Church Graphic Design Kit

The Definitive Guide to Church Graphic Design + Downloadable Templates

Graphic design skills can take several months or even years to develop, and you’re never really done learning. Many people even attend school and take intense classes to master this growing area of expertise. But when you’re working in the church, you’re mostly focused on your community’s mission. You’re not just looking to learn some Adobe InDesign keyboard shortcuts—you’re looking to create beautiful, attention-grabbing work for your church to use in promotion, communications, and around your city.

It’s one thing to learn how to use Photoshop or Canva, but it’s a whole other thing to build a coherent plan for your church’s visual presence. It’s not something that can happen overnight... but with this guide and starter kit, we are gonna try.

We’re here to teach you the primary skills you will need for your church’s graphic design—and how to do them all well. With a few shortcuts here and there to help you out, you’ll be making beautiful, unique graphics for your church in no time. This includes templates, how-tos, icons, and other things you’ll need to ramp up your church’s visual presentation.

Feel free to use this starter design kit in any way you’d like. We’ve laid it out in an order that may make sense for you if you’re starting a design overhaul or re-branding for your church from scratch.

Here, you’ll find all our comprehensive guides on graphic design, as well as a downloadable link to get all the free templates, icons, graphics, and more!

1. How to Select Your Church Colors

A good thing to consider while selecting colors is your brand. What is the message you want to give your audience? What promise are you making them with what you have to offer? A good place to start is by selecting a major color in your logo. This will help create consistency for your brand across different mediums. This is another consideration when you talk to your designer.
If you don’t want to pick a color based on your logo, here are a few tips:
  • Different colors can convey different messages or themes. You want to have a reason for picking certain colors.
  • Pick a color based on meaning. For example, purple can resemble royalty. Yellow is often associated as the color of sunshine and energy. Blue is the color of the sky and ocean; it can represent trust and loyalty. Orange can symbolize urgency and enthusiasm.
  • Pick a color based on the emotion it evokes. Blue can be calming and have more of a contemplative feel. Green can inspire growth and resemble youthfulness.

Now that you’ve picked a starting color, you might be asking yourself, “Where do I go from here?”

Color

Remember the color wheel from elementary school art class? There’s actually a use for it. Color theory creates a structure for color; it provides a guide for color combinations. A good way to visualize color theory is by using the color wheel.

We have primary colors (red, blue, yellow), then secondary colors (green, orange, purple), and tertiary colors (yellow-orange, red-orange, red-purple, blue-purple, blue-green, and yellow-green). As you see how colors relate to each other, let’s look at some ways they can be used.

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Color Schemes

Single Color
As the name suggests, single color sites will use a single color alongside black, white, or a neutral gray.
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Analogous Colors
Two colors that are side by side on the color wheel are analogous, and they can look like this:
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Complementary Colors
Two colors which are directly opposite each other on the wheel are called complementary. A classic example is green and red for Christmas. Another example can look like this:
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Triadic Colors
When you use three colors that are evenly spaced on the color wheel, that is called a triadic color scheme. It can look like this:
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Tetradic Colors
If you use two sets of complementary colors, it’s called tetradic. The four colors don’t have to be evenly spaced around the color wheel, although they can be.
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How to Use the Colors You’ve Selected

Now that you have a method of selecting colors, it’s a completely different beast to use those colors. Here are a few suggestions about using color on your site:

If you have a multi-color scheme:
  • First, remember to plan the hierarchy of your colors.
  • You can have one color be the dominant color, and then use the other color(s) as accent colors.
  • Or you can have black or gray be your dominant color and then use the other colors you selected as accent colors.
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3. How to Use Ministry Icons

The design team at Ekklesia 360 loves using icons to create a visual story, and we want to pass some of our unique ministry icons on to you—for free, and all the rights to them belong to you. But with 48 new icons, it can be overwhelming to think of how to use them.

How Churches Are Using Ministry Icons

August Gate Church
August Gate Church’s homepage presents strong calls to Visit, Gather, Grow, and Go on our e360 Theme ten Boom. Built with easily editable options in mind, the ten Boom theme comes loaded with a list of icons to choose from.
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FBC Knoxville
FBC Knoxville uses the 4 colors from their logo to create identity around specific areas of their ministry. We created a welcome section on their homepage that uses icons, along with these colors, to bring clarity around their next steps.
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Hot Tip!
SVG stands for Scalable Vector Graphic, and they are the best way to use icons in the world of responsive design. Vector graphics use a fixed set of shapes, rather than bitmap graphics, which use pixels. This means that scaling a icon enlarges the shape of the design (keeping the quality high on desktop and mobile).

48 Ministry Icons – Our Gift to You

Icons are not just a graphic way to make your site more interesting, they serve a real purpose. When icons are used to supplement text, they actually help site visitors comprehend content faster. Visual cues (used well) create a quick overview of content and make content easier to scan.

