Can You Judge a Book by its Cover?

9651023091?profile=originalWe’ve all heard that well worn cliché, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” While most people tacitly assume the wisdom of this statement, we must ask ourselves whether this is universally true. While the saying may apply well to interpersonal relationships, I would argue that in this age of instant communication and sophisticated design, it does not.

Imagine yourself in a in a store. You find yourself considering the purchase of only one of two different brands of shampoo: one is artfully designed and the other looks rather like a junior high school art project. Market research indicates that you will choose the well-designed product, even if it happens to be more expensive.

The undeniable fact is that consumers judge the quality of a product, in large measure, by the quality of that brand’s design. A well designed product reflects an image that the manufacturer wishes to project with regard to the kind of care and attention that went into the development of the product itself.

It is no different for any other type of organization such as a ministry, church or company. One of the main criteria employed to judge all organizations, at least in part, is the quality of their brand. When we speak of “branding,” it involves more than simply graphic appeal. Your brand is a clear, iconic representation of what makes you, you. A brand is your reputation. It tells people how to feel when they think about you. To build a brand for your organization, you must begin by clearly articulating your vision and the outcomes you seek. Practically, your brand ought to be marked by a well-designed logo and overall look. It's important to seek out a design professional for this task because they are specifically trained in design and color theory and understand the affect different design schemes have on various demographic groups. Done right, your brand will clearly communicate what your organization is about — to visitors, donors, members, and the local/national community. How people feel about your organization has everything to do with its success.

The following are some questions to consider as part of your branding strategy:

  1. What is your vision?
  2. Who are you are trying to reach?
  3. What do you want people to feel about your organization/product?
  4. How does your organization define success? Or, what are the results you are looking for?

A well designed brand will give your constituents or consumer base an instant understanding of what is really important to your organization. If your base were to judge your organization by its “cover,” what do you think it would tell them?


9651023479?profile=originalKATHRYN MCBRIDE, a Colson Center Fellow, is the founder/principal of Letcetera, Ltd., a graphic design and publishing firm in suburban Chicago. While a visual artist by profession, she also enjoys a variety of creative pursuits. In all that she does, she endeavors to make things beautiful. Kathryn founded and led a ministry for Christian artists and also maintains the website She is deeply affected by stories of sacrifice, nobility and courage and seeks to honor those who have given their lives for something greater than themselves. Kathryn was raised in a large family with a rich heritage of Christian missionaries who lived by faith and modeled powerful prayer lives. She resides in the western suburbs of Chicago where she seeks to live out her “life verse”— There is only Christ, He is everything. (Col. 3:11)

It would be such a pleasure to work with you!  I work for a variety of ministries, organizations and corporations. Please visit my website at to see my design portfolio, a partial client list, publishing information and bookstore. If you know someone who has been faithful to the call of God, please visit and let us know about them. We would love to tell their story.


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