Why do you have a lighthouse logo when there is no lighthouse in sight?

This was the question asked of senior pastor Ryan Johnson of Redwood Baptist Church located in Redwood City, California. As a growing church in a growing area, Redwood Baptist Church had been seeing an influx of young professionals and young families moving into the area because of their jobs in Silicon Valley. Many of these individuals asked why the church logo was a lighthouse when there was no visible or notable lighthouse in the vicinity of the church, let alone the San Francisco Bay peninsula.

After over seven years as the senior pastor, Ryan knew it was time for a change. We were tasked to develop a modern, relatable "non-lighthouse" brand that the church could continue growing with and that would resinate with the community. Challenge accepted!


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At the beginning of the research process, the word "Redwood City" was preeminent in our focus. The Pacific Northwest is the only location where the great coastal Redwood tree grows. It has several interesting facts:

  • Long lifespan. Some Redwoods have been labeled as old as 2,200 years.

  • Thick red bark. The bark can be up to 12 inches thick and retains a lot of water making it good to fend off forest fires.

  • Tree sap. The unique tree resin wards off insects, fungus, and diseases that can damage the tree.

  • Climate change heroes. The growth of the Redwood tree affects the immediate area around its base. 

With these incredible facts we began to make parallels to that of the church. The church should be in the community for the long-haul. It should be strong enough to fight off fires and other dangerous elements. The growth and health of the church should radically affect the community around it.

The wood rings symbolize longevity, faithfulness, and strength. It provides a rustic yet modern approach that provides a personal, local message to something identifiable.


Creating a new logo and identity system is exciting, but with the change comes all of the things that need to be switched out. Branding projects are not cheap. It's more than just swapping the logo and a few colors. It should be a well-thought, strategic move, because it affects your vision and messaging within your organization and community. If not done right, it could produce confusion and a negative reaction by people who are suppose to be your most loyal supporters.

With Redwood, everything was changed at the same time. Out with old stationary, business cards, signage, screens, and community outreach materials. It was almost as if the church got a new, fresh, and invigorating beginning. The move was strategically done to coincide with what God was already doing within the church walls and hearts of the congregation. 


The final step was to put together a comprehensive brand identity system guide book which clearly spelled out Redwood Baptist's vision language along with instructions on how to effectively put the fully identity system to use.

After understanding the need for rebranding our church in the community, I only had one person in mind to do that. Stephen did an incredible job and really showed the value of local research and how that plays a huge part in creating something unique and effective.

Pastor at Redwood Baptist Church