Friday, November 02, 2007
Monday, July 23, 2007
Friday, July 20, 2007
Friday, June 22, 2007
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Saturday, May 12, 2007
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Keen poster Mike Pittman from Tuggeranong has submitted the following handy information.
Easy Searching for Free "Stock Images":
In an earlier post I mentioned YotoPhoto and Stock Exchange, which both provide free, high resolution "Stock Images". But how would you like to search straight from your browser? Both Internet Explorer 7 and Firefox 2 have a search box in the top right corner, and now you can easily add stock image search plugins to that box.
- To add YotoPhoto - click on this link and then click on "I" to install the YotoPhoto search plugin.
- To add Stock Exchange - click this link and then click on "I" to install the Stock Exchange search plugin.
Now to search for Photos, you can just click on the arrow on the search bar, select the search plugin you wish to use, type in your search phrase and hit enter. Beautiful, isn't it?
A word about image licensing. Many images in these particular stock photo sites have no usage restrictions, but some do. Some images require permission (usually by email), some require attribution (a small note next to each image), and a few are more restricted.
I have set the two search plugins above to search for images that are in most cases 100% no strings attached. To do that, I have configured the YotoPhoto plugin not to find "Creative Commons" licensed images, because even though they're free they always require attribution, which I don't want on my publications. I have also configured the Stock Exchange plugin to use only "Unrestricted" images, which in many cases just means you need permission by email, but I don't want that hassle. If you want to search for all images, including some with slight restrictions, use this link for unrestricted YotoPhoto, or this link for unrestricted Stock.xchng. If you want to know more about licensing, you can find details on either website.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Really Bad Powerpoint:
Recent Aussie research says Powerpoint often overloads audiences with information and destroys communication. But the experts say don't ditch Powerpoint - just stop being so complex - something Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer (Microsoft CEO) both need to learn.
If you've been following Bill's lead, help is at hand. Seth Godin has written a very helpful article about curing "Really Bad Powerpoint". You can also read about good Powerpoint design on the Presentation Zen site, or Guy Kawasaki's "10/20/30 rule" on his blog.
The low-down is to keep it minimal - hardly any bullets, fewer slides, big images, big text (and not much of it), plus blank screens to refocus attention on your message. Because if it's all on the screen, you'll lose everyone, so why not save time and frustration and email the notes?
Styles To Imitate:
If you've got your L-plates on, why not try imitating some of the masters? Check out the visual simplicity of Steve Jobs, see his November 2006 keynote speech, or learn why Jobs is so persuasive. Another master presenter is Lawrence Lessig - his free culture presentation is 8.4Mb, but well worth a look. Others to imitate include prolific presenter Seth Godin or the absolute minimalist Takahashi method.
Look and Learn:
Saturday, April 14, 2007
Thursday, April 05, 2007
This is a search engine for images that taps into several other free image banks. All are high resolution. All are free to use, although some require permission and/or attribution (licensing information is available for each photo).
I've got a plugin for my Firefox browser that allows me to search this site without opening the page first (http://yotophoto.com/plugin). There is quite possibly one available for internet explorer, but I haven't got the motivation to look for it
Something else impressive that Yotophoto does is search by colour - see http://yotophoto.com/search-by-color
Many of these are taken on white backgrounds, meaning it is dead simple to remove the background.
Some other resources that may be useful;
http://www.designpacks.com/ - by Darren Hester - pixelperfect, designsbydarren etc.
Monday, April 02, 2007
Thursday, March 15, 2007
A few years ago, Corel was certainly offering the educational discount to churches; our church purchased through a company in Melbourne that specialised in academic retailing. I'll try to dig out the details.
Meanwhile, Rob Lamont's Ministry Blue site has links to a number of special offers, including the full Adobe Creative Suite for $580. It's certainly worth a look:
Discounted Software for Australian Based charities, not for profits , missions, ministry, church or youth organisations
"“Our audience are used to 21st century advertising - slick, professional, competent. They will hardly even glance at much of what we are offering. We need to chuck out the day-glo posters, meaningless jargon, hand-drawn lettering and naff jokes, and bring in professionally produced posters and witty lines.
