Image is Everything

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Thank you to everyone who helped me shape my business card design. It is so much better than I could have imagined. The “winning” design, by a rather large margin, was Option B:

The scores were, out of 5:

Option A – 2.56
Option B – 4.29
Option C – 3.83
Option D – 2.61

There were a lot of suggestions and comments as well, so the final design may get tweaked a bit, but for the most part it will be what you see here.

It may seem silly to spend so much time on a simple thing like a business card—and honestly, I was just having some fun with this. But I think people do underestimate the power of tone, esthetics, and atmosphere. So much of language in any culture is expressed non-verbally. How a room is organized or decorated, how someone is dressed, or even, as silly as it may seem, the design of a business card, can say a lot to someone new and greatly effect their perception and feelings about something or someone. I like the design that was chosen because it is non-traditional, has some winsomeness, but also lets people know that we’re serious about what we’re doing as a faith community—there is a level of professionalism about it.

I remember a story that was shared with me some time ago about Rosa Parks. She was meeting with a group of student activists, most of whom were dressed in what could be generally described as hippie clothes. She told them that when they are addressing our country’s ills, when they are protesting civil rights or any other thing, be clear about your message and try to be narrow and singular in message. If you are fighting for equality, show respect to those with whom you disagree (or disagree with you) in the way you present yourselves, from the way you talk to the way you look. Let them know you are serious. She then went on to tell them that their presentation said all sorts of things that will make the establishment dismiss them because one of the messages they were sending with their appearance and language is that they are anti-establishment. Why would the establishment listen to them if one of the primary messages being received was that they hated the establishment? She suggested that if they really wanted to effect change they should consider learning to understand and respect the establishment, even if they strongly disagreed with the establishment’s perspective. I wonder if there is a lesson for the #Occupy movement in here somewhere? Whether or not the facts are true, this lesson has stuck with me for a long time.

Another story, this time from my seminary internship. I had a history of being late to everything. I was always running behind because I would get caught up in all sorts of projects and things. One day my supervisor, the Rev. Roger Reaber, pulled me aside and told me something an older pastor once told him. When someone is late to an appointment or meeting, that person is telling everyone else that his or her time is more important than anyone else’s. In so doing, that person is disrespecting and dishonoring the people with whom he or she is meeting. I had never thought of that. I was just caught up in my own stuff. And in getting so caught up, I was blind to the needs of the world because it was all about me. I have never forgotten that.

With my business card, and the way I present myself, I want to try to convey a message that I am serious about what I do, that I care deeply about what God is calling us to do and be (even though I may joke around a lot and have fun), and let the person receiving that card know that they are important enough to spend some time on such a thing. I know no one is going to consciously think: “Wow, this guy must have spent some time on this business card. He must really care about me and be serious about what he’s doing.” But I do believe that a message is nonetheless given and received, intentionally or unintentionally. In the grand scheme of things my card (which most often will get thrown away) is a small thing, but with up to two-thirds of our communication being non-verbal, every detail is important and has value.

So, thank you one and all for your input and for taking the time to play with me in my little endeavor. I am excited about this new adventure upon which my family and I are embarking. I am excited about meeting and getting to know new people who, I know, will change me, shape me, and reform me by the grace of God—and I hope to offer the same to them. Keep my family and me in your prayers as we begin moving next week! See you in Tempe!

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