CHURCH GRAPHICS A
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ON HOW TO CREATE FREE AND AMAZING CHURCH GRAPHICS
Creating amazing, eye-catching church graphics for your ministry might seem like a simple task on the surface. After all, you’re just talking about a nice picture with a caption on it saying something like “For God so loved the world…” or “Our Easter Service Starts at 8:00 A.M.” right?
But in reality, when the rubber hits the road the simple task of creating graphics for your church can actually end up being quite a point of contention …for a number of different reasons.
Not so Simple, Is it?
The primary issues with creating church graphics & media revolve around two things: who will design and create them and how the images themselves will be made.
Even if you do have the skill set to create a good church graphics, though, one thing I’m almost certain you — or any church leader for that matter — lack is the enormous amount of free time that is required to build and then tweak images in Photoshop, InDesign, or Illustrator.
Don’t get me wrong. These systems are incredibly powerful and can be very useful for professional artists and designers. But for the rest of us, they’re cumbersome, time-consuming, and a little bit difficult to operate, even if you’ve used them before
…not to mention the fact that they are also SUPER expensive!
Another challenging factor, along with the complexity of trying to use those big wig graphic tools, is the fact that “the church” is a graphics-intensive industry. In other words, you need splashy church graphics for just about everything.
The Case Against Stock Graphics
Now, at this point, you might say, “What about the stock church graphic options that are out there?”
If I’m honest, sources for free church graphics are great! However, they often don’t fit or meet every specific need that you might have for your church.
For example, most of the stock graphic solutions available don’t provide multiple sizes, which tends to be one of the most important variables of them all.
At this point in the evolution of the online world, when you create a graphic, you’re going to want it to look great across every social media platform your church uses. From Pinterest to Facebook, Instagram to Twitter and beyond, each platform has its own unique specs for optimal image size. And that doesn’t even take into account your church website platforms or bulletin needs.
And, unfortunately, size issues are just the tip of the iceberg. When it comes to your average church graphic, it’s easy to fall victim to a case of analysis paralysis.
The reality with a simplistic solution like straight up stock graphics is that they’re great if you don’t need to change anything. But most of the time you’re going to find that it’s simply not easy to edit these kinds of church graphics to meet your specific needs.
What To Do Then…?
When you take everything into consideration, it can be easy to look at the laundry list of various graphics required on the one side and the inherent difficulties involved in finding quality church graphics on the other and simply throw your hands up in despair.
But I’m here to say don’t despair! There’s a solution to the madness, and it’s easier than you might think.
The world has changed a lot over the last few years — including designing graphics for your church — and that change has definitely been for the better.
Numerous free (or nearly free) tools have become available that facilitate the creation of compelling, trendy graphics in no time at all. …and for those of you who glaze over at the thought of your natural inability to be artistic, many of these tools also provide templates that make it very easy to find current photos, trending fonts, and stylish color schemes to help pull each one together.
What we wanted to do with this post is to remove as much of the burden as possible when it comes to creating amazing graphics. If you follow the three steps outlined in detail below, you’ll never need to worry about where your graphics are coming from again.
The next time you need to communicate what’s going on inside of your ministry, you’ll have a quick and easy solution to spread the word in a visual medium that will keep your church both contemporary and visible in the increasingly busy online world.
Ready to learn some Church Graphic and media basics? Here we go …
Step 1: Find A Great Image
Have you ever heard the saying that “a picture’s worth a thousand words?” It’s the perfect way to sum up the inherent power of an image.
Finding a fantastic picture to help communicate what you’re trying to share is a critical piece of the puzzle, and it’s where everything starts. The good news is, there are a ton of stock photography sites out there, and I’m going to share with you fifty or so of them. These are some of the best free (or nearly so) options available.
With this list handy, you should never have to dump cash into sourcing the images for church graphics again. Whatever you’re looking for — whether it’s a sermon banner, social content, events banner, or ministry advertisement —
all you need to do is pick one of these sites, and you should be able to find an amazing image that suits your needs in no time.
A Quick Word of Warning
Before we dive into the list, I do want to add one quick word of warning in here. While I’m not a lawyer (thank goodness) I do want to point out that there are a few different “versions” of stock photography out there.
For example, Royalty Free images can simply mean a one-time use payment, although even that can change from one place to the next.
Creative Commons, on the other hand, consists of a variety of different variations, with each one at least requiring that credit be given to the creator. Out of the different versions, the CC0 license is the only one that’s genuinely free to use.
Public Domain images are famously available to all and sundry, although even then it’s worth taking the time to make sure that there are no caveats or exceptions to the particular photo you’re looking to incorporate into your design.
The point I’m trying to make here is to do a little homework when sourcing images in order to make sure that you understand, at the least, if and when credit is due. On top of that, if a fee is included as well, you’re going to want to know that before the image makes its way into your church graphic plans!
Alright, without further ado, let’s take a look at some stock photo sites, shall we?
Church Graphics – Stock Photo Sites
Step 2: Find An Editor
Ok, now that you know you’re not going to have any trouble finding a good photo backdrop for your church graphics, the next step is finding a photo editor that works well for you.
As with the stock photos, there are certainly some paid options out there — options that we are all familiar with — but there are also a lot of really quality free options available too. That’s what we’re going to break down here.
While each of the eight photo editors below is good enough for anyone to use, the important thing here isn’t to look for the best content, as was the case in the first step. The focus this time around should be looking for a tool that works best for you. Which of these provides a user experience that is easiest for you to use? As with any craft, the more comfortable you are with your tools, the faster and better your work will be.
Step 3: Assembling Your Church Graphic
Once you’ve found a good source for stock photos and an editor that you can trust, the process of assembling a church graphic becomes quick and easy …and best of all, is still virtually free!
In this last step, I want to provide some basic information on how to pull together good church graphics. I’m not going to provide an actual formula to follow, though, as each platform functions a little bit differently and each graphic you need will likely have its own unique requirements.
As far as assembling church graphics, the basic steps (images) are typical as follows:
Whatever stock photos you use and whatever photo editor you utilize, there’s no doubt that it’s never been easier — or cheaper — to create free quality church graphics. From the user-experience that many of these online tools provide to the literally hundreds of thousands and even millions of free photos available, there really isn’t any excuse anymore to dump thousands of dollars into a ministry’s graphic creations.
What’s even better is the fact that the endless stream of templates makes quality church graphics easily within reach of even the most inexperienced users.
Simply put, there’s no reason not to make your own free church graphics these days. So what are you waiting for? With a list of church media resources like this, all you need to do is pick a stock photo source, select your favorite editor, and start pulling together an image for that next sermon series!
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