Tuesday, October 31, 2006

CreateMinistry - from FEVA

Create_Ministry: "Today’s world is a world of mass communication. We know everything about everyone, and companies and organizations know everything about us. Despite this, it seems that the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ has slipped off the radar. Create is a ministry that aims to put Christ back on the world agenda through the very modes of communication that clutter and shape our Christless world."
Make sure you take a look at the gallery link. Here's a sample:

You give me FEVA

FEVA - or, the "Fellowship for Evangelism in the Visual Arts" is an independent and interdenominational missionary organisation started in 1992 to bring the gospel to the world of the Visual Arts. This ranges from the obvious such as painting, sculpture, printmaking through to such things as film, advertising and even the field of architecture where FEVA runs a ministry to working architects called 'Christians By Design' (CBD). Since July FEVA has been designing posters for Outreach Posters, the ministry that puts posters in boxes out front of churches around Australia. Here's an example:

More Bulletin Makeovers

Bryson Smith, from Dubbo Presbyterian Church, says: "I've bounced the site to a few people... I really enjoy it. Sarah's bulletin makeover made me think of our poor old tired bulletin which has been unchanged for many years. So I played with a couple of things and here's my before and after shots.

I tried to give a better line of sight for the page and increase the amount of white. I streamlined the fonts I used even further plus I wanted to make the "verse of the day" more the centre piece of the page (so as to show that the bible is at the heart of what we're on about.)

I think it can still be improved a lot and so (if it's not too embarrassingly poor) if you'd like to post it and get comments that might be fun. Some of my limitations though are that we have a very average copier and so any cool grey scale/ colour graphics just lose all effect."

As Bryson says, comments are welcome. I'll start with a couple. I like the re-working of the 'early church' banner with the contrasting fonts - due to the font contrast, you can actually run the two words together without a space, as in 'earlychurch' - and it may look better. The space interrupts the kick you get out of the contrast between the fonts. Regarding the font contrast, I'm assuming you've used Helvetica Neue black and light as the contrasting pair? I wonder if you'd be better off toning it down just a little; the black version of the font has distinctly different letter shapes to the light; is there a weight that keeps the same roundness in the characters, while still offering a strong contrast?

Monday, October 30, 2006

Rebadging a Ministry Training College

What if... we wanted to re-badge the Consortium of Reformed Colleges? It's hypothetical for now, but the CRC is a prime candidate for a new name that's a little clearer, but still maintains the sort of dignity and tradition that makes colleges like Sydney's Moore and SMBC so appealing.

Let's start with a college crest. I borrowed the burning bush, cross and stars directly from the traditional Presbyterian Crest. (The bush, by the way, is a beautiful piece of design from a past era. It still looks great!)

Then, why not simplify the name from "Consortium of Reformed Colleges" to "Queensland Theological College", or QTC. Here are some early results:

In an attempt to add just a little bit of interest to the abbreviated version, I've extended the understroke on the Q to bring it almost across to the T. I guess it would be wise to do the same thing on the full-text version. As usual, comments are welcome.

A NOTE TO THOSE COMMENTING ON COLOURS: Please ignore the background colour, the gold-embossed rendering etc. These are just examples; the logo will appear in many different situations. I should have just shown it as a black image on white, but that's not nearly as much fun to look at.

A Banner for ChristChurch

Martin Howard has been working on some brand identity material for Christ Church on Queensland's Goldcoast, for pastor Alan Radloff. Here's an advertising banner:

Saturday, October 21, 2006

More Freshness...

A draft poster for the Freshchurch launch campaign. Does the black background work for you? Does it need to follow the orange on white theme of the previous post?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Another useful website - Before & After

Before & After magazine has been sharing its practical approach to graphic design since 1990. Dedicated to making graphic design understandable, useful and even fun for everyone, B&A specialises in makeovers. There's a pile of free stuff, but it's worth subscribing for the beautifully designed monthly features in pdf format. The cost: $US24 for 12 months.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Trying to do something Fresh...

With the launch of our fresh new church at Eatons Hill, we want to make a splash. How about a citrus theme to pick up on the idea of freshness? We've grabbed the www.freshchurch.net web domain name, and we're ready for business. Here's our (tentative) opening move... maybe we'll follow up with postcards, and handing out fresh oranges at the local shopping complex?

Friday, October 13, 2006

Sweating the Small Stuff

Here at Mitchelton Presbyterian Church we really know how to put first things first. What's the first thing you do when you're planting a new church? Choose some fonts... of course. (Bet they didn't tell you THAT at church planting school.)
Actually, it's not the first thing we've done as we've set about planting Eatons Hill Presbyterian Church - we've recruited a core group, we've run trial services, we've chosen a venue. It's only now, as we start working on publicity, that we need to decide on a 'corporate style' that will identify our new congregation. So, here's the first contender. Today we invested $39 in buying Halvorsen and Halvorsen Extra Bold from the Australian Type Foundry. (That's a 50% discount. If you want to know how we got it, leave a comment and I'll tell you the story.)

