Church Graphic Design Cliches

When designing graphics for churches, it’s so easy to fall into the trap of using those overused cliches we see everywhere.

For some reason, despite all the creative people you can find in the church, we manage to produce a lot of ordinary, uninspired graphics. It’s time to fix this.

Here I present to you a list of common church graphic design cliches, so you can avoid them for all eternity.

  • Happy stock people
    This is an issue that plagues the entire western world. When using photographs, try and take some of your own congregation. Or at least use those provided by your denomination. People can tell the difference.
  • People praying
    Prayer is powerful. Photos of clasped hands is overdone.
  • Doves
    Bonus points if it’s dove clipart. Bonus points if you have dove clipart in your logo.
  • Yellow text on blue backgrounds
    I get it – yellow and blue provides just the right amount of contrast. But it also seems like a throwback to PowerPoint presentations of the late 90s and early 2000s. The theory was that these colours showed up better on earlier projectors, and could also be less fatiguing to read for a long period. Trouble is, it doesn’t look that great visually and it says to people “I haven’t updated this design since 1999.”
  • Tahoma, Verdana, and Arial Bold
    All good, solid fonts. All overdone.
  • Awkward placement
    Who needs consistency and well though out placement when you can just slap some stuff together in Publisher?
  • Too many elements
    Why communicate your point with just one or two graphical element when you have thousands at your disposal? Google Images will be upset if you don’t download at least ten images to use in that brochure.
  • Genericism
    The pinnacle of all this is genericism (being generic). No doubt your local church, congregation, city or suburb has a very unique flavour and certain preferences. This should shine through through your design. You aren’t the same as that big church down the road, so don’t let your graphics look the same.

Why are these cliches? Because they have not only been overused, but also abused. Cliches like this have lost their impact. It’s time to stretch ourselves creatively and come up with something new to do to death.

If you’re stuck for design ideas and are at risk of falling back on these old faithful cliches, have a browse through some of the following websites to get some inspiration:

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I'm Anthony Eden, and I'm a broadcast technician / software developer / technology solutions engineer. I've been working in broadcast media since 2008 (getting my start in Community Radio while still at school), and developing software and websites for just as long. Right now, I work in the broadcast industry and provide some freelance services through Media Realm.

Follow Anthony on Twitter: @anthony_eden