Just take a look around. High quality graphics are everywhere. They’re on our phones, on our TV’s, found throughout our favorite websites. Schools, organizations, even neighborhood associations have stepped up their game and produce high quality communication tools.
Gone are the days when a free piece of clip-art will suffice. Or a grainy image printed on the cover of your bulletin.
The Church should be no exception.
When we settle for sub-par church graphics in our bulletins, mailers, sermon graphics, flyers, slideshows, and any other communications avenue, we communicate a not-so-wanted message: we’re okay with sub-par work. That’s not the message we want visitors getting when they walk into our services.
So how can you up your graphics game without breaking the bank — especially if you serve in a smaller church that can’t hire someone on staff to do graphic design?
Here are a few resources to get better graphic design within your budget:
- CreationSwap.com – This site offers church media shared or sold by thousands of Christian artists. They offer a large number of free graphic files, many of which are editable to your specific need. Their paid files are fairly priced, and many offer customization services. This was my to-go site when I worked in church communications! Visit their site
- Creative Commons – Here you can search a number of images online that offer a free to use, modify, and edit license, the only catch being you need to cite the image creator. This site works well for images on your website or blog. Visit their site
- Elance.com – This site allows you to post your graphic project, set a budget, and receive bids from graphic designers all over the world. It’s a great tool for a church with a small budget to find a graphic designer who can do their project within the budget. Visit their site
Here are a few extra tips to up your graphics game:
- Get your bulletin shell preprinted. Contract a graphic designer to layout a shell for your bulletin and have 500-1000 printed up (depending on your use). If you make sure they are printed on uncoated paper, you can print the portions that change on the inkjet printer in your office. It’s a great way to have a nice looking bulletin that doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg.
- Find a volunteer. You might be surprised to find a graphic designer sitting in your services each week who hasn’t been fully engaged. Put a feeler out there for anyone interested in helping with graphic design. Who knows, you might just get some high-quality graphic design work for free.
- Offer a Graphic Design Internship. If you’re willing to do a little babysitting, consider opening a graphic design internship for current design students. Most internships are free (read – you don’t pay them!) and are overseen by a college professor. It’s a win-win for you and the student.
- Contract a graphic designer. Most graphic designers, especially those who are Christian, offer discounts to churches and non-profit organizations. I know I do. It’s a cheaper alternative to hiring someone, and allows you to have great graphics in all your communication avenues.
These resources and tips will help you take the graphics used in your church communication tools to the next level — and make you look better to visitors and regular attendees alike.
Don’t settle for clip art and fuzzy pictures stolen from Google. Up your graphics game today!