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September 21, 2021

Church Creatives: Graphic Design For The Kingdom

By:
Erin
Hayes

When I was approached to write a blog post on graphic design, I was like,

“I can’t write. Artists are visual people not WORDS people.”

And you know what? That’s mostly true for me, but I know God wants me to grow so I agreed (since I know I’m not the only creative that struggles with this). On that note: I’m going to talk about my experience as a church creative. This could be helpful if you’re thinking about or interested in starting this journey too.

How I Design to Glorify God in the Church

First off, serving in the church with design helps me contribute to God’s mission. Serving is the key word here. Serving is a heart posture. I serve God by just BEING a designer. God is the ultimate creator, and He creates through us. By designing for God’s mission, I am serving God.

I also need to have the right mindset and attitude towards serving God and others, just like God has towards us. There’s no need to get defensive about my ideas because the design I createis not about me, it’s about God. If I start with a heart posture of serving, I find it’s easier to create out of an overflow with God, rather than starting with my own wants and desires.

Once I have the right posture, I go to God in prayer and meditation. Whatever the project or problem is I’m working on, I always ask God for guidance. I ask if he can give me direction and inspiration. I also surrender control over to him. Surrendering control to God keeps me open to listening to what he has to say.

As I create, I collaborate with God. I talk with him throughout my work. I love being able to make His vision a reality and impact others in the process.

How I Design to Glorify God in the World

Love others.

You can love people through the work you do as a designer. Just think about it: you are helping people fill a need. A need that God put on their heart, or an opportunity God put in your path.

Approach clients with the mindset of helping them.

The world doesn’t need more self-obsessed designers. The world needs designers that see an opportunity to help someone, to change the world one client at a time.

Communicate as much as possible along the way.

Clients like to be involved in your process and it shows them just how much you care about what you do.

My Creative Process

I’ve already explained what drives my creative process, so here’s a list of what it usually looks like day-to-day:

01 – Read the creative brief/vision

02 – Ask questions (about everything)

03 – Pray: ask God for guidance and surrender/listen

04 – Find what connects to the target audience in the most impactful way

05 – Research design styles to find one that connects to the vision (or whatever style you feel God has given you and research that)

06 – Work on the project until it’s done

07 – Send to your boss or creative pastor for feedback

Words of Encouragement to New Designers

You are probably thinking “hey, that’s a lot of work, and it sounds time-consuming” and it is. But before you start, here’s some helpful advice from a designer that wants to see you succeed:

Be open to learning 24/7. Being a designer means you’ll need to learn new styles, techniques, and skills so you can approach each project with a wealth of knowledge, finding the best solutions to your projects.

Learn from other designers that are better than you. Ask them to review your work. You’ll get better at design, and you won’t have biased reviews and feedback from friends.Plus, focusing on design that is great and that you look up to helps evolve your design eye to emulate it. Try it.

Being a designer has its downsides. Of course, being defensive of your work is only natural, because you took a lot of time and energy to come up with something you think fits the problem and that you love. Just remember that designing for others is about serving God’s vision first, not yours.•

When you find yourself in a creative block: pray, pray, pray. Also, take the time to do something that fills you up that’s not related to design. This prevents burnout before it starts. God may speak to you when you least expect it.•

Feedback is your FRIEND. Sometimes we get tunnel vision and don’t see a better solution or a better way of doing things. That’s when asking for help from another person (just like asking someone to proofread) comes in handy and opens the door to collaboration and better ideas. •

Collaboration can sometimes be better than working alone. Matthew 18:20 says “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them.” That’s some pretty good advice. Collaboration opens the door to even greater ideas, especially when God is involved. There may be ideas that could have never happened on your own, which is why working with others comes in handy.•

Failure is a GOOD thing. It’s a chance to learn from your mistakes and get better. Don’t be afraid of failing, instead, avoid perfectionism. Perfectionism stems from control, and if we are supposed to give God control, holding on to our perfectionism shuts the door on him.


Ask God for help. He WANTS to help you. Rely on him. He will give you vision.

Create healthy boundaries with your time. The design process takes a lot of time and energy. Be mindful of how long things take you and communicate it up front so you can be your best self.

In closing, be encouraged by the fact that God put design/art on your heart and he’s trusting you with creating amazing visual art for others so they can be impacted by it. How amazing is that?!

Trust God in the process and always, ALWAYS, love God and love people.

If you ever need any advice, feedback, or just a fellow designer to chat with, go ahead and shoot me an email: erin@tatecrtv.com.

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