We believe that there is no detail worth ignoring in good design, so why settle for icons that “kinda work” for ministry specific content?

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You can easily find quality sets of icons online, but finding ministry-specific sets is still a little trickier. We value website design that attracts new visitors, builds engagement, and creates lasting connections with the body of Christ. With that in mind, we set out to make a set of free icons that could be used alongside ministry content to help foster growth.

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4. Homepage Rotator Best Practices

Seven Rotator Best Practices That Will Make a Big Difference for Your Church Website Visitors

1. Make sure your rotator actually links to more information.

We’ll start with the easiest fix of all—adding a link! We see this simple mistake all-too often, and it’s one that might cost you. Each slide should link to a page with more details on the event or series. Even if it’s a simple message (like, “Happy Easter from your church family” with your Easter service times), the slide should link to a relevant page. Every time someone is interested enough in the content to click on the slide but it goes nowhere, you’re much closer to losing that person as an attendee. That’s a bummer you can easily avoid!

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The quick fix: Get in the habit of adding a link in the first place and then double-checking the slides in your rotators every few days to make sure that there are no broken links. This is especially important if you’re linking to an external web page that may change the URL without your knowledge.
2. Don’t include a pixelated or cheesy photo.

Finding a great rotator image can be a tricky thing. You need to strike a balance between getting a clear image with finding one that actually represents what you’re trying to communicate. We see a lot of images that are simply not large enough (in pixel size) for the size of the rotator.

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The quick fix: Check out the free stock image resources we provided in your design kit!
3. Crop words and images correctly.

Speaking of images, we found a few rotators that gave the photos or words in them odd cropping. This means you can’t quite read the full sentences or see the faces of the people on the edge of the photos—which is a very common formatting problem many of us have in website design.

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The quick fix: Like preventing pixelation, the best solution is to know the exact measurement of your rotator and upload your photo file into the system with a little cushion around the edges (in print images, this would be like a “bleed”). When designing a banner in Photoshop or another editing software, don’t run words right up to the edge. This allows for some wiggle room in the actual rotator.
4. Ensure the colors work with your site’s theme and branding.

At the time we’re assembling this Design Kit, we’re seeing a lot of Christmas red and green around the web. And while it is tempting to channel those seasonal colors into all of your homepage rotators, that might not be the best match with the rest of your church website’s design, branding, or colors. This holiday color lesson applies year-round. It’s easier than you might think to have a clashing homepage with a rainbow full of colorful rotator images.

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The quick fix: Simplify and standardize the color palette you’ll use in all future homepage rotators: Try to make sure the colors are all either warm or bright—depending on what your actual brand colors are. And consider only having 3-4 standard colors for all of your rotators that complement each other. If you use photographs, try to avoid photos with bright colors or consider using a slight transparency to mute the photograph colors just a bit.
5. Include text on the image or hover text—not both.

This usually happens accidentally as a result of formatting. Or maybe, you know that it’s happening, but just don’t know how to change it. The image you uploaded into the rotator already had text on it, like a date or a time for an event––but the rotator is also pulling in the slide description as well. This results in double text that overlaps and confuses visitors.

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The quick fix: This could be a simple matter of changing up your process. Before you make the image or add a slide description, do you need text in both places? Could you eliminate one or the other to prevent a collision? Design it to be formatted on purpose, and turn off the rotator description if you just want to let the graphic speak for itself. Or, build an image with no text and enter a rotator description.
6. Limit to 3 slides with a smooth, natural transition time.

You work in church communications, so you know the information on the homepage rotators like the back of your hand. But for new visitors and members who only come to the site once or twice a month, they’re seeing everything for the first time. This means that when you have more than a handful of slides (or when those slides move too quickly), your information is not being seen.

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The quick fix: Set your rotator to pause when the viewer hovers their mouse over it. This means they’re interested in the slide, and possibly going to click through to a page with more information. A best practice for timing your rotators is to set each slide to show for 2.5x the amount of time it takes to read the text aloud, and tailor the total rotate time to suit your unique average homepage visit time. For example, if most users stay on your homepage for an average of 25 seconds, you might use less text on your rotators (or fewer images) so you can move through them quickly and ensure your average visitor sees as many as possible.
7. Make sure event information is up-to-date every day.

Imagine if movie theaters didn’t update the show times every day. That’s just madness! While your church might not have as many daily events as the local cineplex, your rotators should talk about the things going on in your church this week and this month to be timely and relevant. We see too many churches with outdated information for events that had happened days or even weeks earlier.

Think about how many pairs of eyes are on your church website every day. Say you have 100 daily visitors, each one of them seeing that beautiful rotator promoting a candlelight service that happened 4 days ago. Those short days may pass quickly for you as you’re busy in the operations and communications of your church, but that’s 400 people you’re “inviting” to an event that’s in the past! That’s 400 times you looked just a little bit silly.

