One piece of advice I frequently give church communicators when creating their materials is to always keep in mind their specific church, location, audience. Templates can be useful, and this also includes the templates I create for you, but no matter what the design, if it does fit for your people, either modify it or use something else.
I know my templates won't fit for every church and though I try to do things in a variety of styles, for some churches I'll totally miss the mark. For others, they will be exactly what they need.
With the strategy of always designing your communications with YOUR audience in mind as background, on one of the church communication groups, I'm part of had one of the BEST examples of designing with a particular audience inside that I've ever seen and I wanted to share it with you.
Without further babbling on my part, here it is:
The question to the group was to share an example of church advertising. Here is one reply:
Michael Tuszynski Here in Utah, there's a church that runs roadside billboards (yes, they still work if they are done right). The two ads simply read:
"church with coffee?" - picture of someone with a coffee
"church without a tie?" - someone in a dress shirt, sans tie
For context, in Utah the dominant religion is Mormonism. They don't drink coffee, and they wear ties to their services every Sunday.
Both of the ads do SUPER well for that church and it doesn't say much of anything. However, because of its simplicity, it was brilliant.
It was brilliant because it cut to the heart of issues near and dear to its intended audience.
The challenge to all of us
What is it that we can do that will speak to the HEART of our audience?
The deeper question, of course, is how well do we know our audience? If we want to invite or minister to a particular group of people, how well do we know them, their needs, fears, wants?
What style will appeal to them or repulse them? What media channels do they frequent?
Before you answer, be sure you aren't simply designing in a style or in media channels YOU feel most comfortable using.
It might be a little uncomfortable to be honest in your outreach. We might think the above example is brilliant, but I imagine it was somewhat scary to put that out there the first time.
Brainstorm, pray, ask someone in the group you want to reach how they react to your creations.
If you come up with something unique to a particular group, please share it with us. Send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.