I’ve been using Adobe products for almost 14 years. During that time, I’ve learned a lot about how not to design. In this post, I’m going to cover the top five design mistakes that I see in ministry. Simply not doing these things will make you a better designer and help you represent your church more professionally.
1. Fonts, fonts, fonts
Font choice is VERY important. A lot of people want something that is snazzy, but they don’t realize that it also makes them look like an amateur. You can spice things up a bit, but whatever you do, stay away from these three fonts: Curlz, Papyrus, and Comic Sans. These fonts are the love of many but are universally
hated loathed in the design world. I would also limit your font selection to less than three per design. Here is a good resource for free fonts.
2. Clipart is dead
Clipart died in the late 90′s but for whatever reason, some people believe that it still best represents their topic. I promise you…it doesn’t! If you can’t find a real picture to represent your idea then don’t use a picture. Clipart makes anyone look like they have no design smarts at all. Also, consider using your *real* picture as a background image slightly faded out or insert it with a small white frame.
3. Go easy on the effects
I remember the first time I found the effects menu in Photoshop. I went wild! My thinking was that the more effects I added the more professional my design looked. When I started to submit my designs for critique, I was slammed by more experienced designers. They verbally beat the extra effects out of me. Keep it simple. Use a nice drop shadow if you must. Remember the direction of light in your picture. Only choose 1-2 effects and make it simple. You want people to see your design–not your effects.
4. Create whitespace
Sometimes we feel like we must use up every inch of the paper. This is true especially if you are paying a company to print your material. I always wanted to get my money’s worth out of whatever I was paying to be printed. The only catch is that sometimes if you don’t create enough whitespace, people won’t read what you’ve designed. Whitespace allows people to focus on the main issues and helps them be able to read for longer amounts of time. *Whitespace doesn’t have to be white. Just leave some space on your design.
5. Simpler IS better
Compelling designs are usually the simplest. One of the reasons why I love Apple products is because they are designed with simplicity in mind. Your designs need to be thought about the same way. It’s ok to leave space. It’s ok to have one compelling idea. Less is more. Less will actually make you look more experienced than you might be.
- Youth Ministry Resource: 6 Free Fonts for designs (youthmin.org)
- New Design Resources (everythingpastor.com)