A few years ago, I was asked to come home and speak at my home congregation in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Every year, they have something called Plumb Full Sunday with the purpose of getting the building “plumb full” of visitors. As a child growing up there, I didn’t realize we were unique and I was stunned to hear that other congregations didn’t celebrate what I perceived to be a religious holiday. I’ve asked a little about the etymology of the name without much success. Maybe I’ll earn something this Sunday. When their preacher reached out to me, he gave me some topics they’d like to hear – Jesus the Friend, Jesus the Savior, and Jesus the King. I got the first choice, so I selected Jesus the Savior. I love the topics and I love what opportunities it gave me graphically.

I knew I wanted something simple, yet powerful. I wanted something that would elevate Christ, but also keep Him approachable. I started googling images of Jesus and got the expected results. Nothing was really working, so I started digging deeper. I went to my Shutterstock account and searched Jesus to find several results that were much closer to what I wanted. An image didn’t seem to work but a vector did. Below is the plain vector file of Jesus that I chose.

The simple black-and-white worked perfectly alongside the visually gripping look of the Savior. While I completely understand we don’t really know what Jesus looked like, this seemed to be a reasonable composite of my expectations – and what I believe most people’s expectations as well. I started with something simple:

This is where my design process sometimes gets in the way. I love that design but felt it was missing something. I reached out to a couple of friends I trust and asked them to critique it. I asked them to be brutally honest (and surprisingly enough) they came to the same conclusion. The image and the text need to be separated. Even though I loved it like it was when they both brought up the same thing, it made me think something should be done. I shrunk the face and moved it to the top of the slide while also shrinking the font and moving it to the bottom of the slide which produced this image:

I knew they were on to something after I saw this design. They were right and I’m thankful they saw something I didn’t. A little more touch-up was needed so I added two filters. The first was one behind the face to give it a grunge look just like the text. That gave me this look:

The second filter was of a starry sky overlaid on top of everything and then heavily washed out by lowering its opacity. That gave me this final look for the title slide:

When all was said and done, I absolutely love this design. It’s still simple, yet I believe incredibly powerful as well. I believe it says a lot while not having to be busy or distracting from my sermon. Sometimes, less is more with the right touches.

Written by Neal Mathis
Written by Neal Mathis

Founder and Editor who longs to one day be a scruffy-looking nerf herder.