Is it Hard Being a Christian Graphic Designer?

Christian Graphic Designer image

I was emailed by another Christian Graphic Designer, like myself. I’ll keep his name anonymous for privacy reasons, but this post shows a large part of the email he sent to me. Below, I’ve attempted to answer his questions about regarding his concerns of Christians in the design field. I’m showing this so that other designers can benefit from further discussions that may pursue. Here goes:

The Email and my Reply…

Email: Hello, I am also a Christian graphic designer/ illustrator. I’ve been freelancing for my church- making flyers, a tract, logo designs for their youth and young adult ministries. Although, I am grateful for the opportunities they have given me. However, I’ve been finding it very difficult to find paying graphic design jobs. I’m a recent graduate, but it seems that I’m getting nowhere with my chosen career. I too had made the decision to put God first in my career, even made my logo to symbolize that Jesus comes first.

To be honest with you I thought I was the only one. I haven’t come across a graphic designer who put Jesus all over their work, until I came across your website. So I just wanted to ask you, do you design exclusively for Christians? When did you decide to put God first in your portfolio? Have you been finding it difficult to be a Christian graphic designer as opposed to just following the crowd?

Reply: I don’t exclusively for Christians because to be honest, I don’t think the market is big enough to sustain to income of a freelance designer in general. I’m sure this is possible with the right connections, and especially if a Christian designer had large repeat-clients. But in my opinion, much of the “Christian work” actually goes out to non-Christian designers. Indeed, I have seen this happen online. I reckon the amount of Christians who seek a Christian designer is relatively small; this is the way things go. After all, Christian clients want great work and reasonable prices, so you cant blame them for using ‘secular freelances’ and companies in one respect. However, I really do think that Churches should use Christian designers.

I’m glad you you have decided to put God first regarding your design skills, however, at the moment you’re still in the same boat as all new graduates. Most students find it hard to get work straight out of Uni/College, so don’t get too discouraged. To get paid design jobs you’re going to have to work at it like everyone else. It’s not a Christian verses non-Christian issue. My advice is set up a blog and post regular content which will attract clients. In one sense, you’ll be at a disadvantage marketing yourself as a Christian designer, but in another sense, you’ll be in an advantageous situation as well, as Christian clients should be able to find you easier.

Email: The reason I ask, is because lately I’ve been doubting whether I made the right choice to put Jesus first in my work. I never really set out to be a graphic designer exclusively for Christians, I guess I just wanted to be able to put Him first in my work because that was what I believed He wanted me to do. I guess I wanted to please God, but it has been a struggle. Especially when I see others who don’t put God first, they are succeeding, and I’m not. Thank you for standing out of the crowd, and thank you for taking the time to read this. God bless.

I always wanted to use my skills for the LORD Jesus Christ, and initially I set out to only design for Christians. I had a previous site that was a total failure, and I never got any work. I had a re-think and prayed about the situation, and eventually (about 4 years ago) decided to split my ”online presence’ into 2 main separate sites. I now run this blog for mainly Christian work, and my other site, Andrew Kelsall Design which is aimed at general clientele, which includes Christians.

So, to conclude, is it hard being a Christian Graphic Designer? Yes and no. Yes, it’s hard in respect to people not hiring you because you’re a Christian, but then again─are these people the type of clients you want anyway? No. In another respect, setting yourself apart as a Christian designer should make you much easier to be located by Churches and other Christian organisations who want your services.

The main thing is this. If it’s God’s will that you pursue Christian design, that’s the main thing to consider. As with all things, the key is relationship with Jesus and understanding His will for you life.

Any questions or comments? Please leave them below…

(These comments are from when this post was originally on my other site, which is now merged with this one…

Comments:

Andrew Kelsall: @Eva – like with all things, these issues need to be prayed over, as like you say, every situation is different. I’ve even turned down work for Christian Ministries! God Bless…

BENZENO: infact am so short of words ……and i thank The lord God for revealing this website on google for me.
Am from Ghana 21 years old of age and graduaded from high school last year .
Well am a young motion design artist as well as a graphic design too .I just took Jesus as my lord and personal savior and i realy want to put God first in my whole life .But you know in africa things are not actually easy.Although i dont work for now but i practise and learn everything at home. you can check out my facebook site https://www.facebook.com/ And also i am with a group in the domain of graphics in which we work together so imagine if i tell them about my good new because we just started
i realy dont know what to do now cus my friends will not be realy ungry with me
So am begging you guys because i need strong advices for my job too thank you very much. thank you

Ajibola J.O: Got useful advice here…truly being a christian designer will streamline our clients as jobs wld have to be censored…every calling has its peculiar challenges…in all do all to the glory of God everywhere…

Eva: Hi I really liked this post but when I clicked on it I expected something different. I thought maybe my questions had been ask but they haven’t so I wanted to ask you what I thought this post was going to address lol. How does one deal being a Christian in the world of graphic design? NOT in terms of only doing Christian designs but what I mean is how do I deal with being offered, for example, opportunities to work with agencies that design for top notch companies like Coca-Cola who we know are exploiting workers or whose drinks give cancer? How does one stand as a Christian here? Should one simply not take the job b/c its just obvious that as a Christian its wrong b/c I’ll be aiding in promoting cancerous drinks and exploiting workers, or is it not obvious b/c really with this messed up world theres nothing that I can do? I mean thats just one example. I hope my question is clear enough. Responses would be appreciated! I’m really battling with this issue as a Christian! Thank you Andrew and everyone else in advance for your responses, God bless you 🙂

Sara: In reply to aaron.

