I wanted the logo for the Kingdom Compass project to be multilayered and symbolic, serving as a reflection of how the Bible is. You can a read a passage or verse at different points in your life or after having read other parts of scripture, and discover new meanings, peeling back the layers like an onion.
I asked God to guide me in designing the logo for Kingdom Compass, seeking help to pack in as much symbolism as possible. Over each day of a long weekend, he left me room for creative free will while inspiring me with thoughtful design ideas.
God gave me many beautiful ideas and a way to wrap it all into a neat package. Do you see the letters? How about the fish? The westward arrow? The twelve pieces held together by the cross?
The name “Kingdom Compass” came to me during prayer soon after my reversion. It’s a play on “kingdom come” and “compass.” It abbreviates nicely to “KC.” The abbreviation is great not only for the logo, but also as a person’s name. With my music artist name as Kingdom Compass, that means people can call me “KC.” It’s like a new name for a new mission.
I started with various fonts with the letter K and C. I then realized, if I flipped the direction of the C, it looked like a fish!
I settled on a straightedge font family (circled green). It did the best job emulating the fin of the fish.
While the cross is the defining symbol of Christianity, the ichtus/ichthys fish symbol is also a common symbol of the faith.
So the logo is not only an abbreviation of Kingdom Compass but also an ichthys! It becomes clear in an early, monochrome version of the logo:
The Westward Arrow
Before adding more adornments, the early version of the logo above clearly shows an arrow pointing to the left between the two letters. It came about as I was trying variations of the letter C and how it would touch the letter K. I noticed it looked like an arrow, and the symbolism there was perfect.
In the Bible, the movement of east to west, or vice versa, has symbolism. The recurring direction of exile—away from God—is eastward (Ex: God expelled Adam and Eve east of Eden, God sent murderous Cain eastward, Jacob fled east from the Promised Land to Haran).
The arrow eventually does become very subtle, but it was a perfect way of maintaining the idea of a compass, which points in a direction.
Actually, the first two designs for the logo were modeled straight-up after a compass. The whole point of Kingdom Compass is to point others to God through Christ.
And yes, the FedEx logo also has a subtle arrow, but my rationale was not an impulse like, “Let’s copy the logo of a shipping company!”
The Twelve Pieces
The logo seemed a bit bare to me, so I started adding additional pieces to it to give it a sense of multiple layers/dimensions.
As I started to add pieces, a whisper in my heart said, “Why not twelve pieces?” That would be nice symbolism: the twelve tribes of Israel, the twelve apostles.
I counted up what I had so far… eleven.
How do I add one more? I split the leftmost piece in half by coloring half of it red. That piece (#6 in the picture below) symbolizes Judas Iscariot. It is the only piece of the twelve that causes vertical asymmetry, symbolic of his hardened heart and determination to betray Christ running contrary to the other apostles.
However, Jesus still selected Judas as one of the Twelve knowing he would betray him, and many of the other apostles can be seen betraying Christ in different ways at various points in the Gospels, but that’s a discussion for another day.
The point here is that all the pieces bring something different to the table. While we don’t know too much about some of the apostles, Christ chose each of them and so they must have all been instrumental in spreading Christianity in its early days. The twelve come together to form the complete image, much like all the parts of our body come together to form a complete human being, made in the image of God.
I didn’t go to yet another layer of symbolism and assign each piece to each apostle, beyond Judas Iscariot and Peter, but it could be a fun puzzle.
Simon Peter, also known as Cephas, is the “C” (#1 in the picture above). He had a major role among the twelve, indicated by the size of that piece and its proximity to the cross. The cross sits on the C, which symbolizes Christ building the Church on the rock of Peter:
“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.”—Matthew 16:18, RSVCE
Speaking of the cross, that leads us to the final piece of symbolism in this logo.
To symbolize Christ bringing all the apostles together, I added a cross as the centerpiece, resting at the heart of the fish, between the letters. Like a buttress that supports a building’s wall, the cross is a buttress supporting the pieces and preventing them from crashing down, symbolic of all that he does to ease our burdens if we allow him.
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”—Matthew 11:28-30, NABRE
I also gave the cross some stylistic hooks so it looks like fish hooks. Jesus calls Christians to be fishers of people, drawing them to him.
As he passed by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea; they were fishermen. Jesus said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”—Mark 1:16, NABRE
The height-width dimensions of the logo follow the Golden Ratio, which is an interesting pattern you can search online for and read more about. The ratio seems to appear in many places including nature, so it was a nice final touch to conform the logo to this ratio.
I was blessed with the opportunity to visit Venice, Italy. The painting there that blew me away was a massive painting by an Italian Renaissance artist named Tiziano Vecelli, also known as Titian. The painting is the Assumption of the Virgin. It takes center stage on the high altar of the Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari.
The blue and red of Mary’s clothing against the backdrop of radiant light really popped for me, so I color-picked those using Adobe Color CC, a free online tool for making color themes. Shades of Mary’s blue and red garb became the primary colors for Kingdom Compass. It was a subtle way of also venerating the Mother of God in the logo.
The secondary color of white also pairs well with red, symbolic of the image of Divine Mercy, where streams of red and white emanate outward. This is most clear in a variation of the logo, where red takes center stage.