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The quick fix: This solution takes dedication, but it’s essential. Be diligent about checking the rotator events first thing in the morning as you start your work day, simply to make it a routine. You could also try setting a calendar reminder to go off on the day a rotator “expires,” just so you remember to pull it down on-time. There’s a new feature in Ekklesia 360 that actually solves this problem. You can now schedule your content to go live or revert to draft on dates and times that you can set in advance.

5. Welcome Card Template

With your Church Graphic Design Kit, one of the many downloads you’ll get is an editable welcome card. Hand out your card to visitors at your church!

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6. How to Make the Best Church Newsletter Ever

1. Give it a Purpose

Every church newsletter needs to have a specific purpose—and that purpose shouldn’t just be “because it’s August.” Without a plan, the whole email can end up looking really messy and really pointless, really fast. We know that what makes a newsletter, well, newsy is that it features multiple articles and content regarding your church, but that doesn’t necessarily mean every “Click Here” button and article should have the same prominence. Try to choose one main call to action, or purpose, for each newsletter. And think of the other content as supplementary. For example, let’s say your church is hosting a local food drive for the Thanksgiving season and is looking for volunteers. You could have one obvious “Click here to sign up!” button at the top, along with a photo and a short description. The rest of the newsletter could be the “just in case you want to know” information where you feature your most recent sermons posted online, articles about your recent mission trip, prayer intentions, etc.

2. Less is More

In general, people don’t like reading long, wordy emails. If you want a guarantee that your audience will not click, send them a wall of words and no pictures!

It’s best to keep your newsletter simple and straightforward to make it easy for your subscribers to digest. Remember, it’s about providing them with helpful, relevant, and interesting content about your church. Zoom in on your primary focus and your newsletter can be great—no matter if you decide to use Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, Ekklesia 360, or any other email platform you like. If you’re stuck on finding a pretty design, we offer several newsletter modules and templates for churches who choose to work with us, but there are also a plethora you can find with a simple Google Search.

3. Test, Test, Test!

We want to encourage you to do some testing to find out what works for your church and your list of contacts. Every church is different, meaning different people will prefer different pieces of content, different subject lines may work better than others, and certain designs may reflect your church better than others. In addition to testing your newsletters to find one that best fits your church, we also want to emphasize that you need to test for errors. Nothing is more embarrassing than sending an email to the wrong list of recipients, or sending one with several spelling errors, incorrect dates, and broken or misdirected links. And it would be embarrassing to send out a newsletter that has a subject line like, “Your subject line here.” Speaking of subject lines...

4. Do Create a Fun Email Subject Line

Even though your members signed up for your church newsletter, there’s no guarantee that they’ll actually open and read it once they get that inbox notification. We understand that you want to give a sense of familiarity in your newsletter, but it’s more important to write a subject line your readers will actually want to read. Think of something that will make your readers want to read this specific email at this particular moment. Because “July Newsletter,” “August Newsletter,” and “September Newsletter” can get old really fast. Instead of, “St. John’s Baptist Church July Newsletter,” try some more interesting ones like:

  • Summer Bash at St. John’s: What’s Ahead!
  • Our Biggest Fundraising Event to Date is...
  • St John’s Outreach Events Calendar Is Here!

Maybe even try incorporating emojis into your subject lines, too!

5. Optimize it for Mobile

Did you know that 65% of email opens are a mobile phone or tablet? Given the odds, most of your newsletter subscribers will be reading your church newsletter on their phones, and if your email is too difficult to read because of size and format on their 3- x 5-inch phone screen, they’ll swipe left and may never look at it again! You may be reading this Design Kit at your desk right now, but go that extra mile and make sure your email is mobile responsive because it will be opened on a phone. Your readers will appreciate not having to squint or zoom in to read.

6. Make it Easier for People to Unsubscribe

This sounds counter intuitive. We don’t want to lose people! Not ever! Except when you do. :) First of all, having an unsubscribe option is a legal requirement when sending automated email. But even more than that, allowing your readers to control their settings is the key to an active, engaged subscriber list. If your recipients don’t want to read your newsletter, it’s important to give them an option to unsubscribe. Don’t use confusing language like, “Change your communication with us,” and make it easy for them to find the unsubscribe link. Having a clear unsubscribe process will keep your newsletter from being marked as SPAM.

7. Set Boundaries and Timelines Internally

Your church newsletter is an excellent way to make sure your staff members feel supported, that they know their information is being talked about, and that they always have a chance to get their word in. But in order to keep things running smoothly, use this tip to keep you and your staff sane. Nothing makes a job harder than a bunch of people throwing information back and forth kind of at random and at the last minute. This is even more true for a newsletter as the day of pushing “send” approaches. Set clear boundaries, guidelines, and timelines to make sure your internal staff gets information to you in a timely manner. Make a consistent send date, like the second Monday of every month and provide a submission cutoff that is reasonably before that. You’ll usually only have to say “no” once to help your internal staff get a firm grasp on timelines.

