Making Great Worship Graphics on the Cheap

I was having a conversation earlier this week with a colleague about the worship graphics we use at St. Paul’s for our contemporary worship series. As modern worship services become more and more visual driven, these images do a great dual role of promotion as well as centering folks around the key idea and theme. Not having them is beginning to be a non option and not having great looking ones is a no-no. I think it is really important to provide great graphics for your services. People are used to great images and it is actually pretty easy.

And it can be dirt cheap to make them.

Here are a few examples from the last few months at my church.

Go and Tell

 

Ears to Hear

 

be healed

Outlaw

All of these images were made in a few minutes with minimal (CHEAP) tools. I want to lead you step by step through what it takes to make one of these.

1. Begin to get a good idea of the style of image you want to make.
I always keep my mind open to what is popular right now in text driven advertising. Look around at various businesses and other companies promoting something to see something that might catch your eye. Lately I have been really big into old school typography and hand drawn lettering. I have gotten inspiration from wilderness collective and some websites in the motorcycle community (iron & air is a good one).

Spend some time around Pinterest (yes, a manly use for it) and you can find and catalog even more stuff.

This first step helps you to start developing your eye for what you want the finished project to look like.

2. Write your copy
Copy writing is your first creative step. Come up with a great word or two to describe the series and perhaps a brief tagline. If you want to get more information in as well make sure it is quick enough to be digested easily. Many of us are already doing this step as we plan for our sermons and advertise them in newsletters, bulletins or online.

3. Begin finding an image that suits the feel.
I use a few texture blogs to get some good backgrounds for some of my images. I recommend lostandtaken.com. It will get you started quickly.

But what I prefer to do even more is take images from around town or just some of my travels. No need to get a fancy camera, I use my iPhone for these 99% of the time. Just use one of the cool filter apps like Hipstamatic, Instagram, Mextures or anything else to get started.

Lately I have been using a new app called Blur on my iPhone. It takes an image and applies a pretty heavy blur across the whole image. It makes really cool colors that look great for a background. Here is a before and after.

photo(15)

dock edited

4. Put your text on the image.
I use my iPhone for this as well. Two apps do a great job, although there are several more. I recommend Over or Wordswag. I use Over because it has tons of in app purchases for hand drawn artwork but I have started using Wordswag a great deal because of it’s typography. Both apps use killer fonts from the Lost Type Foundry. Over’s instagram feed is also great for inspiration.

Hopefully this little tutorial will help you make quick and great looking graphics to theme your worship services. I have found any visual advertising to be really helpful in the local church and this method helps you get amazing images out there to the folks you are ministering with.

Recommended Books:
Nancy Duarte designed modern visual presentation. Invest a few dollars and pick up her books. They are well worth it. They helped me develop a new theology of preaching which involved GREAT visuals.
Resonate
Slide:ology
HBR Guide to Effective Presentations

  • Conner Byrd

    So will you use this image on a computer blown up on the big screen at church? I’m familiar with the process and always wished there was a way to make what I do on my iPhone accessible to the big screen. I figured it would distort and blur too much to be useful.

    • Conner-it has yet to happen, but I take images at the highest quality available. Sometimes it work better than others. If the lighting in the photo is good, I generally don’t have any problems.

  • I use a similar process for ours too. cc @connerbyrd:disqus . I really love using WordSwag’s iPhone app for words. It’s a little more robust than Over and it’s intuitive as far as where the text should be placed. And I have not noticed a problem when we project the image onto the screen as far as distorting it.

    • I have started to use wordswag in the last month or so. It is a great app that does more artistically than Over. It is part of my toolbox now. I need to update this post (it was from summer of 13) and add it into the mix.

  • Tony Johnson

    I have often used picmonkey.com for a lot of material. From sermon slides to marketing pieces…it allows me to use filters and fonts styles that I don’t have on other applications. Just one of many options out there.

  • Rev. Crum

    What about programs or apps you can use on a macbook? For me having to go to my phone or iPad seems like a hassle.

    • Alan-

      You can use photoshop (or even pages) for this…but it is seriously quicker to go iOS and the typography of these apps makes it much easier to change fonts (and not have to download them to a machine).

  • Skye McLain

    A site I recently found called canva.com is a great resource! I love picmonkey for a quick edit and also use the over app on my phone for adding words too. Great post chad!