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MWC says farewell to a faithful servant

Behind the visual identity of Mennonite World Conference

Karla Braun, Mennonite World Conference
Jul 15, 2017

Glenn Fretz is pictured with the initial planning map and some of the hallway signage he designed for Assembly 16 in Harrisburg, Pa., in 2015. (Photo by Byron Rempel-Burkholder)

You may not have heard of one of the longest-serving workers for Mennonite World Conference (MWC) who is retiring this year, but many will be familiar with his work.

Glenn Fretz was at the beginning of his career as a designer when Paul Kraybill, a former MWC general secretary, contacted the resident of Waterloo, Ont., to do all the design work related to Assembly 10 in 1978. He designed the publications in multiple languages, created signage that features pictorial symbols to communicate across cultures without using words, and he created the organization’s logo.

His simple, memorable combination of the cross and the globe is the instantly recognizable symbol of MWC that continues to ground its visual identity to this day.

Over the next four decades, he designed the 1990 Mennonite World Handbook: Mennonites in Global Witness; the 1990, 2003 and 2009 assembly songbooks; a variety of brochures; the 2012 and 2015 World Directory publications; the 2009 and 2015 MWC world map; and signage for Assembly 16 in Harrisburg, Pa. in 2015.

He also designed the global MWC section at the visitor’s centre in St Jacobs, Ont., and in 1997 he designed the then new Canadian Mennonite magazine for editor Ron Rempel.

In 2012, Rempel, who had become MWC’s chief communications officer, brought Fretz on retainer with MWC as visual identity consultant to create a manual to standardize the look of MWC communications for the evolving needs of the future. Applications Glenn produced include the trilingual signature (the logo plus MWC in 3 languages); letterhead; templates for print applications like brochures, posters, report and resource headers; and templates for electronic applications such as the website, MWC Info (e-newsletter), Facebook and PowerPoint. He also supervised a redesign of Courier/Correo/Courrier magazine.

His final MWC project was the proceedings book, a record of the speeches and activities at Assembly 16.

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