These days we’ve got used to huge, billboard adverts showing high-resolution, colour images of glamorous models alongside snappy one-liners that aim to sell us upmarket products. Alongside those, our church’s black and white, A4 photocopied posters that may – at best – include some clip-art images or line drawings look incredibly dated. We put one poster on a church noticeboard that is too far away from the pavement for people to read, even if they tried. And then we wonder why people didn’t know about our church event….! Creating posters with more of an impact and using them effectively is vital if we want to publicise our events better. There are ideas on how to do this in the book, as well as some examples here.
As in many other areas of communication, the image you use is vital. First of all, do use a photo rather than an item of clip-art or a line drawing. Then choose your image carefully. This poster (left) was designed to advertise a family fun day run by Portsmouth’s Anglican diocese, so it made sense to show a happy child enjoying an ice-cream on a summer’s day. Before anyone even reads the text, they know what’s being offered. Note also that the bare minimum of text is used.
Here’s another poster that uses a strong image. The play – What’s So Amazing About Grace? – is about God’s grace, and the use of a cross here tells us that. But using a projection of a cross onto a wall gives it a more modern feel. Note how the wording is carefully placed here so that you can still see the most important parts of the image (the person’s head and the cross itself), and note how the colour of the main heading matches the colour of the cross.
Here’s another poster that relies on a powerful image for its impact. It’s the crowd at Fratton Park, home of Portsmouth Football Club, who are renowned for their passionate support. “Portsmouth til I die” is a slogan that reflects that passion. But, the poster asks, what happens then? It advertises the ecumenical Portsmouth churches website, which contains information about every single church in the city. As with the best billboard adverts, there’s no explanation about what the ‘product’ is – the creators of this poster assume that those who read it are media-savvy enough to realise that they can log on to the site if they want to know more. So there’s no need for more explanatory text.
Once you’ve decided what your top priority is (see strategy), it’s worth investing some money in professionally printing a set of posters advertising that event. You may not be able to do so for every event your church runs, but it’s certainly worth doing for the once-a-year evangelistic event, holiday club or mission week. You may need to find someone who can take a photo of something appropriate to provide you with an appropriate image for your poster, but it’s worth that effort to create something with real impact. If you can afford colour printing, do use it.
Then there’s the question of what you do with your posters. If you’ve bothered to print them professionally, you’re likely to have several hundred of them, which means you can hand them out to your congregation. They can put them in their windows at home or at work, stick them up in their car, ask permission to pin them up in community centres and so on. The idea is that people in your neighbourhood will see those posters wherever they go. And if you can afford to produce leaflets in the same design, do so – and make sure they are distributed across your community too.
There are loads more ideas about posters in the book ‘100 Ways To Get Your Church Noticed’. Details here.