We haven't totally committed to Halvorsen yet - but if we do, the overall effect will be something like this:

Please let us know what you think.

Free Image Editor for PC

Check out Photofiltre - it's a free bitmap editor for PC users, and after a quick look at the features, I'd have to say it's a brilliant reminder of the good ol' days of Paintshop Pro 4.0. Is it only me... or are paint programs just too complex these days? Half the time, I can't even fill an object in a colour without fussing around with mask tools that I don't quite understand. Photofiltre is quick, simple and responsive, and ideal for quick editing jobs. The price is right, too.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Brand Your Church?

Nathan Campbell recently attended a marketing seminar with the guy responsible for marketing Virgin Blue. Should you "brand" your church? And what's a "brand" anyway? In fact, maybe you're branded already? Check out his report:

Brands that sizzle
Branding is a new marketing buzzword. It’s a concept that’s moved from the cattle stock yards to the biggest players on the stock market. Developing an established brand identity is the holy grail of marketing. Once a product has a recognisable brand it essentially sells itself, but a brand can lose its lustre so you have to work hard to maintain your brand. But what is a brand? How do you create brand recognition - how do you make your brand stand out from the pack?

What is a brand?

A brand is not your logo. Your logo is only a small part of your image. Nobody buys a logo. People want the product behind the logo. Your brand is the emotional response people have to the presentation of your product. It’s the first thing that pops into someone’s head when confronted with your logo. In the 1980’s Nike’s brand was cool, desirable and a sign of prosperity – now, just 20 years on the Nike swoosh represents sweatshop exploitation, American imperialism and all that is bad about globalisation. Nike has lost its branding. Different audiences have different understandings of the brand. Your brand is not the label you use to describe yourself – it’s the label others use to describe you. Marketing your brand is the way to equalise those perceptions.

Brand Recognition
Brand recognition develops over time, and through the clear, repeated communication of the key elements of your brand/product to customers. Brand recognition won’t happen overnight, but it will happen. An effective slogan will catch in people’s minds (like the shampoo slogan I just quoted). Coca Cola’s theory on marketing their brand is that a potential customer needs to come into contact with their brand 8 times for every sale. The theory is that subconsciously if you register the coke brand 8 times in the one day you’ll need a coke. There are much cheaper ways of developing that brand identity.

Marketing Principles
“There’s only one rule in advertising – but nobody knows what it is” – Sean Cummins, Cummins&Partners

“I know half my advertising works, only I don’t know which half” – some company executive quoted by Sean Cummins

Advertising and marketing are imprecise sciences but there are general principles you can employ to make sure your brand is as effective as possible.

1. Find your point of difference. In a world where there are thousands of options that all look the same you need to find the thing that defines your product and separates you from the rest of the pack. Selling the same product as the people next door in the same way isn’t going to bring more people through your doors.

2. Say one thing really well. Once you’ve found your focus – stick to it. Trying to communicate multiple messages at once means you’ve got too many balls flying in the air. Communicate one message that you want everyone to understand about your brand. If you try to send out too many messages the ball (your message) becomes too hard for your target to catch.

3. Do something different – because we live in a culture dominated by advertising anyone with a brain can churn out an ad – look for a different way to communicate your message. Do something quirky, eye catching. Don’t be bogged down in generic marketing talk. Avoid clich├ęs like the plague. Don’t rely on icons to sell your product. The market is now looking for experiences rather than Kodak moments. Sell the experience of your product rather than the product itself.

4. Stay consistent. A brand is consistent. Consistency builds trust. Consistency demands action.

5. If you’re trying to figure out who your target audience is ask yourself “what sort of car is my product” – car companies spend millions of dollars on demographic research and know who to target their messages to. Look at the approach they take in their marketing and take those principles to your approach.

Sarah's Bulletin Makeover Tips

Sarah says, "I thought i'd have a go....

I've used what you've done on the bulletin makeover... and tweaked it a bit...

the way i've layed it out should actually help the eye travel across all the information, where as in the original there was no real path. I've also increased the white space."

Thanks Sarah. Great job!

Contact Sarah if you need help...

I just received an email from Sarah van Delden, who's helped out with lots of useful stuff over the past few years - like this brochure for the Consortium of Reformed Colleges. Sarah's starting a freelance design business, so if you're looking for a brochure design or a web site, give her a call. (She did a great job on the Year of Excellence Website at very short notice too.) Here's her email:

You're getting this email because you've probably already know that I do graphic design work and possible have done so for you in the past. I am writing to let you know that I'm now freelancing as a graphic designer full time and therefore am available for a wide range of one-off or even recurring design jobs!

