“Blue Missouri” (by Pr. Charles Henrickson, the wag tailoring the doggerel)

The Missouri Synod is rebranding! The familiar LCMS cross is changing colors. Out goes the burgundy, in comes the blue! You can read about it here at the LCMS Brand and Logo Center:

“A new emphasis and a new look for the church.” “In marketing terminology, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod is refreshing its brand.” “Probably the most notable change in our refreshed branding is the change in the color of the church’s tripartite cross logo, which has changed to blue from burgundy.” “The new blue palette for the LCMS cross logo was chosen for several reasons after numerous meetings over several months. The new color palette was viewed positively by the pastors, seminary professors, donors, laity and others participating in the rebranding effort. Royal blue is a classic, conservative color that will stand the test of time. It sets a friendly and inviting tone.” “. . . the burgundy color, which has been in use for almost 30 years . . . was viewed by some as outdated.”

I don’t know what to make of all this. This raises many questions:

Was this the work of the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Branding the Mission with a Blue Logo (BRTFBMBL)?

Will we now refer to the Purple Palace as the Blue Bureaucropolis?

What will happen to all of our sangria-colored books–our hymnals and catechisms and the like? Personally, I think they should have just changed the burgundy to sangria. A subtle difference, I know, but we’ve been thoroughly sangriafied in recent years.

Blue puts one in mind of the 1982 hymnal and of Democrats. As a sharp-eyed, well-informed, flaming Purple Palace Palette User, it sure looks strange to me.

Anyhow, this new rebranding calls for a song to celebrate! Here goes. Click the music link and sing along!

Tune: “Blue Hawaii”

Bright and new
It’s blue Missouri
The sight is heavenly
And so refreshing to see

Lovely hue
It’s blue Missouri
With our new emphasis
We should rebrand

Come and see
We’re removin’ burgundy
Our palette’s young
And so are we, so are we

Brands come new
In blue Missouri
Can you believe it’s true?
This breathless news–we’re turning blue!

Come and see
We’re removin’ burgundy
Our palette’s young
And so are we, so are we

Brands come new
In blue Missouri
Can you believe it’s true?
This breathless news–we’re turning blue!


“Blue Missouri” (by Pr. Charles Henrickson, the wag tailoring the doggerel) — 67 Comments

  1. Anyone know how much we paid for this? (I was a bit surprised that question didn’t make the LCMS Rebranding FAQ list.)

    You know, if I had to decide whether to blow money on a “rebranding study” or follow Rome’s lead and buy a few pairs of $640 red Prada loafers for the SP, I think I’d go w/ the shoes. They might be pricey, but you DO at least need to have shoes.

  2. @Matthew Mills #51
    Anyone know how much we paid for this?

    [Another “consultants” fee would make one inclined to barf, wouldn’t it!]

    I’ve read most of the “verbiage”. It seems, when you get below the hype, that for 30 years, congregations and schools have been coloring that cross any way they wanted.
    This acknowledges the fact and says, “Do it your way. We at IC are going to have blue… (but also rose, green or purple, depending on what division we’re in.) The only consistency will be the shape of the cross.”

    Now, did we need to know that in Holy Week…
    or would two weeks ago have been better!?

  3. Just got an email from the Chief Mission Officer:

    “For years, many congregations and schools have been using colors for the LCMS cross logo other than burgundy, so as to match or complement their school colors. This week, we are introducing blue as a new color choice for the LCMS cross logo. You also will begin to see red, purple and green treatments for the LCMS logo cross. . . You may be asking, ‘Can we keep the burgundy cross logo?’ The answer is absolutely. Our refreshed branding standards are widening the colors available for use.”

    I did not understand this from the original announcement.

  4. Maybe they could change the LCMS logo on special occasions the way Google does. I would like to see a crucifix tomorrow.

  5. @Andrew #53
    In all honesty, when would be a time of the year that would gather no complaints?

    If you’ve been around a bit, Andrew, you will know that we are a bit “allergic” to change in Holy Week due to prior “changes” at that time!

    A change that is announced first and explained later will always generate complaints.
    A change that is liable to cost some congregations money should provide advance warning, (and less obfuscation would help, too).

    [As it turns out, though, it’s not so much a “change” as an “add”. Those who paid for burgundy signs in the last month can erect them without fear. That assurance, upfront, would have saved a lot of band width!]

    Besides, we’re Lutherans! What do you expect to hear when someone says, “Change!”?

