Design and the Church

Each month, we post a series of blogs around a common topic. This month, we’ve asked some of our 2016 National Gathering workshop presenters to share their thoughts on their importance of their workshops in today’s context. Jess Fisher is one of our presenters. Learn more about her workshop at the end of this post. We invite you to join the conversation here, on Facebook, or Twitter!

by Jess Fisher

Did you know there’s a connection between toilet paper and church websites?

A few weeks ago, I went into a grocery store to pick up some toilet paper. Now, this wasn’t my usual grocery store, where I tend to get the store brand items, so I had to choose what kind to get. My wishlist: cheap, soft, but not too thick. Well, I got to the aisle and froze.

Overwhelmed with information and choice, I stood paralyzed, looking at the multitude of options from super fluffy to super strong, not really trusting the bright bubble letter labels about what was inside the packages boasting the best wipe ever. I could not choose.

What was supposed to be a 30 second swipe of the shelf had become five minutes standing there like a deer in headlights…for toilet paper.

If it is this hard to choose something simple like toilet paper, how much harder is it to choose and commit to a church?

We live in an information-saturated world where the average person makes 35,000 decisions a day. One of the church’s roles is to guide and support people as they make daily decisions to live in the way of Jesus. As leaders, we are asking and hoping for people to make a commitment to invest themselves into our faith communities. We rely on online and print communications to do this work, but our communications are often illegible, unappealing, and outdated, all far worse than that of our favorite purveyor of paper goods.

What if we intentionally used our communications to help people find Sabbath rest from the information overload and decision fatigue of the modern world? Can we use communication and design theory to organize, simplify, and prioritize the information we send out?

Yes, we can!

I love graphic design because it solves a problem. Good design can change the way we interact with each other and with our neighbors. It provides a structure and process for looking at our context, organizing information, and presenting it in a simple, legible, and accessible way.

At my workshop at the NEXT Church National Gathering, “The Medium is the Message: Good Design for the Church,” we’ll explore:

  • the theory and theology of why design matters in the church,
  • how design thinking and processes can structure our communications,
  • tips and tricks for better design,
  • resources and tools to implement this at home, and
  • how to work with a designer.

I hope to see you there!

Jess FisherJess Fisher, a liturgical artist and graphic designer, brings the visual arts into the church, hoping to help others find new connections with the Holy One in and around them. Follow Jess at

Jess’ workshop is called “The Medium is the Message: Good Design for the Church” and is offered during workshop block 1 on Monday.