Perhaps you have a small business, or are involved in a church but can't afford to get advertising material printed professionally let alone pay for a graphic designer to do the artwork! Well, that's where I can offer neat alternatives like affordable artworks that are in a format you can print yourself, either on your colour printer, or small runs can be printed at somewhere like office works! Have you ever considered the beauty of cheap photo printing these days? Did you know that a design on 6x4 matt/gloss photo paper is an impressive and affordable product!!

Why not check out my website www.sdesigns.com.au to see some of the work I've done in the past.

Of course, if its professionally printing quality you're after, I can offer the design of logos, business cards, letterheads, brochures, design templates etc.

Please contact me if you would like to talk through some options, or if you are in need of any graphic design work. Feel free to pass this attached flyer onto anyone you think would be interested.

Kindest Regards,
Sarah van Delden
m: 0421 393 103
e: sarah@sdesigns.com.au
w: www.sdesigns.com.au
ABN 78 079 445 445

Love Your Neighbourhood Campaign

We're playing with the idea of a "Love your Neighbourhood" theme for 2007 ... encouraging our church family to be local initiators of events like "Meet Your Street" and "Do Your Block"; street parties, acts of service like mowing a neighbours lawn, welcome packs for new residents. It's still taking shape, but here's a possible logo. I based it on a photo of a picket fence from dreamstime.com - simplified in Corel Draw. There's still plenty of time to work on it between now and the launch next January.

Why bother?

Cool cartoon that Garnet Swann emailed me today. Says it all.

Bulletin Makover - Where would you start?

Here's a partial makeover of the inside page of a church bulletin. It's not going to be rescued completely, but it's a start. First of all, notice the dodgy birthday cake. On the basis of the 'bad clipart rule', it has to go...

While we're at it, let's left-align the associated text. We'll change the positions of the two blocks of information, and put birthdays at the bottom so the new photo-object cake can hang underneath. (It's from dreamstime.com). I've changed fonts, and chosen to use Bell Gothic and Bell Gothic Black to give contrast. It's going to look better to left-align the title text as well; and of course, replace the fonts. Next will come the central text box... (Click images for a larger view.)

But what are we going to do with the box of oddly aligned text on the left? Should we left-align it? Or maybe right-align it to meet the same visual guide line holding the righthand column of text? Mmm. Suggestions welcome.

Finding a Font

"Can you tell me if there is an easy way to find this font?" asks Stuart Atkinson. "I have looked on dafonts, but could take years...."

At first glance, it looks like Gil Sans MT Extra Condensed Bold. Any other suggestions?

Monday, October 09, 2006

So many resources...

If you're looking for a great source of online resources, look no further than Blue Vertigo; it's a simple resource list with links to websites providing free or inexpensive photos, clipart, fonts, sounds, photoshop brushes - take a look at http://www.bluevertigo.com.ar/bluevertigo.htm

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Another Cardinal Rule - Avoid Religious Clipart

I've been thinking for a while about the cardinal rules for church-use graphic design. Eventually, I'll try to boil them down to "Ten Commandments for Graphic Design in Church" - or hopefully something more catchy. In the meantime, as I think of them, I'll add them to the blog. So here's a big one.

Whatever you do, DON'T use religious clip art. I know - it seems like a great idea. In the old days, you could buy it in printed form, to cut, paste and copy... catchy pics of cartoon characters saying "Praise the Lord," or praying hands, or candles. These days you can buy CD collections, or find loads of similar stuff on the web. Please, please... don't use it. All you'll end up doing is make your publications look like they're designed for a corny, cliched church.

In fact, the best thing to do if you're looking for images is to avoid clipart completely, and go for "photo-clips." Basically, a photo clip is an object cut from its original background and floating in white or transparent space. They look great in almost any context. You'll find the useful Hemera collection on CD in some retailers; though it appears they've been taken over online by the much more expensive Ablestock (sheeesh - who'd pay $199 for an image??) More affordable is the Dreamstime online collection - around $1.00 per image, though you'll have to look around to find "photo-clips." (They may be called 'photo-objects,' or simply be listed as having 'white background'.) Cheapest option of all is Google Images. You'll be sure to find something suitable for anything you can imagine... though often at very low resolution. If you're printing something small, you can get away with it - but take care. Using an overblown low-res jpg image you've sourced this way is certainly cheap. And looks it.

Again, avoid cliched images with religious subject matter. Try to illustrate with images drawn from everyday life. Connect people with the real world, rather than creating a sense of a religious 'club-culture.' Look at magazines, commercial flyers and TV adverts for inspiration. Instead of dumping your junk mail straight in the bin, study it for design ideas. Radical thought, eh?

Seven Deadly Sins - alternate design

Here's another version of the Seven Deadly Sins promotion designed for easy photocopying. It hasn't had much use compared to the colour version, but I think it's probably stronger and more memorable - because it's simpler.