In our Facebook community, Church Communications, people often ask about colors, design inspiration, and other design tools. So I decided to put together a list of my top of 5 go-to design tools. All of them are completely free to use, so check them out and let me know what tools you like to use!
Sometimes, the hardest part of a design is finding the right colors, and if you do find a good color, it’s a challenge to find colors that fit in that palette. Thankfully, I discovered coolors.co about 6 months ago and I use it for almost everything. You can filter color palettes based on color, mood, and other tags. You can download the palette, save it for future use, or even use the Adobe plugin and access the tool directly from Illustrator or Photoshop. This tool will save you hours of headache.
Keeping a sketchbook to jot down ideas and to create design concepts before you start working on the computer is just a good practice. A sketchbook allows you the freedom to visual, conceptualize, and really start to fit all the pieces together. I carry around a small sketchbook all the time to take notes, doodle, or draw out ideas when I get them on the fly. It’s also fun to look back at your sketchbook and designs from time to time. Not to mention, it’s a great item to have in a job interview because it shows the employer that you can take ideas from concept to finish.
Designing for a church can be tricky at times. You have to use a variety of different styles to accommodate everything from women’s ministry, kids ministry, weekend sermons, and other things. If any of these styles are out of your comfort zone, Pinterest is a great place to get inspiration. Simply type in the style that you’re going for, and browse through hundreds of boards and pins to find something that you like. Sometimes, you can even purchase designs and styles. Pinterest is also a great way to stay relevant with design trends and what’s popular.
While Illustrator and Photoshop are industry standard in design, sometimes we just don’t have time to make a graphic or we need to make one on the fly. That’s why Canva is a great tool for churches to use. They have tons of different templates for everything from social media, Facebook headers, posters, business cards, and more. You can choose what you need (i.e. social media graphic), browse their templates for social media, change up the text, colors, and images, and you’re done! It’s a simple way to make quick graphics that look great. They also have a phone app to use when you’re away from the computer. Canva is free to use and they have several benefits for non-profits and teams.
Stock photos can get expensive. We know we need to pay for them, but we just don’t have money in the budget for Shutterstock or something similar. Unsplash offers stunning, high quality, stock photos completely free to use. Unlike other stock photo sites, Unsplash photos are not cheesy or tacky and they have just about everything you could think of, including 10 new photos every week.
What are your go-to design tools?