3 Ways to Make Sermon Slides Look Better
Accompanying a sermon with visuals helps to clarify and drive home the message exponentially. That’s what sermon slides are for. It’s meant to reinforce the message and give an easy-to-digest summary of the main points of the sermon.
But sermon slides aren’t always helpful. In fact, in many instances they can detract from the message. Bad design, poor font choice, improperly sized text, too much/too little text, lack of flow, poor color contrast… I can keep going, but I’ll stop there. Point is – poorly designed sermon slides can completely throw off your church congregation. So how do you make them look better?
3 Ways to Make Sermon Slides Look Better
It’s not just about making them “look better”. Obviously, the visual appeal is important, but while design is a key element, the ultimate goal is to create sermon slides in your church’s presentation software that get the message across effectively.
Here are a few ideas on how to make your church’s sermon slides look better:
Text Contrast Ratios
Legibility of text is often a huge issue with sermon slides. If you’ve never heard of text contrast ratios, now might be the time to research them. Here’s a short summary of it:
WCAG 2.0 AA compliance was created for websites to gauge how legible their text is based on text-to-background color contrast as well as text size. The details of how the number ratio is calculated is rather boring and unimportant, but what is important is that you check out many of the online text contrast ratio calculators. Use them when creating sermon slides with colored backgrounds or light text to get a feel for what will be easy to read for your congregation. If you have many elderly people in your congregation, you’ll want to be especially vigilant of this. We’d recommend you aim for a contrast ratio minimum of 3.5 for large text and a minimum of 4.5 for small text.
Of course, after you get a handle on how the calculator works and what colors contrast well with each other, you don’t need to test your color choices every time. Just aim for high legibility with elderly people, visually impaired people, and back-of-the-auditorium congregation members in mind! If people are squinting all the time to read your sermon slides, that should be an obvious cue that something needs to change.
More Slides is Better Than More Text
Nothing tunes out a congregation quite like an entire 4-5 line paragraph on your church screens. You have a lot to say and communicate, and you feel that all of it is important to put up at the same time – we get it. Everyone feels that way about their sermons. But more text on the screen does not lead to more engagement, internalization, and understanding of the message. In fact, too much text on a single slide does the opposite – people get impatient and tune out.
So how do you solve it? Obviously, the most important thing to do with a robust sermon is to find the major takeaways and just list those on the screen. But if you truly have too much even after trimming the slides down, start breaking it apart to various slides.
Instead of one slide with eight points, make it two slides with four points. Break down a long paragraph to two shorter phrases. Make it digestible for your congregation.
Match the Design Motif of the Sermon Series Graphic
Your sermon series graphic should be the driving design force behind all your church sermon slides (that’s also why it’s so important to invest extra time in designing a really great sermon series graphic).
This isn’t just about making the slides look consistent and pretty. Congregation members are making cognitive associations between the message preached and the visuals on the screen. If you have a sermon series, you obviously want them to remember this week’s sermon by next Sunday, the one after that, the one after that, and so on so forth.
If you keep changing the design motif – the colors, text, text size, bullet point style, slide flow, etc. – people will subconsciously focus on the message as a new message while letting down their guard about remembering last week’s sermon.
However, if you keep the design consistent by using the same type of style in your slides for all sermons in the same sermon series, people will walk in, see the slides, and more accurately recall information from the week before. Our brains work that way. We’re constantly making connections between visuals and words, and something as simple as design repetition can help us to recall a prior week’s sermon series to keep us focused and alert during the message.
About the Author
Chris Fleming is a professional musician from Minneapolis, MN who has played with artists such as TAYA, Big Daddy Weave, and Jason Gray. He is actively involved with the worship music scene and has contributed as a drummer, music director, song writer, and producer for various worship artists and churches locally and nationally. Chris is the Motion Designer at Motion Worship, helping to create motion background collections and countdowns for our subscribers.