To communicate effectively, church leaders need to use precise, carefully chosen messages with accurate and complete details. Words are certainly a key component, but they’re just part of the equation.
For communications that are guaranteed to inform, inspire, and invite readers, it’s important to include relevant, attention-grabbing artwork such as clip art, photos and other graphic elements.
Here are five important ways visuals add a “wow” factor to materials, from newsletters and bulletins to flyers and websites:
1. Artwork attracts—and holds—readers’ attention.
These days, people are bombarded nonstop by media and messaging, so unless your communications spark interest, they might not get read. Thematic clip art, people-centered photos, and graphics such as frames and borders engage readers and pull them into the text.
Once your audience is “hooked,” artwork guides their eyes. Directional artwork and even photos of faces “point” readers to important material and from page to page.
Just remember: Balance is key. Designers recommend using one large graphic as a focal point and balancing it with a few smaller images. If imagery is overdone, readers might feel overwhelmed and not know where to begin. Templates for newsletters and bulletins can assist with this, as they provide recommended spaces for artwork.
2. Images convey themes and provide consistency.
For readers, a quick glance at artwork should reveal the topic of each article or communication. With the wide variety of images available through online services, now you can customize artwork—and often captions—to match each layout’s subject and tone.
Thematic artwork that appears throughout a publication also ties all the material together. Images such as the nameplate, decorative headers and footers, and special-section artwork keeps the overall look consistent from issue to issue, letting readers easily locate specific information.
Similarly, when you’re publicizing a big event (a church anniversary or a building campaign, for example), using related artwork on all the media materials adds unity to their appearance.
3. Visuals complement words and actually make reading easier.
Artwork isn’t merely eye candy; it plays a vital role in maintaining reader-friendly communications. Pages filled with only text appear daunting, while well-placed artwork offers visual relief by separating large chunks of text.
With simple techniques such as wrapping artwork around words and placing images across columns, you liven up layouts with depth, breathing room, and movement—and make reading enjoyable rather than a chore.
Visuals also can help readers digest and understand complex information and numerical data. A finance report, for example, seems less intimidating when infographics such as charts and graphs present main points in a visual manner.
4. Artwork adds a personal and seasonal touch.
Consider this: Why do communications geared toward a youth group or children’s ministry look different from materials designed for older audiences? You guessed it: Artwork is a huge factor! A quick search of an online art library results in images that accurately reflect your congregation and the personalities of its various ministries and groups.
Communications also vary from celebratory (an ordination bulletin for a new pastor) to somber (a funeral program), and image styles reflect a wide range of moods. Keep in mind that some materials you create become keepsakes for families, so high-quality artwork is essential.
Incorporating seasonal images into regular church communications keeps pages looking fresh and up to date. Attractive artwork also entices readers to clip and save important material, such as worship schedules and birthday lists.
5. Images encourage, connect, and inspire readers.
Church-related artwork doesn’t just look nice; it also proclaims God’s Word and encourages God’s people. Clip art, photos, bulletin covers, and presentation slides that contain Scripture verses or depict Bible stories serve as inspiration as well as teaching tools.
Logos and other customized artwork identify a particular church body and denomination, helping members feel connected and united.
Images also are ideal for creating cards you can send to members of the church and community. As an example of how artwork adds much-needed encouragement—and a smile—to someone’s day, click here to download a free set of Scripture cards from ChurchArt Online.
For more information and to find perfect church specific art, images, photos and more, visit www.ChurchArt.com and start your 14-day free trial today
Stephanie Martin is an editor for Communication Resources.