  6. Ugggh! Where do I start? I at first thought this was an April Fool’s joke.
    1. It’s extremely expensive to do this “rebranding.” Think of all the places where this needs to be changed–Web site, signage, everything printed, not to mention congregations will have to foot the bill to update as well.
    2. Reasoning. In “BRANDING 101” a logo “refresh” is to signify a change in the corporate structure. What change has come about that LCMS is wanting to signify?
    3. This is confusing. For the past 30 years, we’ve been a burgundy cross. You can travel to any city and easily recognize what is an LCMS church from the logo. Changing color causes confusion. A better choice to refresh would have been to morph the logo slightly to bring it up to date…BUT DO NOT change the color.
    4. Meaning: BURGANDY (it’s a classic color, it doesn’t go out of date): Taken from the Pantone Guide to Color: means Rich, Elegant, Refined, Mature. BLUE means: Conservative, Basic, Service, Nautical, Confident, Professional, Quiet.
    5. Blue cross I immediately think of Blue Cross Blue Shield Insurance.
    Too bad the LCMS didn’t consult Bill Chiavalle at Brand Navigation. He’s an amazing brand designer who works in my town who as worked on the Fed Ex logo and many other corporate brands. He’s written the book “Branding for Dummies.” He would have probably given the LCMS some better advice.
    6. Did I hear that other colors are optional? This causes more confusion and inconsistency across the board. Does Target allow their individual stores to change colors as they see fit? No because they want their store to be recognized without question. This does not unite a body doing this at all. The time is does work to change colors is if you have different branches, ie: FedEx Overnight, FedEx Ground, FedEx Office etc. That works, this doesn’t.
    I feel better now that I’ve vented.

  7. @Rev. Kevin Vogts #54
    This is ridiculous to allow all colors across the rainbow. It does NOT promote unity in any way. You can have your school colors and even their own identity and logos, but the LCMS logo should still remain intact and distinct from it. If you look at a Dell computer, it is co-branded with Intel. Neither try to morph into each other’s logos. I’m really disappointed with whoever the marketing firm is on this project as this is causing so much confusion. It’s catering to what people want instead of what is really the right way to portray a brand image. Kinda how the LCMS worship services go. It’s a free for all!

  8. @Rev. Kevin Vogts #49
    I agree, but if you look at the true meaning of color, Burgundy is a classic and never goes out of style. I have the Pantone Guide to Color and yes, fads do come and go, but it says you’re pretty much safe with burgundy as it is timeless elegance. I would however be alright with changing a shade or two, maybe a little more red burgundy. Plus, this color is now easily recognized. When you switch it, you confuse people. How many large brands that you know of have changed their COLOR? Most of them keep their colors, but modify the shape slightly over a period of time.

  9. DKS,

    I am with you. This is really puzzling. I would not really call this rebranding. I would call it tweaking. I hope we did not pay for rebranding. I hope the lion’s share of this project simply a matter of developing the different layouts of the witness/mercy/life together stuff. That needed to be done. I don’t think I would call this rebranding adn hope we did not pay for that.

    Having said that, these are decisions that need to be made by people in charge and there is no way that folks like you and I can contribute meaningfully to a change like this.

    I must say though again, why not get rid of the silly, corporate looking, could-not-hang-a Jesus-on-it cross.

  10. I personally would not have moved away from the burgundy, which I have always liked and will probably continue using since that is allowed. However, I was told the preference of the previous administration was to drop this logo altogether in favor of the one used by the BRTFSSG, a logo I did not like for technical reasons. One of the great advantages of the LCMS logo cross is that it is amazingly adaptable to a wide variety of uses. It looks great in just about any size, material, etc. The BRTFSSG logo would have been very difficult to replicate properly in many circumstances and applications, and in my opinion would not have made a suitable Synodical logo.

  11. The BRTFSSG logo looks like mold in a old refrigerator after removing the shelf and support bracket.

    This is an appropriate logo for the BRTGSSG, but not the LCMS.

  12. A couple of years ago a prominent individual in the previous administration pointed to that and said to me, “You’re looking at the new logo of the LCMS.”

  13. A shadow of a cross was appropriate for that administration’s thinking.
    It fit with the shadow of a Lutheran church they were/are bent on creating.

    [Don’t go to sleep now! It’s not enough to remove the man at the top. The dictatorship is well entrenched, doing business as usual. E.g., ULC MN ]
    IF the DP’s have more power to remove people than the SP, they have the greater responsibility as well!. (And if they don’t answer to Synod for the destruction of good men, they will answer to God for their supervision of His servants.)

  14. @helen #65
    “IF the DP’s have more power to remove people than the SP, they have the greater responsibility as well!.”

    Good point. In the eyes of the lawyers this makes the DPs more liable than the SP when the question is asked, “Did you do enough?” As they usurped their power like a College of Cardinals, I wonder if they realized this…

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