7. Event Promotion Design Checklist

Your event doesn’t have to be super stressful! Keep your sanity with this simple, printable checklist for promoting a church event. Check things off as you go along, or just keep it posted near your desk and take a mental audit before the big day!

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8. Ideas for Your Advent Graphics

We’ve brainstormed a bunch of places you can use the kit's Advent visuals to make the season merry and bright:

1. Social Media

From your Facebook page’s cover photo to your Christmas Eve posts, you’ll need some beautiful images to capture the spirit of the season. Let the hand-painted graphics shine as a great alternative to stock photos this year. (Remember: If you don't need the whole design kit, you can get standalone free Advent graphics here!)

2. Homepage Rotators

Welcome your church website visitors with a warm, eye-catching display of your Christmas service times and locations. If it’s the first thing they see on your homepage rotator, they’ll remember how important it is to come together as a community at this time of year.

3. Events

Your small groups and fundraising events bring a sense of closeness to your church as everyone mingles and wishes each other season’s blessings. So why not promote your events with some of the same Advent images you’re using throughout the rest of your communications this season? It just makes sense to use them on posters, online event listings, or local advertisements!

4. Newsletter

Accent important holiday newsletters with graphics that contain inspiring Bible verses and images. You’ll have a lot of eyes on your church communications during this busy season, so make sure they look inviting and engaging.

5. Sermon Graphics

Incorporating imagery is a great way to make sermons stick in our minds. While your pastor is speaking (or when the sermon is displayed online), include some of the images that best illustrate the power and hope of that particular message or use the same background images for the text slides.

6. Event Invitations

You want your service invitations to make their way into the hands of everyone around––the more, the merrier during Advent and Christmas celebrations. Use some of these images on those invitations to give guests a sneak peek at the loving, beautiful environment you’re creating for the actual services. This will also help new visitors to feel slightly more comfortable by seeing a familiar graphic.

7. Pre-Service Slides or Announcements

You’ve got information for your members even before the services begin. This is a perfect place to include some of these graphics! For example, include a listing of all of the upcoming week’s events for everyone to see as they fill up your space. This can help boost awareness and attendance of some of your Advent events.

8. Christmas Cards

If your pastor or church sends out Christmas cards, it’s an opportunity to use these graphics and show how blessed you’ve been this year. Try using one of the hand-painted graphics on the front of your card for a personal touch that will be different from other churches in your area. No cookie cutter card designs this year!

9. Your Letterhead Template

There are times when you may have to send out notes and letters, too! Keep your brand consistent with this editable letterhead template. Get yours by downloading this Church Graphic Design Kit below.

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Your Church Graphic Design Kit
comes equipped with church logo templates
for you to use and customize to your brand.

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10. Presentation Templates

Rather than just provide you with a few custom templates, here are a few websites of our favorite presentation templates. Bookmark these for your future reference: SlidesCarnival, SmileTemplates, and Prezi.

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11. Free Graphic Design Resources You Need to Bookmark

Free Stock Images

  • Lightstock – Sign up and receive a free faith-based photo and vector image each week, as well as a free video clip each month. Lightstock also has really great packages and reasonable pricing on their full library, so check it out!Lightstock
  • Freely Photos – Totally free, high-quality Christian stock photography.
  • Pexels – Simple to use, searchable photo site. Easy and free!
  • Death to Stock Photo – Sign up for the DTS newsletter, and you’ll get a set of free images each month. DTS delivers quality work and a well-written newsletter that I actually anticipate. Like Lightstock, they have some great subscription plans worth checking out if you have the budget.
  • Unsplash – High-resolution images of landscapes. 10 new ones every 10 days. Perfect for backgrounds behind your church’s name, rotator image,and whatever else you’d like!
  • Picjumbo – High-quality, non-cheesy stock images.
  • Creationswap – Free stock photos with a faith-based approach.

Free Icons

There are many sites with inexpensive, or even free icon sets. I suggest picking a set or series of icons for your site. That will help give a cohesive look. Here are some of our favorite resources:

Free Online Image-Editing Software

Here are a few of our top recommendations for tools that help you edit images and create beautiful graphics. They are perfect for creating Instagram posts and other fun, shareable visuals:

When you’re finished…

We hope you found this design kit useful and that your fresh, new graphic presence brings your ministry to new heights! We’d love to hear your feedback or suggestions you have about this kit. Or, maybe you have some questions about your church website design; we can help with that, too. Feel free to reach out to us at hello@ekklesia360.com if you’d like to chat.

Think you’re ready to take your design chops and make an overhaul on your church website? Download Getting Your Church Website Back on Track.