Whether you’re designing sermon slides, social media posts, bulletin covers, thumbnails, booklets…WHATEVER church graphics design you’re doing, you can probably do it better.
And while we all wish we were the hipster creative guy who could easily sip a mocha latte and whip up a sermon graphic worthy of a CD cover…we just ain’t that guy.
So today we’re sharing our favorite tools for creating church graphics faster and cheaper while still being visually pleasing.
TL;DW (Too Long; Didn’t Watch)
Welcome to the second installment of our Mount Rushmore series. If we had to choose 4 tools to chisel into the side of a mountain to declare their awesomeness, these are those tools.
Each of the following tools will help you your church graphics design jobs in a unique way. But ultimately they will give you a way to spend less time designing, and more time discipling.
Canva is an online web and mobile app that is a respectively dumbed-down design tool for visual imagery. (See our free tutorial here: Getting Started With Canva)
Canva allows you to create quick, stunning graphics. It is sort of the “industry-standard” for church communicators.
What we love about Canva:
An editor so easy even your Senior Pastor can use it.
Large library of easy-to-fill-in templates.
Templates cover anything from social media, stationary, media, and customized themes.
What we don’t like:
So many people use Canva. To the point where you can start to spot the same template across the web. So you’re designs aren’t unique unless you’re creating from scratch.
There are limitations with the free plan, most notably is the lack of ability to use transparency in your exports.
Cost: $0 – $12.95 per user / per month
(The Canva Pro plan is FREE for non-profits with proof of 501c3. They will not accept any other nonprofit documentation)
DesignBold is the newcomer on the scene, poised to take over Canva. In fact, we consider it Canva on steroids.
They have many of the same themes like Canva, but their designs are little more mature and unique.
DesignBold also has some of the most beautiful slide decks you’ll see online. Your sermon slides will get a serious upgrade when you build them here.
What we love about Designbold:
Church media graphics get a serious boost here. These designs are more visually appealing, and many themes have several variations, giving you more freedom to design for multiple platforms.
BEAUTIFUL slide decks that you won’t find anywhere else.
What we don’t like:
There are some layouts and stock photos that are locked when you use the free account.
Cost: $0 – $19 per user / per month
With most design tools, you choose a template and fill it in. But Relay That goes in an opposite direction. You take the elements you want to communicate and this tool creates different templates where that data can fit.
If you’re like me, you don’t have time to tinker and find something that looks good. You need someone (or some robot) to spit out designs on the fly, and that’s where Relay That really shines.
Step one: input data. Step two: pick a winner.
It’s that simple.
What we love about Relay That:
Super simple for people who can’t do Photoshop. It’s really hard to mess up a design in here.
You can create different projects for your different ministries, giving everyone their own look and feel (super important for church graphics consistency).
This tool will save you SO MUCH TIME. I can get an Instagram graphic created and posted in just a few minutes.
We we don’t like:
Not every design is a winner. When you generate a dozen designs, you’ll skip on about half of them.
You can’t nitpick here. If you want pixel-perfect designs or you have a layout in mind, this is not the place for customization.
Cost: $25 – $97 per month.
When it comes to the more hardcore design such as curriculum, brochures, books, etc, you need something comprehensive. And that’s why InDesign is our 4th tool for this Mount Rushmore.
InDesign is the next step above Publisher…actually it’s the king of the hill. With InDesign you have the primo tools at your fingertips to make any publication you want.
What we love about InDesign:
As part of the Adobe Creative Cloud suite, it’s already included with the subscription you’re probably already paying for.
The elements inside InDesign can be quickly edited within the other Adobe CC apps. So while you’re still in InDesign, you can edit a photo in Photoshop and see the changes in real time.
This is the top choice for designing any publications you need, and you can literally do ANYTHING inside of here.
What we don’t like:
There is a steep learning curve. This isn’t a tool you can jump into the day before a deadline.
Cost: $21 – $50 per month / per user depending on license plan you choose.
There isn’t a tool that can do everything under the sun, but our Mount Rushmore of church media design tools will get you where you need to go.
Canva is a great starting point for your church media design needs. Make social images, flyers, and more with an easy-to-use online platform.
DesignBold will kick it up a notch with unique and visually stunning designs.
Relay That is the ultimate time saver by taking the design out of your hands. Simply plug in what you want the graphic to say, choose a platform, and Relay That will spit out dozens of designs for you to choose from.
And the ultimate publisher, InDesign will handle any and all of your publication needs. Whether you need to create books, curriculum, or magazines, InDesign is the top tool to keep on hand.
What are your favorite church media design tools? Let us know in the comments below!
[Full Disclosure: As an affiliate, we receive compensation if you purchase any of the resources above at no extra cost to you]