I'm a Christian, a designer, and a gadget fan who lives in Cheltenham, UK.

This is my blog, a creative outlet to mess around and play with as well as a place that logs my thoughts and inspirations.

The Impact of Design

I’ve always been aware of design and the impact it has on people’s per­cep­tions. The more I’ve grown in my design abil­it­ies and under­stand­ing the more pre­val­ent this notion has become. This past week I have been on a work place­ment at a design stu­dio in Lon­don, and whilst going about my work each day I seem to have developed a more heightened sense of what design can do.
At the begin­ning of every design brief the first thing the design­er does is ques­tion what the aim of the pro­ject is. What, ulti­mately, he has to do is determ­ine what the design must do, how people should per­ceive the product and how the design should work to achieve that. It’s almost like gen­er­at­ing a theme sen­tence for an essay or small group study, and sim­il­arly it should be referred to reg­u­larly through out the whole design pro­cess. This con­stant “apprais­al” of the work in pro­gress should even­tu­ally lead to the desired per­cep­tions of the viewer.
Whilst this approach is pre­val­ent in the com­mer­cial world, it can often be lack­ing in places like the church. I believe this occurs for two reas­ons. The first being a lack of under­stand­ing from the church and the second being that most com­mer­cial organ­isa­tions have a pro­fes­sion­al design­er. These two issues, could infact be seen as one. Most churches don’t take on a pro­fes­sion­al design­er because they don’t under­stand the need. The primary aim of the church is to bring people closer to God, to intro­duce them to Jesus and this is the per­cep­tion of the church, gen­er­ally. The prob­lem for me occurs in the man­ner in which churches go about pub­li­cising events or even in their out­ward facing image.
Now, take the most com­mon piece of pub­lished mater­i­al in a church, the weekly notice sheet. I’d wager in the major­ity of churches (at least in the UK), it’s done by someone who is pro­fi­cient at using Office and can churn it out hassle free. For most intense and pur­poses it does the job, the church mem­bers know what’s going on and when. But what about the view from an out­sider, someone who is new to the church and does­n’t know how things work. To them, I’d guess, it would look sloppy and unpro­fes­sion­al. But my ques­tion is, would it make them want to con­sider what the speak­er for the day has to say about God? If the news sheet is sloppy full of lots of dif­fer­ent miss-matched fonts and sizes, would it make them con­sider what’s being said at the front. If a church can­’t put enough effort into mak­ing the news sheet work well then is what has to be said at the front worth listen­ing too?
My point being that, whilst for many people this kind of thing is not import­ant, it is incred­ibly import­ant that the church does con­sider design on even the most simplest of things. Even the design or even non-design of the news sheet can make an impact on people’s per­cep­tions of the church and what it stands for. I’m not say­ing that design makes the gos­pel more rel­ev­ant, but it can help to make it more accessible.

4 responses

  1. I totally agree that church pub­li­city could be designed a whole lot bet­ter, but it seems it should be up to us as design­ers to offer our ser­vices (free, cheap, or not, either way) to the church in order to pro­mote both the reas­on­ing behind the need for bet­ter designed mater­i­als, and the ser­vice of doing so.
    (I often ref­er­ence Acts 2:42 about the pur­pose of the church: http://www.ebible.com/bible/Acts%202%3A42 but also remem­ber that there are oth­er pur­poses such as intro­du­cing people to God, etc.)

  2. I totally agree that church pub­li­city could be designed a whole lot bet­ter, but it seems it should be up to us as design­ers to offer our ser­vices (free, cheap, or not, either way) to the church in order to pro­mote both the reas­on­ing behind the need for bet­ter designed mater­i­als, and the ser­vice of doing so.
    (I often ref­er­ence Acts 2:42 about the pur­pose of the church: http://www.ebible.com/bible/Acts%202%3A42 but also remem­ber that there are oth­er pur­poses such as intro­du­cing people to God, etc.)

  3. Totally agree Ben. It’s some­thing I’m try­ing to do at the moment, and some­thing I would love to do for a liv­ing (design­ing for the church etc). I’ve got somethings in-store for the next few weeks to help bring this a bit more atten­tion. Well I hope it will.

  4. Totally agree Ben. It’s some­thing I’m try­ing to do at the moment, and some­thing I would love to do for a liv­ing (design­ing for the church etc). I’ve got somethings in-store for the next few weeks to help bring this a bit more atten­tion. Well I hope it will.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *