Everything from web pages to printed materials sends a message to an outsider about your church long before they may ever engage in the good news your church has to share.
Unfortunately, many churches can be guilty of having design that lacks in quality or is just outright awful. It can be easy to make the excuse that “I’m just not a designer.” Though times will arise where the best course of action is to hire a professional, in many instances, you can create beautiful designs by properly applying four key elements of design.
The first element of great design is a high-quality photo. A picture truly is worth a thousand words so a great image serves as the perfect foundation for a great design. But choosing the right photo can be easier said than done. If you or someone you know is a good photographer, you could take some good pictures to use for your designs, but the simplest way is to use stock photos.
There are countless stock photo sites and sources out there, and while some stock images can be pricey, you can find some affordable options. For example, we use and recommend Envato Elements which provides limitless access to stock photos and other media assets for a flat monthly or yearly subscription. Of course, you can find some free stock images as well from sources such as Google Images, but be careful. These free images are often available at a low resolution and are many times copyrighted meaning you can’t legally use them. Though you can occasionally find good options through an image search, its best to get your stock photos from a reliable source because just like anything in life, you get what you pay for.
The next element of great design has to do with your enhancements. An enhancement is any sort of elmente added to the design to improve the visual appeal of the design. Color filters, grunges, gradients, and vignettes are all great examples of design enhancements. The key to using enhancements the right way is to ensure they remain complimentary to the design. In most cases, an enhancement should be subtle and should not dominate the overall design. Keep your photo the focal point of your design and let the enhancements simply enhance.
The font you use in your design should always be easy on the eyes. If your text is hard to read, it will not be read. Your typeface will not only greatly affect the readability but will also be a determining factor in the overall style of the design. For example, a script font may communicate a more gentle or formal look where as a serif font will give a more classic look and feel. San serif fonts typically give off a more modern vibe and are often easy to read. And of course most fonts have different weight and style variations such as bold and italics that will also influence the overall look of the design, Use your creative liberty to choose the font that’s right for you, but always be sure it can be read with ease.
The goal of your design is to pass the glance test which simply means that the message of your design you be communicated even if someone looks at it for a split-second. Obviously your font style and the way its positioned with the other elements of your design play a big part in passing the glance test, but a huge contributing factor is the content of the message itself which leads us to the final element of good design – Simple Content Messaging
When it come to developing the written content for your design, remember that less is more. Your goal is be be as concise as possible. Say a lot with a little. There’s no need to come up with some profound statement or fancy wording. Use simplicity and clarity. Write something a kid could read and understand. You may be surprised at how difficult it can be to develop this easy-to-read content, but it’s worth the extra time and effort to make sure your messaging is clear and simple.
By properly applying these 4 elements, you can create beautiful designs and graphics for your church. And though design is the most dominant visual component of your church’s media, there is one more element of media that is even more compelling. In our next post, we’ll show you how to harness the power of video and continue to take your church’s media to the next level.
If you enjoyed this post, be sure to share it on Twitter or Facebook. You’ll also enjoy the Must Increase Podcast available on iTunes, Spotify, Google or wherever you listen to podcasts. If you have any thoughts or feedback about what we went over in this post, we’d love to hear from you in the comments section below. Thanks for reading and we’ll see you next time as we continue on our mission to increase His name through your church.