Creating church graphic designs for social media, posters, flyers, or advertisement for churches is always challenging yet very fulfilling. In my lengthy exposure with media, I realized that graphic art for churches and ministries requires a more mature, sober yet relevant, and inquisitive approach.
#1 – The Message
Start with the message: what do you want to convey? Everything is based on the word you need to get across to the consciousness of others. Make sure that the message cuts clear amidst the design, the theme, and everything else.
#2 – The Inspiration
Since words and information are not enough, there is a need to inspire. The graphic artist needs to sense how the message will tug at the viewer’s heart and spirit. The artist needs to ask: is the message more effectively communicated with an image, a testimony, graphic design, or text (typography)? What angle or method will evoke an emotional response, experiential, and spiritual connection? Where do we get inspiration? We all have our own human experiences, a song, a poem, a testimony, an image that rouses sadness, joy, indignation, or a cherished memory.
Among my favorite sources of inspiration for graphic design projects are Pinterest, YouTube, and the covers of music CDs and movie DVDs. There’s actually a compilation of these covers on the web. I’m also a frequent researcher of song lyrics and artist trivia. I sometimes quote secular songs for a media post.
#3 – Content That Compels
Bring your audience imaginative ideas that induce positive outcomes. I consulted DCGWS Internet Solutions Executive Director David Davis and Lead Designer Randel Castillo. They explain the difference of substance with style:
Content is important. It causes us to move, to act. Style makes us delighted and relaxed while taking that action. Both are equally important and they must complement each other.”
Other style resource sites that have helped me to get fresh ideas and concepts for more than a decade has been Stock Layout, Freepik, ShutterStock, iStock, and Dreamstime. Recently I’ve tried on placeit.net. I also visit my fellow contributors’ products at Red Bubble.
#4 – Honed by the Word
If a graphic art project is for a church or a ministry, it needs to be Scripturally-truthful, Bible-based and also historically accurate. No matter how fantastic or far away the theme and idea is, it needs to be anchored in Scripture. It’s not enough for the artist to be a Bible reader, his Scripture knowledge should be of teacher-level because in essence that is what he will be doing graphically.
For this, I usually use a widely-known song and I feature its lyrics, the singer, or the way it was used in film or television to amplify a specific Bible verse and vice versa. Two aims are accomplished here: the Bible is made current and contemporary to make it relevant again in our modern culture. It also teaches music enthusiasts and the singers to regard their songs in a spiritual and biblical context.
#5 – Appropriate App
In choosing your tools, pick the software you are adept in or comfortable with even without formal training. For instance, I was using Adobe Photoshop more than a decade before I trained in the basics in technical skills school. Technical training helped me level-up my output and shorten my turnaround time.
Before I buy new software, I try to discover its flexibility through the use of free demos. Further research includes discovering the resources available on the web for this software like templates, support groups, and free downloadable content either from the vendor or other party groups.
There are tons of free resources on the web that you can use without infringing on copyright. There’s even a site for public domain clip arts and images. A very helpful site I recently learned is paletton.com for advice on the right colors to use. This is very helpful both for my graphics projects–and my wardrobe.
Depending on the level of detail and use of the graphics project, I choose between Photoshop and MS Publisher. While Photoshop provides immense customization and resources support, Microsoft Office Publisher’s navigation and simplicity makes graphic design output quick and convenient.
#6 – Evaluate
Graphic design is an unending cycle of conceptualization, creation, and evaluation, all for the very purpose of learning to make future projects more effective and efficient.
Social media allows a very useful way of evaluating a project’s impact. The evaluation of its effectiveness is built into the post itself – the number of likes, comments, virality (viral ability), epicness (depth and extent of the appeal, etc).
For other forms of promotion like flyers, brochures, newsletters, and posters, these can be measured by the target viewers’ response like how many wrote back to an email, called, or sent a text message to respond to a contact number embedded in the print promotional. Other measurable factors can include perceivable changes in the target market’s behavior, attitude, and action (for example, was there any change in church attendance, amount of giving or donations, etc.).
#7 – Live the Life of the Artist
A truly talented and committed graphic artist is not a once-off hireling. As being a believer is forever, so is his calling and ministry. Since this a service dedicated to the Lord that the artist chose and was equipped with, he might as well live it out completely as one.
If you believe you are an artist called by the Lord, you need to always be in tune with God’s message to you and your organization, and be sensitive on how your environment, your circumstances, and people around you are inspiring you.
Catch creativity in culture, nature, and within you to share this with your viewers and readers. Hone your knowledge of Scripture so that God’s Word flows automatically from your line of thought, speech, action, and through artistic projection. Make use of apps and software to adapt and adjust your work and finally, educate and elevate excellently in every project by evaluating your output and the tools that you use.
I conclude this list with a kind rebuke from a fine arts graduate from the University of the Philippines who through her art, has found both artistic fulfillment and spiritual life purpose. She is Arlene Villaver and she has been painting for 33 years and considers art as a tool for serving the Lord:
Visual art is a powerful language that I believe needs to be handled responsibly.”