It’s hard to make a strong exegetical case for using online and print graphics with excellence, so I’m not going to try to misuse Scripture to fit my point. However, I do think that church graphics are something that most churches could improve. We’re not talking about hiring a full-time graphic designer. Although, if you really wanted great graphics, paying a little for quality stuff can be a good investment for a church. With a little tweaking and a small amount of work most churches could go a long way into improving their graphics.
There are many areas that fall into the category of church graphics. On the online side, you have facebook pages, cover photos, profile pictures, and other social media graphics. The biggie is the church website. Here, there is photography, church logo, sermon graphics, ministry logos, video, etc. On the print side, there are letterheads, postcards, business cards, signage, T-shirts, promotional materials, etc. It’s a lot, and some of these areas require a little more know-how than others. Because of a lot of online help and the power of technology and crowdsourcing, many of these things can be handled fairly easily.
But, first a few things you may or may not know about church graphics.
1. Those who visit your church are creating their first impression online.
We live in a digital age. I don’t know about you, but when I’m checking out the quality of something, I check it out online. If it looks well-done and well designed, I’m much more likely to think that it is something of quality. If it looks like it was thrown up in five minutes, I’m going to think the quality has also been thrown up in five minutes. You’re probably the same, so why wouldn’t others think the same? That means your logo, website, and social media are all important in creating that first impression.
2. Because of cheap and free resources, the barrier to entry is lower than before.
If you scroll down this post, you’ll see several free and/or affordable resources you can use even with zero or limited design knowledge. Designing great graphics is not like it used to be. Plus, if you wanted to use some higher powered programs like photoshop and illustrator, you can find some great tutorials online that can help you with some basic tasks.
3. There are way more fonts out there than “Comic Sans” and “Papyrus”.
Some of the biggest design mistakes churches make is using two or three standard fonts that look “different” but are overused and look poorly designed. Don’t use the “Comic Sans” font as much as you want to, not even for your children’s ministry.
4. Excellence shows you care about what you’re doing.
What do you do with things that you really care about? You spend a lot of time on it wanting it to be the best it could be. If I really wanted to see what someone valued, I’d see where they spend their time. Some guys have old antique cars that they spent lots of money and time on fixing them up, washing and waxing on the weekends, and accessorizing. Some spend time on their lawns. Some invest in knitting or sewing. You name it. People spend time on their things. So, how come when it comes to church graphics, people just want to get by? I’ve never understood that. Excellence, for the sake of excellence, can be vanity and/or legalism. But, excellence for the sake of value, can help determine priorities.
Cheap or Free Resources Your Church Should Invest In
If you’re looking for places to look to start improving your church graphics, here are several that have been helpful.
1. Creation Swap
Since the writing of this blog post, Creation Swap gives you three free downloads a month. There is also paid tiers and a membership tier. And if you use this service a lot, it may be beneficial to invest in one of the paid tiers. There are logos, print graphics, online graphics, sermon series graphics, slides, and much more. You can use some of the graphics outright or use photos as a “starting point” for another project.
Photoshop is pretty much the premiere, industry-standard tool to use for designing great graphics. It started out as a way to edit photography, and it’s still a great resource for that. The only thing is that Photoshop is pretty expensive for the most recent version. However, you can get Creative Suite 2, a much older version but still useful for free.
This is a fairly new service, but it’s one that is really easy to create beautiful graphics and can be used for a wide variety of uses. You can use it for blog posts, social media graphics, or sermon series. There are free photos on here, as well as paid photos. However, they’re only a $1 which isn’t much to pay at all for something that has high design value.
If you’re not using any of the images for commercial purposes, you can use all these images for other design projects. I will often use the images from this website for background on Canva or on Photoshop. Since they’re all free, it keeps the cost low.
5. 99 Designs
This is a crowdsourcing platform. You upload your design project, and designers will compete to provide for you an awesome logo. As you rate and review the logos, designers keep changing and making their designs better until you feel good about a logo. You pick a winner if you’ve found a logo you like, and the designer is paid at the end of the competition. You can get a great logo for only $299.
6. WordPress Themes
If you want a decent website, invest in a great WordPress theme for $50 – $100 and self-host your website. Tough Church Planting is hosted on Bluehost which has been a good and reliable provider. If you’re interested, you can sign up here on our affiliate link and get hosting for only $3.95 a month. If you decide to use this link, part of your purchase goes to help Tough Church Planting as well.
The point of all of this is that there are many ways you can improve your church graphics. Instead of making excuses because you feel it’s unimportant, realize the value in the graphics your church makes public. You’re making a statement with what you put out there whether you mean to or not.