“With churches facing declining attendance and struggling to make their message heard in an increasingly noisy world, it beggars belief that so many have a mend and make-do attitude to publicity,” says Creighton. “We have a life-changing message on offer, but we want to wrap it up in crass slogans.”
Creighton gives ‘cheesy’ examples of church slogans such as ‘Carpenter from Nazareth seeks joiners’, ‘Come-in for a faith lift’, ‘Seven days without prayer make one week’, and ‘Free Trip to Heaven. Details Inside!’."
Read the full article here: Christian Today – Christian News > Today's Churches Too Old Fashioned for 21st Century Audience, says Author
Monday, March 12, 2007
It would be great to hear from regular blog-readers on this. I'll start. First up, if you've got a tertiary student in the house, did you know that Office Ultimate (with Publisher 2007) is available for download for just $75? More details at www.itsnotcheating.com.au However, as Stu points out, Publisher is a layout program, not a bitmap editor. You really do need both. Stu, take a look through the blog and find the link for Photofiltre, a free bitmap editor that's much better than Microsoft Paint! And for my money, Corel Draw is certainly worth the learning curve. It's almost essential if you want semi-professional results.
Friday, March 02, 2007
Jesus: Fact or Fiction?
The Facts Behind the Death of Jesus
Jesus: Fact or Fiction?
So What if Jesus Rose from the Dead?
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Monday, February 05, 2007
After our orange and green Freshchurch advertising blitz, our Eatons Hill Church Plant launched on Sunday. The results were outstanding - the core group of 41 adults was amazed to be joined by another 22 adult visitors who had come along because they'd seen the ad campaign. Orange and green was a definite theme...
Here's the front and back of a mailer that Brisbane's MetroWest church is sending out to the Taringa community via Aust. Post. There will be one mailout each month for the rest of the year. Copy by Michael Bennett. Art by Martin Howard.
Michael, the interim pastor is preaching a series on the Sermon on the Mount. This flyer highlights the passage about not worrying.
Tools: InDesign, iMac, cartoon from iStockphoto.com
Fonts, Helvetica (Light and Condensed Black) and Aroma.
Saturday, February 03, 2007
Friday, February 02, 2007
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Our church plant launches next Sunday morning - so thanks to Rob Hanson at Photograve Pty Ltd, we're going to have some great new signs and banners. We're hoping they'll catch the eye. The fence banner (above) will be 2 metres long. A series of direction signs will lead to the carpark (below)
* More Inconvenient Truths
* Other Inconvenient Truths
* An Inconvenient God
The series will look at what the Bible says about topics like:
o Heaven & Hell (Judgement)
o At Least you have your Health (The Health myth)
o In the Last Days… (Terrorism and the state of the World)
o Angels & Demons (Satan and the Spiritual Realm)
o The Illusion of Freedom (Sovereignty of God)
Luke was looking for suggestions for titles for two more talks, on Tolerance and Sin. My suggestions are:
o Totalitarian Tolerance (Pluralism)
o I Did it My Way (Sin)
Inspired by Luke's idea, Bryson Smith suggested a series poster based on the movie. It could look something like this...
Thursday, January 25, 2007
CHURCH WEBSITE DESIGN TIPS
Your church site will be the first point of contact for many people in your community. First impressions count. It should therefore be at least as professional and attractive as your outside sign-board or newsletter. Extra
Do not place too much information on your homepage. It needs just sufficient graphics and text to explain at a glance who you are and what is available elsewhere on the site. The homepage should be a doorway, not a stopping point. It should not take the form of a welcome letter from the pastor – a website is not the same as a printed brochure.
And all important information should be ‘above the fold’. In other words, almost everything should be visible without needing to scroll. The homepage should not be much more than one screen in height.
Avoid ‘churchy’ graphics – open Bibles, stained glass windows, doves, candles. And appeals for money. These are off-putting to many non-Christians. There are even church sites out there using 1990s animated graphics: revolving golden crosses and doves with flapping wings.
Do not add automatically starting Midi hymn tunes or music files to your site either – these are very irritating. And finance, if it must be mentioned at all, should only be in areas clearly aimed at the members.
