ELCA Graphic Emblem

Copyright 1998
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Office of the Secretary
8765 West Higgins Road
Chicago, IL 60631  


To help you, this manual has been prepared. This manual defines some design principles to maintain consistency in our visual identification as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Such consistency is necessary for our church to retain legal rights to this emblem and to provide a cohesive system of visual identity.

The recommended selection of type and use of space, form, and color all contribute to an effective visual message.

A strong and unified visual identity will underscore our shared responsibility in the ministries that we bear together. We seek to speak in a clear, consistent voice, giving faithful witness to the glorious revelation of God's love and mercy in Jesus Christ for the whole world.


An emblem can be more than merely another visual marking amid the clutter of this "information age." In fact, I hope that the emblem of our Evangelical Lutheran Church in America will serve, for each of us, as a reminder of the One who unites us, calls us, and sends us--namely, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

In serving as such a reminder of our identity as this church, our emblem will be used not only for stationery and envelopes, but also in a wide variety of other printed resources and video materials. Further, it will be available on signs to point to the location of any congregations of this church.

The emblem is simple, yet full of meaning. The central visual element is the cross. That is apt for us as Lutherans. Grounded in Scripture and reflecting our Reformation heritage, we believe, teach, and confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and the Gospel as the power of God for salvation.

Under the cross, we move into witness and service in the vast array of efforts carried out through congregations and through synodical and churchwide ministries.

A form of this emblem initially was introduced in art related to the 1995 synodical and churchwide assemblies. Subsequently, revisions in the design were undertaken. Now we have this emblem available as our visual mark for use throughout the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Consider the fuller explanation of this emblem on the following pages. Please use this emblem carefully and appropriately.

H. George Anderson
Presiding Bishop

Graphics Standards Manual

This emblem is to identify visually the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America--including its three primary expressions and related institutions and organizations--has been developed for use throughout this church.


This emblem, sometimes known as logotype:

a. Replaces the "Come Share the Spirit" cross-and-flame design, which was developed under the Transition Team in 1987 for the introduction of this church and which was phased out of general use in 1989;

b. Represents development and revision of the "Jerusalem Cross" emblem, which was introduced in connection with the 1995 Churchwide Assembly and which subsequently evolved into the current design;

c. Provides a common, ongoing, consistent emblem for:

(1) Divisions, commissions, departments, and offices of the churchwide organization;
(2) Synods that choose to use it;
(3) Congregations of this church, including for stationery, calling cards, newsletters, street signs, and related items; and
(4) Institutions and organizations related to this church; and
d. Will allow the official seal, which remains unchanged, to be used primarily for official purposes.


This emblem:

a. Provides a visually simple yet dramatic expression of the faith and purpose of this church;

b. Offers a distinctive and forthright graphic "mark" for identification of this church;

c. Provides immediate recognition, at a glance, through clear and consistent use as the visual identifier for this church; and

d. Reflects the basic, evangelical purposes of this church, including this church's commitment to:

(1) Proclaim the Gospel;
(2) Carry out Christ's Great Commission;
(3) Worship God;
(4) Nurture members in faith, hope, and love to exercise their Christian calling;
(5) Serve in response to God's love to meet human needs; and
(6) Manifest the unity given by God's Spirit.


Alone, the cross is a widely recognized, eye-catching symbol of the Christian faith. Set within the context of the world, the cross points to Jesus, who calls upon the Church to go into all the world to preach the Gospel (Matthew 28:19-20). For this task, the Church is assured of the power and ongoing presence of the crucified and risen Christ.

Within the emblem, the cross is seen in relation to an orb, symbolizing the world. The cross in the context of the globe reflects both the glad news of Christ's incarnation and the continuing manifestation of the Church as the body of Christ in the world.

The visual motion within the cross and the surrounding orb reminds us of the spreading Light of the Gospel of Christ. Within the spheres of the orb can be seen smaller crosses (a design sometimes known as the "Jerusalem Cross"), a traditional symbol for the commission to spread the Gospel to the whole world.

The proclamation of the Word shapes our whole life as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in all of its expressions. Indeed, all members are summoned to move toward the cross in repentance and from the cross in witness and service.

The cross also provides a reminder of rebirth in Baptism ("...marked with the cross of Christ forever") and the meal of forgiveness that Christ gives to the Church ("...given for you; ...shed for you").