Just as God gives us the gifts to design ad materials, he gives those who need advertising gifts as well. Gifts to make beautiful cars, toys, furniture…. many product designs are inspired by God and we should respect that. Each day I try to read His word before I start working. Each day I pray that he enhance my talents to help others in order to glorify Him. We all face moral dilemmas in this business, but no matter what choices we may make, God understands our limited reasoning in making them. And He is a merciful and forgiving God. I’ve been designing for nearly 30 years… since before digital and I’m still creating fresh stuff… because it pleases God.

From Ecclesiasticus / Sirach – 38: 27
“So with every engraver and designer who, laboring night and day, Fashions carved seals, and whose concern is to vary the pattern. His care is to produce a vivid impression, and he keeps watch till he finishes his design.”

When you make a beautiful ad that inspires someone to buy a beautiful toy for a wonderful child… love flows through it. Just let love flow through it, no matter what it is.

Jonathan Coffin: In reply to Barabasi Istvan.

Steven is right! Thank you.

I’m currently looking for position that will enable me to teach or help a (Christian) overseas company in graphic design. I feel like we have so much here in Cali. So far all I know is that I’m called to serve. Just not sure where yet.

Andrew Kelsall: In reply to Robert.

Hi Robert, apologies for the delay in replying to you comment. I agree that politics should be kept out of the Church, for the most part, that is. My understanding of Jesus throwing the money changers out of the temple is that they were ripping people off. They needed to be there for the supply of sacrificial animals, etc, but over time they become greedy and were “robbers”. Correct me if I’m wrong! Anyway, it’s sad to hear about the print shop situation, but many Christians also do business just find. We need to all be filled with the Holy Spirit…

Barabasi Istvan: Brothers,we should not forget that that the Apostle Paul, his been working for the Roman Army,making tents.And the Roman Army was very pagan in that period until the conversion of Constantine.
And he said that he lived like a Greek to win the Greek.
And also when he preached to the Athenians, at the and of the sermon they realized that he is a Christian.
If we have the light in us, it will show our works without any effort.
God Bless
Steven

Robert: *I’m sorry if this is a bit of a rant, I don’t want to mis-communicate the idea that churches are bad or anything like that.*

The sleaziest person I have ever worked for had two main clientele at his print shop, real-estate agents and churches. This man would proudly and publicly proclaim how he’d print “how to kill Jews” flyers for Hitler if he was a paying customer, needless to say I didn’t stay there long. It continually amazes me how political churchs are and how much they consciously decide not to support Christian business. A perfect example is the print shop I mentioned, we had a competitor that was a member of their congregation who had a print shop the same size as us, he had even offered a discounted rate as a service to the church, but they chose to pay more to the print shop i worked for because in their words “if there ever was a mistake with the printing we wouldn’t want to loose him as a member of our congregation”. My employer ridiculed and mocked that business owner to no-end over this. While I can understand the churches view point, that doesn’t make the decision any less absurd and horrendously overly PC. over the last few years i’ve become aware of the amount of politic-ing that goes on in Churches and it is disappointing to say it lightly. Hopefully your experiences are different … this isn’t by everyone, but it continually amazes me how many Christians look at christian business as bad, and how much the Church goes out of its way to use non-Christian businesses and discourages Christian to Christian business.

Maybe Christian to Christian business has ripped churches apart before, but if you look at “the Shepherds guide” Christian phone book in Vancouver Canada its the size of a post card and maybe 75 pages long. The east Indian business phone book is the same size as a fat old school yellow pages from the early 90s … and they have more than one! I cant think of any other group of people that discourages business within their community as much as Christians do. Jesus threw the money changers and merchants out of the church, but the bible is full of entrepreneurs … Jesus’s was a carpenter and I’d bet he was self-employed.

Andrew Kelsall: In reply to Ruben Nunez.

Hi Ruben,

Thanks for your valuable advice. It’s filled with a lot of Godly Wisdom!

I’ve had your site bookmarked for a couple of years now, and have tweeted out your posts a few times — so keep up the good work!

It’s good to make this connection with you. I’m sure we’ll correspond at some point in the future regarding some more design issues, etc…

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