Sometimes when it comes to design, we make decisions based on wanting something to look cool. In fact many times we may judge design solely on it looking good without taking into effect how it communicates something or how it can better help our organizations connect with people.
Fast Co. Design had an interesting article recently that looked at what good design can do for a business. As I read through the list, I couldn’t help but think there are some good principles for churches to think about as well. Instead of just throwing away the need for good design by saying it’s too expensive or too business-like for a church, there can be real benefits we don’t always consider. Here are the four things listed in the Fast Co. Design article with a little commentary of why I think it matters for the church.
Design helps differentiate us from our “competitors.” In the church world, we don’t like to consider the church down the street as competition—and that’s probably a good thing. But good design can help a church show how their culture differs from that of the church down the street. Better yet, good design, whether it’s on some piece of marketing material or an element of the church building itself, can show someone in the community how your church is different than how they perceive church to be in general. It gives you a chance to show church isn’t what they might think it is.
Design is key to creating a good customer experience. Design is how you visually express who you are. When someone sees your logo, visits your website, sits in a church service or drives by the church building itself, they’re forming an opinion about who you are and how you act. When you intentionally design experiences for the people you interact with—visitors and members alike—the better experience they’re going to have with your church than if you did nothing at all. A good user experience pays off in major ways. If someone has a good impression of you, they’ll tell their friends. Word of mouth is the most powerful communication tool you have.
Design simplifies in a complex world. I’ve heard plenty of smart designers say the hardest thing to do well is to design something simple. It’s easy to make something complex or to cram as much information as you can onto a single sheet of paper. What really takes work is scaling down your message to its simplest form. In the church world it’s easy to clutter our messages with Christianese people don’t understand. When we narrow down our message to something simple, it’s easier to communicate, share and understand.
Design brings innovation. Often times when you start thinking about design, you have to start working with other people, some who are outside of your bubble. Stepping out of our comfort zone or working with someone new facilities idea creation and new ways of thinking. It can help bring clarity to the message you’re trying to communicate. Hopefully it helps you come up with new ways to better serve who you’re trying to reach.
How has design helped your church? Are there points you’d add to this list?