Whether you're a Pastor, a worship leader, media director, a communicator, or a designer, you regularly rely on design work.
If you do it yourself or you're asking someone to do it for you.
We've become armchair judges on design! I've found that most of this critique falls under the category of preference and style though.
I'll leave that discussion to another article.
After 3 decades of designing and art directing, I've discovered that content and communication is more important than the style. Although, it all must work together (so don't create bad design).
Each time design is started, I ask 5 questions to ensure it'll communicate effectively. Here are the questions:
1. Who's it for?
I imagine the main group who will receive the message sitting in front of me so I can imagine a conversation with them. What exactly do they need or want?
2. How will it be used?
I also make sure I understand EVERY way the design will be used now and in the future. I usually suggest starting with the smallest application and simplifying so that it works there. Making sure the fonts are big enough to be read easily.
Then enlarge the design for the larger products (without complicating it). Simple is almost always better.
3. What's the one message that must be received?
No one has the time to look at a design and remember several things. Although I realize that often several things must be contained in the product. Imagine your audience and what problem needs to be solved. Or it may be a path to their goal. That "big idea" must be established as the primary communication in the design.
All other things need to become secondary or tertiary. Make sure the #1 reads above everything else.
4. Does the design communicate the big idea simply and clearly with little distraction?
Often, designers are tempted to let the design be the attraction. I prefer to make the idea the lure and ensure that the design never distracts from it. A simply communicated idea is more important than remembering a cool design and missing the point.
5. Can I incorporate my brand elements without compromising simplicity?
Every organization needs to know the branding elements that make a design "theirs": fonts, colors, design style, and, most importantly, a communication thread.
Your thread is the big solution you offer as an organization; what you're known for! It's always good to use as many of your brand's graphic standard as possible as long as the components don't clutter the design.
Going to use a script font? You should use "your" script font. Using a blue and your brand has a blue in it? Use "your" color.
Every design you produce should invest in your brand rather than being a one-off piece.
Nothing should be design-for-design-sake. Especially since we have important content to communicate!
Ensure it looks great, communicates a solution, and builds your church's brand.