One element often overlooked in church graphic design is typography.
The text of your church bulletin is just as important as the text on your church website. Improper usage can hurt your credibility. As unfair as it may seem, judgments are made about organizations every day based on the quality of their visual presentation. Bad typography will turn away visitors from your church website in a heartbeat. Poor font choices lead readers to dismiss the written word and toss aside your church’s flyer or brochure without giving it a second thought.
Whether you are a church of five hundred members or five, we have put together a brief guide to help you include better typography in your church website and other design materials.
1. Be careful of system-installed fonts.
System-installed fonts, while convenient because they are already on your computer, may not demonstrate the best design taste. Times New Roman should be saved for your research paper. There is never a good reason to use Comic Sans or Papyrus. Many system-installed fonts are overused which can make your content feel dated. Google offers free font choices (Google Fonts) but if you want to use them for your website, make sure your web designer is able to install them on your website hosting platform.
2. Have no more than 3 fonts in one design
Regardless of whether you are designing something that will be printed or content displayed on a website, you want your text to be cohesive and feel like it fits well with the rest of the design. The more fonts you use, the less unity there will be. Ideally you want to use three fonts or less. Having more than this will cause the content to feel scattered and will take longer to process the information.
Contrast is how well a design element differs from another element behind or around it. Contrast helps visitors to your church website easily process the information. For darker backgrounds, use lighter font colors. For lighter backgrounds, use darker font colors. The more they differ, the better. If you have a black or colored background, you almost always will want to have white text. Avoid using grey fonts with a slightly darker grey background. This discourages viewers from reading the content.
4. Neons = Another No-Go
It may be tempting to use a bright font color to grab the viewer’s attention. Unfortunately, neon text is harder to read even if it draws attention. Even if there is strong contrast, having text that looks like this (or this or this) diminishes design quality. Not only are those colors hard on the eyes, especially on a screen, but it gives your overall presentation an early-2000s vibe that causes your visual brand to feel outdated.
5. Follow Font Pairing Rules
If you have a sans-serif (a type of font with straight shapes, no fancy feet on the edges of the letters) font for a title, choose a serif (the type of font with the feet on the edges) font for the body copy that goes with it, and vice versa. You can use two serif fonts or two sans-serif fonts if there is enough distinction between them, but you want to make sure your titles stand out against the body copy well.
6. Be Consistent
You want to have unity across your design. Focus on being consistent throughout, by making sure you use the same font size, color, and weight for all titles. Likewise for any subtitles and body copy.
- Don’t use script fonts for body copy. Use one for titles and pair it with a nice sans-serif or serif font. You will achieve a clean, elegant look while maintaining legibility.
- To really make your design look cohesive, choose fonts from the same font family. For example, Raleway is a font family. Choose three fonts from Raleway to use in your design. Perhaps Raleway Bold for headlines, Raleway Medium for subtitles, and Raleway Light for body copy. Having all of your text in the same font family will really make your overall design more cohesive.
While it may seem like only a minute detail, the typography of your church website can dramatically affect how your site, and ultimately your church, is perceived. Don’t deter site visitors from coming to a Sunday service when they see bad font choices on your church website. Don’t lead guests to decide not to come back after having poor typography on your church bulletin. It is important that you select your fonts wisely utilizing the tips described in this article to maximize your church’s effectiveness in reaching your community.
Design.faith is a design agency offering web design and creative services to small and medium sized churches and non-profits. Our team publishes content regularly to help churches connect design and faith. If you are interested in learning more about our design services and how we are able to help your church or non-profit organization reach your community more effectively, please drop us a line.