

  • RGB: 0-153-255 
  • Web (Hex): #0099FF

URC logo size and placement

Using the URC logo correctly is important to the Church as it helps others identify your church and its values. Churches are encouraged to have materials that reflect the United Reformed Church’s identity consistently to help achieve this. The URC logo is copyrighted to the United Reformed Church © 2016 and the URC takes seriously its responsibility for defending our logo against any damaging or confusing uses.

A variety of logos are available from this page on the URC website, which must be used in line with the guidelines as detailed in the leaflet Guidelines for the use of the URC logo (PDF).

We are keen for the logo to be used as widely as possible to promote the URC and the URC community. If you have any questions, please contact us by email at graphics@urc.org.uk.

Fonts that reflect our identity

It’s advisable to be consistent with your typography throughout items you produce in order to look professional. Below is an example of the standard format used to set a typical A4 Word document for URC use.

  • Page size: A4
  • Main title: 26pt Arial bold
  • Heading 1: 16pt Arial bold
  • Heading 2: 14pt Arial bold 
  • Body copy/Normal: 12pt Arial, on 1.15 spacing  
  • Margins: Normal

For those using Design software, Myriad Pro or Reith is preferred instead of Arial.

Using too many different fonts on the same page could clutter your design, so try to keep to one, or two complimentary font families.

It’s important that the font doesn’t distract a reader from the message you share. Your audience should be able to easily read the words written on your design the first time. You need to choose a readable font style at the outset, especially if the text is small. We suggest Arial 12pt, on 1.15 spacing.

Size 
The bigger the text size, the better it can be seen and read.

Use space
The distance between letters matters. Change font spacing if you need to place text in a small box, but still need to keep it visible.

Adjust height 
This is another parameter you can adjust to keep the text readable in limited space.

Word templates

Downloadable templates, such a editable letterheads and compliment slips, can be found below: 

Further templates will be available upon request by contacting graphics@urc.org.uk

The URC Communications team has created templates for letterheads, pull up banners, postcards, bookmarks and different eyelet banners, where you can add your own details and obtain printed items. For further details visit: www.cpo.org.uk/URC

Text style guidance

The purpose of this style guide is to make sure that multiple contributors create improved communications in a clear and cohesive way, by ensuring consistency both within a document, and across multiple documents. It serves as a reference source and training tool for anyone who reads or writes documentation for the church.

Digital material 

A guidance booklet on writing for digital/website use will shortly be available online. 

Use of capital letters

The primary downside of all capital letters is reduced legibility due to the lack of ascenders and descenders. These up-and-down characters help distinguish one letter from the next, contributing to the creation of word shapes, which is an aid to readability. Long words set in all caps are also more difficult to read than shorter words.

All-capital typography also takes longer to read. This can potentially affect reading comprehension, especially for children, seniors, and demographic with special learning needs, such as visual impairment or reading disabilities. The more caps you use, the more readability may be compromised, so please use this feature sparingly, if you must use caps at all.

Photography and illustration

Images are used to engage readers and to support your written points, present information differently or to break up blocks of copy.

An image can affect what a user thinks, feels or does and make your material more attractive. Show real people in real situations and be inclusive. Action shots can capture the moment, and convey an energy to your work.

Note: A new guidance booklet is being released about photography and imagery for church use, and will be found with other URC information guidelines

The URC Communications team has collected a variety of images, now posted to the URC Flickr website for you to use in your church materials. These are free to use within churches. 

If you would like to share your own photographs by adding them to the URC Flickr pages, for other churches to use, then please follow these instructions

A brief guideline for images
Images should always be high-quality and relevant to the post. Images online should never be less than 72 dpi (dots per inch) and images in print should never be less than 300 dpi.

Know copyright laws and always attribute (see Getting to grips with copyright). There are three basic types of images:

  • Royalty Free: a publisher buys a license once and can use the work according to the license. 
  • Public Domain: no restrictions, no copyright claim (for some countries this is not possible). 
  • Creative Commons: work may be used but only in compliance with the stated restrictions.

Optimize images for social media
These sizes constantly change as platforms evolve. Here's a quick reference quide and below are some recommended sizes: 

  • Facebook: sizes can be found here for image widths, profile pictures and cover photos.
  • Twitter: recommended upload maximum 1200 pixels in width (minimum of 600 pixels) – height not to exceed the width. For example, 1200w X 600h, or 1200w x 800h.
  • Tumblr: more flexible than some of the other platforms, image dimension sizes range on what type of image ( jpeg vs. GIF) you are uploading. For standard photo post, the suggested maximum upload size is 1280 x 1920 pixels for the image to display at 540 x 810 pixels.
  • Instagram: the maximum width 1080 pixels (minimum of 320 pixels width) – height between 566 and 1350 pixels (depending on if the image is landscape or portrait). 
  • Pinterest: recommended 720w pixels x 1080h pixels (minimum 600w x 900h). Longer pins recommended 720w x 1080h.

Copyright

Copyright is complicated! The updated edition of the URC publication Getting to grips with copyright will help you navigate your way through the potential minefield of copyright law and how it affects churches.

Make sure any images you use, or copy you have copied, is covered by checking this publication, with its useful quick reference guide. 

Printing

Margins and crop marks
Material to be printed on photocopiers need a white border around the edge, as this border area will not print on a photocopier.

For items being sent to an external printer you may have images that extend off the edge of the page, known as ‘bleeding’. Ideally you should supply any items for external print, where bleeding occurs, with 3mm extra on each edge (3mm bleed off) and crop marks.

How to add bleed to Word documents 
To add bleed in Microsoft Word, make the sheet bigger than A4 to included the bleed area. Open up a new A4 document and follow these steps: 

  • In the page Layout tab; Size > More Paper Sizes change the width to 216mm (21.6cm) and height to 303mm (30.3cm). 
  • Press OK and when any warning messages about margins being outside of the printable area pop up press ‘Ignore’. You now have a sheet that’s 3mm bigger than A4 on all 4 edges. 
  • Now set the ‘gridlines’ area, within which all text and other important data is placed. In page Layout > Margins > Custom Margins, change all 4 margins to 1.0cm. Press OK and when any warning messages about margins being outside of the printable area pop up press ‘Ignore’. 
  • Now, go to the View tab and make sure ‘Gridlines’ is checked (the gridlines do not print). You can now start designing, keeping all items, that you do not want to bleed off the edge of the page, inside the gridlines. 
  • If you want images to print right to the edge you can drag the image to the edge of the sheet. Remember that the extra 3mm will be cut off at the printers. 

Note: to move image select the image settings Size and Position > Text Wrapping tab choose Behind text. Then in Position > Options select Allow overlap and deselect Move Object with text. Your image can then be moved easily off the edge.

How to add crop marks to Word documents

  • For PC users once Bleed has been added go to File > Options > Advanced and tick Show crop marks. 
  • For Mac users once Bleed has been added go to Word > Preferences > View and tick Crop Marks, or see video here.

When you have finished your design in Word it is best practice to create a PDF to present to the printer.

Promotion

Once you have a new product don’t forget to promote it! Tell everyone about it: when it’s being published, how it can be accessed and what’s great about it.

 

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