Creativity is unpredictable. That’s part of what makes it creative. You don’t know where the process is going to lead you when you start out. The beauty of creativity is the joy of discovering something new, meaningful, and beautiful.
But consistently and effectively exercising your creativity will require implementing systems that help you to do your best work. In our Creative Department at VOUS, we have developed rhythms that help us to stay on top of creating the content we need to produce. There are many facets to these systems, but today I want to focus on the various assets we create each week for the upcoming Sunday and the framework we’ve developed for making them.
Every Sunday, we have two primary art directions in play: our seasonal look—which shifts every four months—and that week’s sermon look. If we are currently in a collection of talks (a series of sermons that spans more than one week), we will have a collection look that varies each Sunday. If we are between collections, we will produce a look that can last until our next collection begins. Each week, we use these looks to create the twelve primary assets that are needed for each Sunday service.
Here is a breakdown of each of those twelve assets, what they are and how we approach making them each week.
An invitation to join us on Sunday, usually posted sometime on Saturday. These invites follow our seasonal look and are rotated weekly to maintain variety. Whenever a special event is happening or a guest is joining us, we like to switch it up a bit and include them in our invite.
A touch card we add to our seats to promote upcoming events. Usually sent to print on Tuesdays or Wednesdays once we have defined our plan on Monday.
ANNOUNCEMENT LOWER THIRDS
The lower thirds we display to our online community. These usually follow our seasonal look and display our MCs, as well as information during announcements. These are defined by Monday and reviewed on Wednesday.
CULTURE ROOM LOWER THIRDS
Culture Room is the pre-service experience for our online community. Our Culture Room lower thirds follow the same play as our announcement lower thirds, but with a distinct art direction.
The screen graphics displayed during our in-service announcements. These are defined by Monday and reviewed by Wednesday. They follow our seasonal look, but we rotate between five different versions each week to maintain variety across the four months of the season.
The screen graphics displayed during our sermons. Sermon details (titles and notes) are usually shared on Saturday nights, but our team produces templates in advance that can be edited quickly when the time comes.
A relatively new addition for our team, this is the first visual element our online community sees before joining church online. This design usually follows our seasonal look and rotates weekly.
After our first livestream service of the day, we give people the opportunity to watch our Sunday service on demand. When our first service ends, we create a new thumbnail with a photo of the day’s speaker to create a distinction between our live stream and our on-demand playback. These designs follow our seasonal look.
At the end of each Sunday, we trim our services so only the day’s sermon remains online. These thumbnails are designed on Sunday, but, unlike our on-demand thumbnails, they follow our sermon look.
Every Sunday, we edit excerpts from the day’s sermon to post on social media throughout the week. Our Design Team produces two main elements for these posts: thumbnails that our Film Team places at the beginning of each clip to serve as the main image on our Instagram feed and swipe-up templates that our Film Team animates once clips are added.
Every Monday morning, a post goes up encouraging our community to listen to our podcast or watch our sermon online. These posts usually follow our sermon look, but we try to create variety by drawing inspiration from our Sunday sermon and looking for ways to make these designs unique.
Similar to our podcast post, these posts go up every Sunday evening. We often work within our sermon look for these designs, but always seek creative ways to encourage people to apply the day’s message to their lives that week. This post is a collaborative effort between our Design and Social Media teams.
These systems and standards are always in flux. We are constantly looking for ways to make them better—either with little tweaks or through a full system overhaul. Our rhythms don’t need to be your rhythms, but I would encourage you not to tackle each week or each asset alone. Take some time to zoom out and look at the bigger picture, then create a plan of attack. A little consideration goes a long way. If you will take some time to systematize your creative work, you will create margin in your schedule to do more of the work you love and avoid lots of frustration and lost time. God has placed incredible creative gifts within you. It is your job to maximize the thing he has placed in your hands. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with everything you’ve got!