Let’s talk about worship graphic design...

After eight years of designing worship graphics, I’ve formed a few opinions, and they’re just that, opinions.  If you have different ones, that’s just fine.  

SPECIFIC or GENERIC?

As often as possible, I try to use some imagery that is related to the scriptures or the message of the day.  Sometimes the connection is vague, and the viewer has to think a little, but that's OK - it turns the image into a point of meditation.    

motion or stills?

There are some cool video loops with abstract shapes and flares and light effects out there that you can buy. If you’re good with After Effects, you can make your own.  My own opinion is that motion graphics work best in very large, auditorium or theater-type modern worship spaces, but in smaller spaces, or spaces with a more traditional or conservative feel, high-quality static/still graphics are a better fit.  

subtle or in-your-face?

Depends on what the worship service is trying to accomplish.  There may be times when the fire and passion of the message require in-your-face graphics - you’ll have to make that call as you work with your pastor and worship design team.  Most of the time, I like my graphics to be compelling and engaging enough that worshipers can use them as a point of meditation during the worship service if they wish, but not so flashy that they attract undue attention to themselves when the real message is coming from the pastor.  I see our role as visual support, not eye-candy.   

subject matter

 I like to use common images that we can relate to as we contemplate our place in God’s creation.  I like images that encourage people to wonder or ponder a little bit in a way that will enhance the pastor’s message.  As you look through the library of Graphic Sets, you won't find many overtly religious images, but if you look closely, I think you'll see God's presence in the subject, the situation, or the light.  

YOUR MUSIC TITLE SCREENS

One of the images in your Graphic Set is a music title screen.  This is how I use them: as the organist or music leader begins to play the song's introductory measures, I use this screen with a text overlay of the hymnal page number or the song title so that the congregation can prepare themselves to sing along.  I wait until the appropriate moment to actually show them the first lyric screen (keeps that guy in the balcony from starting to sing too soon).

 Your text-blank screens

In your Graphic Sets you'll have an image that is mostly blank, which will lend itself to the placement of text such as scripture passages, prayers, hymn lyrics, etc.  It isn't the most exciting of the images in your Graphic Set, but it might be the most important.  Your congregation will be using the words you put on the screen to help them participate in worship.  Not everyone sees very well, and patterned or motion backgrounds can be confusing to the eye.  Choose a font that is straight-forward and easy to read, and if you want people to see well enough to sing or speak, make it BIG.  Choose a color that contrasts with the background: for visibility's sake, it is hard to beat black on white, or white on black.