“Why should Christian design be so ugly? "

The subject is sometimes divisive in the churches, but come on! I dare to jump in and ask the angry question: why should Christian design - the one you see on posters, postcards, or illustrations in general - be so ugly, or at least so old fashioned? I'm a bit of a tease, I'll grant you that.

Dn the usual Christian imagery, there are the scenes that evoke a biblical illustration: a shepherd with his flock, a sheaf of wheat, or a loaf of bread on the table. When we want to photograph the innocence of the child who listens to Jesus, we are going to stage, oh surprise, a child if possible wise and very cute that all grandmothers would dream of having. The graphic universe that surrounds these representations is often the same as that which could have been found 20, 30 years ago, or even much more. The rural environment, not very high-tech of the Bible, certainly has a lot to do with it.

Inevitably, what we find to decorate annex rooms of churches, or Christian vacation centers, are often these same posters with mimosa flowers or little cats. And, although I have cats myself and mimosa is one of my favorite scents, let's face it that while these posters touch some people, they also turn off a lot.

This lack of taste - or at least this lack of appetite for the trends of the moment - coupled with a recurring lack of resources, means that we are often content to tinker with what we can by tweaking on Photoshop, when it is not. is not on Word! And it all ended up permeating our Christian culture.

But it is possible to be more daring than that in graphic matters!

Fortunately, we see some really cool things emerging. In my activity, over the past few years, I have seen a lot of graphic designers who have started to imagine more contemporary things, and they are not always followed by the way. I'm only going to name two (but there are others, don't worry).

The first is the great job that the communication agency is doing. Progressive Media. I'm not saying this to advertise them, but it's true that the graphic quality of their work, in recent years, has really helped raise the average level of Christian visuals, and I have also appealed to to their services to design the site of Paul & Zipporah. The second is the brand iconova, which I discovered 3 months ago and which released postcards and stationery that are objectively beautiful: things that we are not ashamed to show, to display. It's class, it's trendy, it makes you want to. And then there are plenty of independent graphic designers who set up shop and who know how to keep up to date with current events and graphic developments. We are starting to do things that testify to a real good taste and a real anchoring in the present time. The downside is that you have to accept the idea that what is beautiful and classy today will be outdated tomorrow.

This is certainly not the case for everything. As much some works are timeless: they liked yesterday, they will still please tomorrow. So many others require keeping up to date. I believe that we cannot have an optimum impact if we use the same graphic codes as in 1980, or even in 2000 or 2010. In an era where everything changes very quickly, it is imperative to adapt ourselves, or otherwise we take the risk of no longer being understood.

Let's get along well. We are only talking about form, not substance. The substance, the message that is transmitted, was current 2000 years ago, it is still current today, and it will be tomorrow.

For quite a few years, I have been immersed in the world of music called "Christian music". In this area, the delay that had accumulated at the beginning has largely been eliminated. We have very good Christian artists today who are able to compete with very good secular artists.

So if we managed to do it for the music, we should do it for the visual too, right?

Pascal Portoukalian

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