Use at least one graphic of a person’s face on the homepage. This tip is so important, it is in here twice! Churches are primarily about people, not buildings. A well-chosen picture can express far more than many words, and illuminate the meaning of your text.
A 3-column layout is often the most suitable for a church site. You can get ready-designed template coding for pages – already set up with headers, columns and footers to use in your own HTML editor. If you use the industry-standard Dreamweaver software for web design (and non-profits can buy this at a quarter of full price), it contains ready-made templates ideal for church sites. Do not skimp on design software, and read reviews before choosing. The alternative is a ready-made site – see #45.
Never use an introductory ‘splash page’. A ‘splash page’ is an introductory page containing nothing but a graphic (or even animated sequence) plus ‘click here to enter’ link. These are intensely irritating to users. Many people will leave the site, rather than clicking through. Splash pages can also reduce your ranking in search engines.
Every page should display the same overall appearance, with the same navigation options in the same place. Pages which lack consistent style will confuse users, who wonder if they have strayed onto a different site. A navigation menu should appear on all pages – don’t force people to go back through the homepage to find another page. Extra
All links, menu options and buttons should be clearly identified as ‘active’ – they should change color when hovered. Links and buttons, which do nothing when hovered, appear dead. People need these visual clues. Also think long and hard before introducing link styles that are not standard. A blue underlined link remains the ‘language’ that most people understand. (Don’t underline any text which is not a link – this is really confusing!)
Don’t use frames – a page design with code which enables one or more blocks of content to be scrolled independently – for site design. Although there are a few specialized situations where frames can be used effectively, a standard church website is not one of them. They have a range of disadvantages, which even expert design cannot overcome.
Learn how to use ‘include’ files – a great time-saver. If you have not yet discovered the time-saving benefits of site-wide ‘include’ files (where a single file generates headers, footers, menus, etc. within a page) now is the time. Do a Google search for ‘server side includes’. Also learn how to use CSS. CSS (Style Sheets) is another essential site-wide method of setting page appearance and structure with a single file – see the ‘Extra’ link. Time spent learning ‘includes’ and CSS will repay a webmaster many times over. Extra
Use colors correctly: understand how to choose a color scheme, how colors relate to each other, and what mood they communicate. Ask a graphic designer for advice. Most of us do not have an eye for color. Clashing or inappropriate colors will negate the message of your site, and drive visitors away. Extra
Don’t use patterned graphic backgrounds behind body text. With very few exceptions, black body text on a white (or near-white) plain background is best.
Consider a ‘liquid’ page design: the content should flow naturally and fit together, at any screen resolution (i.e. size of the monitor screen measured in pixels) or reasonable font resize by a user. This is arguably better than making a fixed-width 800-pixel-wide page design. (A majority of people now use 1024 x 760 anyway.) The Internet Evangelism Day site, for instance, is completely liquid, even down to the old 640 x 480 screen resolution. And don’t put ‘best viewed at resolution’ or ‘best viewed in browser Y’ on your website. This is irritating to people who use a different resolution or browser. It is your job to make their viewing experience a positive one, whatever screen resolution, browser, or operating system they use. Don’t put a visible ‘visitor counter’ on your pages either.
Your site need not be large or complex. If you do not have the gifts or staff to maintain a large site, it is OK just to have an attractive single page, or a handful of informative pages. A group of churches in a locality could even build a combined co-operative website.
Don’t leave out-of-date content online. Few things rob a site of credibility more than this.
Use several people to proof-read for typos and poor grammar. Mistakes also rob a site of credibility in the eyes of many people. Proof-reading is best done on paper printouts, not on-screen.
Make your pages printer-friendly. This can be done automatically, using a ‘print’ CSS style-sheet. This page uses a print style-sheet derived from alistapart.com – follow the ‘Extra’ link. Extra
Take time to assess your target audience, their interests, needs and circumstances. Understanding your audience is essential to any form of communication. Use our worksheet planner to help you build up a clear picture of your potential site visitors: click on the Extra link. Extra ]
Not least, pray – both for planning and implementation. A church site has the potential to touch many needy people. We need the Lord’s wisdom for initial planning and strategy, and for ongoing effectiveness. It is a ministry that needs prayer.