It is interesting to try and put this out there in words.
First of all, what is a Christian designer?
I am not talking about a decoupaged copy of Durer’s praying hands. In fact, I am not talking about so-called “Christian art” at all. What we are concerned with here are Christians whose calling is design or art. In other words, believers in Jesus who are convinced that their place in the world is a designer or artist.
So, what does it mean that we are called to minister with our design skills and creative abilities?
One of my major life-changing events was the discovery that commercial art (as opposed to fine art) is a service to your clients — it is a ministry. I was taught in school that commercial art (what we now call graphic design) was prostitution. It is selling your self to the highest bidder. It is dispensing your skills for money. Horrors!
Of course, that was a lie. The truth is that fine art is self-centered ego expression unless you can truly get those temptations under the control of the Holy Spirit. Graphic design, on the other hand, is ministry to your clients — helping them communicate the truth about their company clearly and accurately.
Obviously, my current position is 180° from what I was taught at the University of Minnesota in the late 1960s. It’s been a long, arduous road. Though it has been a straight and narrow path, from my end (at the time) it seems incredibly convoluted, twisted, gnarly, and impossible to predict. So, my goal is to encourage believers who are struggling with these issues.
So, I’ll finish this brief note with a few questions:
- Why do you design?
- What is the source of your creativity?
- What are you called to do?
These questions will start the process. For years my ministry has been teaching graphic design. Now it seems to be headed in a new direction. It’ll be interesting to see where it all ends up.