The Icons of Easter

Visually communicating Easter is a subject worth debating.

Easter is the season known for jellybeans, painted eggs, bunnies and chocolate. We’ve found that churches however have, and rightly so, a distinguished sensitivity to these secular images that are the holiday’s politically correct and mass-produced identity. Sure, the mass-public still possesses an idea of where the holiday originally came from but its become clear to some and a deep-seated fear for others that this might not be where the future takes Easter.

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Easter egg promoting resurrection

Churches who would like to appeal to their secular counterparts while maintaining the values and meaning of the holiday’s religious tradition (the word “tradition” doesn’t really cut it here), have found themselves at a crossroad. There exists a tension around this issue that can bring about fruitful conversation and understanding, but there also exists a tension that can subtract from the key message of hope.

So, is a painted egg a shared image between a secular and Christian community, or is it a watered down symbol of Easter to church members? Can a bunny or painted egg be images shared by both communities? Should Christians lay co-rights these images?

Finding Balance

Lets admit that many churches struggle to find the right balance between these tensions and some just throw in the towel. It takes more than bravery and moxie to try and tackle this problem.

As Christian marketers at openbox9, the goal of our Easter promotions is to appeal to the churchgoer and general community alike to attend an Easter celebration. What better way than to use common ground imagery with a direct Gospel message attached? It’s true, an egg or bunny can be a trite scene, but it’s up to us to refresh it and connect the two communities.

Our Unique Visual Bunny Trail

This year when we shared a new Easter egg design with the client and the pastor chose to share it on his Facebook page. The outcome was a barrage of responses (80+) some being positive but others displaying disapproval for its “church-lite” approach or “surrendering to a commercialized world.” Mature Christians love the deep symbolic messages and images but it’s a foreign language to non-Christians wanting to learn about Easter. We chose to suggest to this audience that church-lite is the more appropriate thing to display if the effort is to make Easter inviting to those who don’t yet understand church-heavy.

Last year we witnessed openness from a church that allowed us to use the fame bunny. That client took the humility and patience (them, not us) to discuss the implications of using neutral images within a faith-based group of members as the questions came. Whatever the chosen solution to the problem was—whichever design direction they chose—started a dialogue about the issue within their congregation, putting some punctuation on the subject-at-hand.

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The openbox9 Easter Chunny

For ourselves, we choose to bring the bunny into the story of Easter by using it as a prop to speak of sacrifice, being fed and resurrection. Yes, having rabbit for an Easter meal is odd but no more odd than hoping a large man in red from the North Pole sneaks into you house while you sleep on Christmas Eve.

Challenge the Concerns

So, no matter your stance on the subject, the discussion can be fruitful. It’s sometimes a matter of how and when we present the conversation-starters. At openbox9, we thrive in the challenge of helping our clients meet these challenges—and sometimes—embrace the issues that arise. Ask us how we can help you in an out-of-the box, openbox9 way.

I also invite you to review our portfolio to see our other design solutions.

To view Easter branding we created for Parkside Church click here.

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Ashleigh is a graphic designer with roots in fine arts, a love for all things creative, and a BFA in graphic design from Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Ashleigh has a passion for design that almost trumps her passion for caring for others. Almost. She thrives finding distinct and pertinent solutions for organizations and causes.
March 30th, 2010 // // ,
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