Friday, February 1, 2008

Worship Graphics

Don Chapman

As I've said many times, contemporary worship is >not< business as usual! Gone are the days of three hymns and a sermon. Today's worship leader must know a little bit about everything: pop music, praise bands, worship flow...

and design.

There's a bunch of bad PowerPoint out there. But you don't do art, you say? If you have enough creative energy in you to be involved with worship, you have enough creativity to maintain decent graphics. You might not be able to produce the graphics yourself (although I believe anyone can learn to create good, basic graphics) but you should at least be able to recognize graphics that >aren't< good.

More and more churches are combining worship with video and presentation software for wonderfully professional results that would have cost a fortune a few years ago.

However, I'm afraid the technology is getting ahead of us. We have the latest bells and whistles, yet with this incredible technology I've seen the most horrific cheesiness projected on some church screens!

Let's start with a few basics. Of all places, I ran into a nice, quick and concise art lesson at the US Post Office in the form of a pamphlet. They've put a copy online, take a look:

There are a few things here we can apply to church graphics.

1. One thing dominates the page (or screen.) Don't try to cram the entire song/sermon on one slide.

2. Minimize typeface variety. Don't mix and match 5 fonts just because you can. Stay away from weird type styles - you don't want your worship to resemble a used car commercial.

Choose one or two nice, readable fonts and stick with them throughout your service. Times Roman is bland - start with Helvetica, Arial or Verdana. Whenever you use a new font, try it out on the screen before worship. What looks good on your computer monitor might not look so hot enlarged.

3. Easy to read text. Tiny text is hard to read on screen. Centering lyrics is the trend, but in my Art 101 college class I learned that this tires the eye - lyrics should be "flush left" - like a newspaper column. See how hard it is to read the following. The eye has to search for the beginning of each line:

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

4. Use relevant illustrations. Avoid cartoonish, goofy clip art (unless you're preparing slides for a junior high lock- in!)

Take a look at your PowerPoint or overhead master for this coming week. What can you tweak that would make the presentation cleaner and more professional?

>Bottom Line: Avoid graphic cheese in church!

This article originally appeared in the 09.02.03 issue of Read an archive of past articles at the paid website

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