The church has historically been known as an innovator in the arts, creating visual masterpieces, in addition to literature and the performing arts. However, today it seems the vast majority of innovators in visual arts come from the corporate world, creating stirring and iconic images to promote their messages and products. So why is the modern church a place where visual arts are often neglected, and graphic design, in particular, is severely underutilized? What is it that today’s corporate world understands about the beauty and usefulness of graphic design that the church doesn’t?
First impressions are important. They set the stage for our subsequent experiences, priming us to interpret and incorporate further information into a cognitive structure built on very limited information. So what about first impressions of the church?
Websites have come a long way since the first one was created by Tim Berners-Lee, a British Physicist, over 20 years ago (check out CNN’s article from the 20th anniversary of its release). From videos to dynamic graphics, modern websites have the capacity to dazzle the average visitor with visual acrobatics that were impossible to achieve at the Web’s infancy. However, while an aesthetically pleasing website may be impressive and initially draw attention, a church’s site doesn’t really accomplish its goal unless it also effectively communicates the information visitors are seeking.