In part one of this two-part article, I touched on the low hanging fruit that can yield greater results because of your planning. How you organize and prepare can help set in motion the creative projects in your ministry. Here are some more specifics areas where you can easily take your creativity to the next level.

Graphic Design:

I’ve used Photoshop since it was available for install on a floppy disk, but because I’m not a trained graphic designer I often lean on graphic subscriptions to spur my creativeness when designing. CreationSwap, Graceway Media and similar subscriptions allow me to find color schemes, font selections, and even overall themes for my projects.

You may say, “But that’s not creative, but I would counter with this quote:

“Good artists borrow, great artists steal”

Now, don’t simply copy – that’s not creative. But take inspiration from what others have created. Begin to understand color combinations, if you’re advanced, begin using color.adobe.com for your color schemes. You can also find font selections on type.adobe.com.

Video/Motion Designer:

I can speak directly to this creative area for easy wins. Let’s begin our video work with great audio. That’s right, forget how cool your video looks, if your audio is bad – it’s all bad. Look to premiumbeat.com to get some awesome tracks. Use your audio bed to move your story along. Dramatic, energetic, etc… your audio (or lack of) will go a long way in telling your story.

Most recently, I came across filmstro.com. I believe this resource is only available for Adobe Premier users, however, I read somewhere that it’s coming to Final Cut Pro (my favorite). Check out the site, but this resource is akin to creating your music bed or soundtrack, but on steroids – dynamically. You choose when it peaks, crescendos (or not), stops, continues. I know I’m not making any sense. But, check out the link. I’m thinking of using Premier just to use this tool.

As with graphic design above, look to others for inspiration. I like mediastorm.com.

Another thing to consider when working on new video projects, especially testimonials or other storytelling projects, is to find a look for yourself. Some creatives refer to this as your “look” or “style”. Create a consistent look for your segments (ex. intro/outro). This allows you to replicate them, but think more about the story. Yes, sounds counterintuitive, “think of your look, but it’s really about the story.” When you’ve got your “look” down, all the tech issues go away and now you’re just concentrating on the more important aspect of your segment – the story.

Social Media/Web Work:

An easy win for online content is to develop your communications calendar or editorial calendar. Seems daunting, but it really isn’t. Think about it, if you knew what you were going to post & when most of the hard work has been done. Now, because you know what you’re going to post, design becomes your priority.

Make your website the hub of your online communications. I train the houses of worship and para-church ministries I consult with to do this exact same thing. Especially if there is limited staff or budget to work with, and who really has an unlimited online budget. I recommend coschedule.com for scheduling social posts if you run a blog. There are others, but that’s my go-to tool. Scheduling my event/news posts on my site and repurposing them to other communication channels “natively” is amazing. CoSchedule allows you to post to Facebook, Twitter, and others natively.

Have you ever heard of Photoshop Artboards? Designing content for various channels can mean an assortment of sizing templates, perhaps with brand specific content too. But having to move from file to file is gross. Photoshop Artboards allow you to see all your different templates together in one place and be able to move from Facebook to Twitter to Instagram, etc… easily and efficiently. You can see how your different designs will look in different platforms all in one place, at the same time, and when finished, export them all for your use.

I hope these tips help you save time and effort with your creative tasks. Saving time on projects gives us more time for other projects or more time for family. Either way, both rock. However, all of the above can give you easy wins that will spur your creativity.