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Author: Sheri Felipe

3 Reasons Your Church Needs a Style Guide

The first time I worked at a church, I had no idea what I was getting into. I was leaving a job in corporate communications where everything a graphic designer needed to know was laid out clearly from day one. I was told what fonts to use, what two colors the logo could be, where to purchase stock photos, and a list of other guidelines to keep the brand consistent. But at the church, it was totally different. I was the first graphic designer they had ever hired. And the only guidelines for design that existed lived in the...

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Applying the Power of “the Sell” to Design

Marketing and selling are dirty words in the church. Many people associate these concepts with sleazy sales tactics, junk mail, and email spam. But the truth is, marketing is necessary—even for churches. And when done well, marketing is ethical and effective. No product, service or church is so good that it can sell itself. We need to rely on traditional marketing practices to inform people about weekend services, ministry events, and even to tell stories. As a graphic designer, when it comes to creating pieces for the church, we are often caught in the middle between the anti-marketing people—those in the church who are requesting the design—and the people on the receiving...

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Surviving Last Minute Changes

Looking back on my early years as a designer, I suppose I had it pretty good. I worked for an insurance company, and while there wasn’t a lot of creativity involved, I was never rushed on a design project. I’d heard of other designers pulling their hair out with the rumored “last-minute” design changes. But because I had never experienced it, I thought it was a rare situation. Then I started working for my church. The first time it happened, I thought, “I’m sure this is not normal.” And then it happened again. And again. Pretty soon, it seemed...

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Fundamentals of UX in Church Web Design

UX Design has been a buzzword recently. A lot of people are throwing around this word, but most people don’t understand what it is, or even what the letters “UX” stand for. Applying the principles of User Experience design, or UX for short, can have great benefits for church web design though. Let’s start with a quick overview. What is User Experience? User Experience (UX) encompasses everything that affects a user’s interaction with a website. For your church website, it’s the total experience that someone has while interacting with your site and how they feel about it. This shouldn’t...

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The Trojan Horse of Freedom

When it comes to creativity and limitations, I think we have it all wrong. As a designer, if you were to ask me how I prefer to work—with no restrictions or within a tight set of guidelines—my natural reaction would be to say, “Give me freedom!” But practically speaking, that’s probably the worst way to work on a project. If I have no starting point, no timeline, and no framework to work within, I’ll stare at a blank page with a thousand possibilities floating in my head. For hours. Or days. When we fight restrictions we make our job...

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The End Result

I saw an ad recently that caught my attention. I watched it several times while I was streaming a TV show on Hulu and thought it was pretty amusing. The commercial was so entertaining that, of course, I wanted to share it with some friends a few days later. Except there was one problem—I couldn’t remember who or what the ad was for. I headed to YouTube and started typing in some keywords of things I recalled from the ad and within a minute or so I found it. As I watched it through to the end and the...

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Human Nature and the Web

At this year’s Global Leadership Summit, Willow Creek Church’s senior pastor Bill Hybels said something that made me stop mid-tweet and look up. He said, “The more I utilize social media, the hungrier I get for true community.” He followed that by saying, “Social media provides the illusion of true community.” Did he really just say that? In a room full of bloggers and tweeters? I looked around the room where I was watching the simulcast and saw a room evenly split between people nodding their heads in agreement, and the rest, phones and computers in hand, who had...

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Choosing Simplicity

I’d like to think I’m not a church newbie. Although I didn’t grow up in the church, I’ve been pretty involved in several local churches over the past eight years. I know most of the churchy lingo and am sometimes guilty of using it myself – guilty of foregoing simplicity for Christianese. So I was surprised when during a recent church visit, I found myself totally clueless after one of the stage announcements for an upcoming class the church was holding. It was a brief announcement and the call to action was clear, but the description of the class...

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Shrinking Your Web Footprint

What’s the current state of your church’s online presence? Is your strategy executed like a well-oiled machine that you rarely think about? Or rather, does the thought of it cause you to break out in a cold sweat? I’m going to guess that at the very least, thinking about your church’s web presence causes your blood pressure to rise a few points, especially if you have a hand in managing it. Why is that? Well, if you’re like many churches, you can’t even begin to count how many different websites, blogs, Twitter accounts, and Facebook pages belong to your...

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What Your Community Wants to Read

Social mediums like Twitter and Facebook have been around for a while, but many churches are still struggling with how to use them well. There may be a few churches who excel in this area, but most have yet to really engage online with their congregation and community in a meaningful way. The purpose of most church communication, at its most basic level, is to get the word out. But social media like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and even blogs are different. Of course they are great for promotion, but they are best used to connect people and facilitate conversation. If...

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Myth: Communication is Easy

Communication in the church has come a long way in the last couple thousand years. But it has never been is easy. If you’ve been involved in the church for even a short time, you’ve likely experienced at least one of these situations: Your church had an event and very few people showed up – despite your major promotional campaign. The missions pastor also serves as the communications director. He also fills the role of small groups pastor too. The eager volunteer who’s had a Twitter account for 5 days has been asked to oversee all social media for your...

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