Clean Slate – Samuel Markovich

17 Aug , 2015   Written By: The Team

We are busy people. A lot of us have regular jobs, taking college classes, and if you are on this website, chances are you are pretty involved with ministry as well. With so many things taking up and cramming our schedules, it can be easy for that busyness to bleed into, and affect other parts of our lives. However, this article is not about time management, it is not about balancing priorities, and it is not about being too busy (although we could write articles for days on those subtopics alone). This article is about the importance of keeping your designs clean and not crammed. It is about the visual appeal of open, not-so-busy compositions that will grab your audience’s attention.

There are a few key elements that you can simply keep in mind when designing your church graphics. These elements will help strip away the clutter and add a fresh look to all of your designs. Here’s element number one:

  1. The Font – This is probably the biggest element that many struggle with, but unfortunately also is usually the main culprit behind sabotaging a perfectly good design.
    • When designing, it is generally good practice to stick to one font (or typeface) per design. This sets the stage for clean composition. Every once in a while it is appropriate to use two fonts, one main font and then accent font, but you have to be careful and make that they work together.
    • You have to also pick the right font. I know many fonts look “Cool” and “Fun” but those fonts are usually the ones to stay away from. We want the design overall to be a looker, not just one individual part. It is good to pick a more of a plain font, one that you can work with that will blend with the design instead of sticking out like a sore thumb. If you are going to use a script (or cursive) typeface, make sure that it is going to be readable wherever it is going to be used. Sometimes what is easily readable on your computer screen is not so easy to read from 300 feet away in an auditorium, regardless of the size of your projection screen.
  2. The Details – These are usually the facts that make your design relevant to the crowd that it is being presented to. Although sadly, too many deets can easily make your design irrelevant to that crowd and therefore destroying its appeal.
    • It is key to choose only the most relevant details to display on your design. Too many details will clutter up your design and make it nearly impossible to have a clean design. For various reasons there will be times however, where you absolutely have to put a lot of details on your design. This obstacle will take a lot of practice to get right and even then, it can still be very time consuming for the most seasoned designers to overcome.
    • The size that you choose to display the various details is important as well. You don’t want the event address to be the same size as the type of event, location, date, and time, because the address is more of a minor (but still important) detail. Whereas, the event type, the location (if it is a special location), date, and time are going to be more of the main factors that people will consider when choosing to attend an event or not.
  3. The Title – This is a bit of a simpler concept, but probably one of the most important because it is usually the first thing that people notice when seeing your design for the first time.
    • The title should always be displayed in a clean manner. Nothing too crazy, nothing too exuberant, but it should all the while grab your attention in a positive manner, sparking interest in whatever it is that you are advertising. This is another thing that comes with time, but if you are intentional about having a beautiful, simply displayed title, you will not go wrong.
  4. The Background – The part that makes your design interesting, the thing that makes the title relevant, the pizazz. This element has to be nailed correctly or else your audience might not even give your design as much as a second glance.
    • The background can be picture, it can be a vector design, it can be a combination of the two, or it can be something unique like a simple texture. Whatever you choose, they key is for it to not be the all-star of your design. Remember, your design should be like a professional sports team, many comparably great teammates that work together to create a beautiful design.
    • Another thing to consider is that usually the background is relevant to whatever it is that you are promoting. However, this does not have to be the case, it is okay to think outside of the box. If the title of the design is “As the Sun Sets”, you do not have to use a picture of a sun setting, it is not wrong to do so, but it is sometimes great to get away from the norm. I will warn you though, it can be very hard to get away from the cliché “What first comes to mind” when designing, but if you can when it’s appropriate, you can create a beautiful and unique design.
  5. The Rule of Two-Thirds – This will be the last element that will be covered, but it is definitely not the least important concept. “The Rule of Two-Thirds”, or “The Rule of Thirds” as some call it, is the key to having a clean and stunning design that will not overwhelm your reader.
    • This rule’s whole concept is that the content of your design or composition should not take up more than 2/3 of the design space available. On the flip side though, it should also not be any less than 2/3 of the composition. If it’s a picture you’re taking of the building, the main subject (or the building) should take up around 2/3 of the photograph and the other 1/3 being something like the sky and the grass or whatever else is around. When making a promo, ad, or etc. you will not want the title, details, and shapes/vectors/logos to take up more or less than 2/3 of the space as well. However, this does not always apply to the background, this is simply talking about whatever is being designed over or on top of the background being used. What this does is it helps showcase the subject or main purpose of your design, allowing the eye to put it into perspective, making your composition more relaxing to look at.

If you work to incorporate these elements into your designs, you will start to see a shift in your work. You will develop a clean, modern, and fresh style that will make your designs exponentially more attractive to your audience. You can never have too clean of a design. It is better to have too little (whilst following the rule of two-thirds) than to have too much on your design.

Keep your design fresh, and your slate clean.

Article Info

Author: Samuel Markovich
Title Resource File: Clean Slate(.ai)
Image License: Creative Commons 0

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