I love a solid bulletin design and an accompanied announcement slide but the truth is, we aren’t likely to carry a bulletin around with us everywhere we go. However, there is something that we rarely go without; our smartphones. Not only that, but most people that have a smartphone also have one or more social media accounts, and they check them often.

Here are some really interesting statistics that I found in the “Top 20 Facebook Statistics” article released by Zephoria Digital Marketing in December of 2016.

 

1.18 billion people log onto Facebook daily…which represents a 17% increase year over year (Source: Facebook as 11/02/16)

At 1.79 billion, Facebook has more monthly active users than WhatsApp (500 million), Twitter (284 million) and Instagram (200 million)—combined. (Source: CNBC)

Average time spent per Facebook visit is 20 minutes. (Source: Infodocket) What this means for you: You could have a short time period to make your impression, so use it wisely…

 

I’m certainly not trying to discredit the use of other social media platforms, but if you were only able to manage one I would recommend that you start with Facebook. One of the challenges of social media is that each platform has it’s own image size requirements and guidelines. For the sake of this article we’re going to stick with a square design because you can use it on Facebook and Instagram but if you’d like to see a detailed breakdown of all the social media platforms and their image requirements, check out the article “2017 Social Media Image Sizes” on makeawebsitehub.com for all the details.

 

So, let’s start off by taking a look at the before and after social media graphics I’ve created. The image on the left is the before, it gets the job done but there are other ways to relay the same information in a way that is more aesthetically pleasing, which basically translates to,”They’ll actually read it.” The image on the right has the same information but the visual delivery is different and when it comes to catching the attention of a scroll happy Facebook or Instagram user, that’s really important.

 

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Much like my “6 Announcement Slide Mistakes and How to Fix Them” tutorial, I’m going to take you through each step on how to recreate these graphics yourself. Let’s get started!

 

First, let’s choose an image. I actually grabbed both of these images from pexels.com. We’re making a graphic that should feel inviting and while both of these pictures include breakfast foods, the image on the right seems a bit more structured, bright, and organized.

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In this step I haven’t done anything to the image on the left but I did lower the opacity of the image on the right to 30%. Some programs refer to this as the transparency so look for that as well if you don’t see an opacity adjustment option. Also, if you’re in Photoshop you should automatically have a white background setup for you but in other programs that may not be a standard feature. If you want to lower the transparency or opacity of an image or shape, always make sure there is a solid color layer below it. In this case, I have left the background layer for the image on the right set on white.

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Now, let’s add our title. For the image on the left I have used a bulky, thick font. It isn’t necessarily the weight of the font that throws the image off, it’s the style. For the image on the right I decided to go with a serif font; Eligible in the regular weight if you’re curious. It looks structured but not too swirly or fancy. It seems to blend in with the feel of the image very well.

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For the next step I want to add the date and time information. Let’s talk about color for a minute. On the left I used a white font for some color variation. On the right I’ve actually toned the color down just slightly. The starting image has a softer, more laid back feel so I want to stay away from harsh colors and contrast that might clash.  I’ve also chosen bolder fonts for each image. However, the font for the image in the right has a slimmer and taller appearance which gives enough contrast to be noticeable, but not so much that it no longer feels cohesive.

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To give some visual dynamics to the images I added some shapes, a slight glow to the date and time info on the right, and changed the header color for the image on the right. Now, the point here is not where you put the shape, but rather how you use it. The image on the left has a very abrupt and choppy look to it. The difference is that the shape on the right has the opacity set to 65%. It makes a huge difference! I also chose to change the header color to an off white. Again, I want the color differences to be distinct but not harsh. As far as the glow on the date and time information, it is extremely subtle! I only added it to make the information more legible. If you don’t have a glow option, you probably have a drop shadow option. You can change the color to white and lower the opacity to around 45%. If you’re using Photoshop, I’ll include my “Outer Glow” settings below so you can see what I did.

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Last, but certainly not least, we need to add the logo. For the image on the left I have the logo in white and I aligned it to the right. In the image on the right, I have the logo in a dark gray and centered. You could move all the information on the slide down slightly and put the logo at the top if you want, it’s really up to you. The main objective is that the color and alignment look natural so everything flows together.

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Even as a designer, I don’t believe top notch design and a stellar social media presence are the most important tools for reaching your community. What I do believe is that the dedication and love we have for our church family and our community should be showcased in everything that we do, which among many other things includes our visual design and presence online. I know having a designer on staff is unrealistic for most churches and I hope this article gave you some ideas on how to improve your social media graphics even if you aren’t a design expert.

 

Was this article helpful? What are some changes you’ve made that have had a huge impact on your social media? We’d love to hear from you!

 

Written by Lindsey Moss

Christ Follower, Wife, Graphic Designer, Singer, Musician, Pro-Oxford Comma, and former Worship & Creative Arts Director. Let's do this thang.

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