This emblem reflects visually the conviction that "the Gospel, recorded in the Holy Scriptures and confessed in the ecumenical creeds and the Lutheran confessional writings,...[is] the power of God to create and sustain the Church for God's mission in the world" (ELCA churchwide constitutional provision 2.07.).

The emblem further emerges from this church's acknowledgment:

a. That the Word of God is "the authoritative source and norm of...[our] proclamation, faith, and life" (churchwide constitutional provision 2.03.); and

b. That the Word of God is understood and read from the perspective of the cross of Christ, reflecting our Lord's life, suffering, death, and resurrection for the sake of God's people (churchwide constitutional provision 2.02.a.).

As expressed in the ecumenical creeds, which are embraced "as true declarations of the faith of this church" (churchwide constitutional provision 2.04.), this church confesses God as Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer.

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth...
(Nicene Creed).

Within the visual "movement" of the emblem seen in the four quadrants that surround the cross, the creation of the world is reflected.

"In the beginning...[out of formless void and darkness] God created the heavens and the earth....
Then God said, 'Let there be light'; and there was light" (Genesis 1:1 and 3).

The visual "movement" of the emblem focuses on the cross, underscoring the Gospel as the power of God for the salvation of sinners.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ..., Light from Light,
true God from true God, begotten, not made.... For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven.... For our sake he was crucified...
(Nicene Creed).

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him
may not perish, but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to
condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him" (John 3:16-17).

This church declares that the "canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments...record and announce God's revelation centering in Jesus Christ. Through them, God's Spirit speaks to us to create and sustain Christian faith and fellowship for service in the world" (churchwide constitutional provision 2.02.c.).

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life...
who] has spoken through the prophets. We believe in one
holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge
one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins...
(Nicene Creed).

"For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body,
though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit
we were all baptized into the one body..." (1 Corinthians 12:12-13).


Simple, highly organized visual forms have a strong, unconscious impact upon people's attention and memory. A clearly defined visual image can provide an easily identifiable symbol for an organization or entity, such as this church.

The power of emblems or symbols to unite people and even to change attitudes has been recognized throughout the ages. In the current era, communication methods and available technology have escalated sharply the value and use of identification marks, such as emblems or logotypes.

An emblem's effectiveness grows through repeated, consistent use. Consistency is the most important standard for such purposeful visual communication.


Attending to minute details in the use of an emblem is important. Compare the use of an emblem or logotype to a word--the word, "cross," for instance. If the letters in "cross" are rearranged, the word loses its meaning. If the word is written carelessly, it might be unreadable and, thereby, lose its meaning. Similar confusion can occur if care is not exercised with a visual image, such as an identifying emblem.

To ensure that the "message" of the visual system is communicated effectively requires the commitment of all those who are responsible for the identity of our church. This includes: pastors and lay leaders of congregations; staff of congregations, synods, and the churchwide organization; synodical bishops; churchwide officers and executives; communication specialists; and all others who prepare material related to this church.

This emblem becomes this church's visual "signature." At times, this "signature" will include consistent use of a particular letter style for this church's name. Like any person's signature, this church's "signature" will be distinctive.

Graphic identity is composed here of four elements or standard features. They are (1) name of church body; (2) emblem or visual "mark"; (3) typestyle; and (4) color(s).

a. The emblem must not be redrawn, reproportioned, or modified if it is to serve effectively as this church's visual "mark."

b. The way in which typography is spaced in relation to the emblem will become part of the unique "signature."

c. The typeface for the name, "Evangelical Lutheran Church in America," which encircles the emblem, is Minion Semibold.

d. Color serves constructively in the use of this church's special "signature."

1. What color should the emblem be?

(a) If printed in a single color other than black, the preferred color is PMS 485.
(b) If a second color is added for the globe area, the preferred color is PMS 485 or a 40 percent black screen.
(c) If printed in a four-color design, the following specifications apply: red is PMS 485 (upper left quadrant) ; purple is PMS 2587 (upper right quadrant) ; yellow is PMS 116 (lower right quadrant); and green is PMS 376 (lower left quadrant).

2. Colors are designated according to the Pantone Matching System (PMS) to ensure correct use of color ink. (PANTONE is a registered trademark of Pantone, Inc.)

Last updated 10/31/2005