There are a lot of tools you can use to design sermon graphics. Software like Powerpoint, Canva, Affinity, Photoshop and Illustrator can help you put together a great design for your series. Some of the tools I mentioned are robust and have a higher price tag, while others are lightweight but still useful, because they get the job done well and quickly.
Instead of focusing on the physical tools we use to design, I’d like to share my approach to designing sermon graphics. It doesn’t matter what tools you use to execute the design, (you could literally use crayola markers) when you have a process that works, the end result will be a good design that reflects the purpose of the series.
Believe it or not, the most important part of designing sermon series graphics is the part that happens before getting out your sketchpad.
1. Set up a meeting and make it intentional
The first step in my process is to make an appointment with my pastor. I’ve worked with a lot of pastors over the years and they are busy and sometimes scattered! Every pastor is, of course, different but I have found that having this conversation at team meetings or in passing results in very little information and having to go back several times to ask questions. In contrast, when we set up a time to meet, it’s intentional and we are focused on the series.
Your pastor will, most likely, appreciate the chance to talk about what they are spending precious time working on and they may even come away from the conversation with new ideas. The hope is that, over time, these meetings become a regular and creative part of the process for you both.
2. Ask the right questions
When I first started designing sermon graphics I would ask what the name of the series was, when it started and what he (the pastor) wanted it to look like. The answers I got were… the series name, a specific date, and “I’m not sure, whatever you think.” This was a little frustrating because when I sat down to start designing I realized, I didn’t know where to start. I had asked the wrong questions! Sure, I got a few details, but nothing really helpful or inspiring.
So I dug a little deeper and started to think about what questions would give me what I needed to design for the series. I don’t always ask all of these questions and new questions might come up as a follow up idea. It can be a fun brainstorming session if you think of it that way!
Feel free to add, subtract and modify to your heart’s desire. These are simply a guide! Be open to letting your pastor inspire you!
Questions for the pastor
- Series name & date/duration. Would you like any additional graphics besides slides? i.e. printed materials, webpage, emails
- Is the series dedicated to a specific audience? i.e. mothers, fathers, parents, teens
- What led you to speak on this subject/book of the Bible?
- What is striking you the most as you work on this series?
- Where in the Bible will we be spending the most time?
- Are there key verses for this series?
- What are the major points you would like to cover?
- Why will people be drawn to this series? i.e. pain points/struggles you will be teaching to
- What are some ways you see our church family applying this teaching to their lives?
- If people only remember or apply one concept from this series, what would you hope it to be?
3. Put yourself in their shoes
Knowing your church family is just as important to designing a sermon graphic as knowing about the series. Imagine yourself as the visual go-between your Pastor’s message and the church family, including potential visitors. Understanding who will be receiving the message will determine how you present it. Check out the Branding for Church article for more on this.
You may already know a lot about your church people, but if not, these questions will get you started.
Describe your church family
- Average age
- Dress i.e., formal, casual
“This or that” exercise where you highlight the winning adjective to determine a general design style. Use the answers you’ve gathered as a guide.
+ Classic or Modern
+ Luxurious or Economical
+ Formal or Casual
+ Calm or Animated
+ Young or Mature
+ Raw or Refined
+ Playful or Serious
+ Simple or Ornate
This article will outline the next 6 steps in the design process. But I can’t stress enough that the conversations we just talked about are a vital part of the process.
Once you have at least some of these questions answered you’ll have a strong sense of the heart behind the series and the visual direction you want to take it in.