Making Art or Making Widgets

Like I mentioned in a previous post, I do all the graphic design work for our church which means I have multiple projects with multiple deadlines.  Most full-time graphic designers work on a project-to-project basis and are paid for each project.  I’m a salary worker so whether I have 5 projects or 10 projects, I’m getting paid the same amount.

So I have come up with some shortcuts to making “widgets” (things that look good, and get the job done).

The basic format I use when creating quick graphics is BACKGROUND + TEXT = GRAPHIC.

Let’s break this down with an example...

For a sermon series graphic we typically create a logo screen, a bulletin shell, an outdoor banner, and various graphics to use on our website.

In this case, I started with a theme.  For some reason the idea of a comic book came to mind.  I did some Google searching and found some good tutorials for making the style.  I started with the largest graphic (the outdoor banner) first since it’s easier (and better) to scale it down than up.

Now that I’ve got my background, it’s time to add text.  I’m gonna need a font.  Here’s where I let you in on a GREAT secret, don’t buy fonts!  Unless you plan on selling your work and making the money back on your investment OR you have a MASSIVE budget, it’s just not worth it.  Go to http://dafont.com where you can search and browse THOUSANDS of fonts (most of them completely free).

Now that the banner is done, it’s on to the other graphics (and this is where it gets moving fast).  The logo screen for the series needs to be 1024x768 so I created a new Photoshop graphic and dropped the texture layer into it and resized it.  Then did the same with the text layer.  In under 2 minutes, my logo screen graphic is ready to go.

Once I’ve done the same thing with any other graphics I need (depending on the size and purpose), I’ve got the graphics package done in about 45 minutes!

I hope this helps you create great graphics in a short amount of time.  I didn’t want to get too in-depth with how I did each individual element with this post.  I really wanted to illustrate the basic principle of BG + TEXT=GRAPHIC.

Here’s some examples of final graphics...

Raising the Bar  Splash Screen