I'm excited to introduce you all to a good friend of mine, Chris Tripputi. Chris and I have known each other since Kindergarten and have had the privilege of serving together in ministry for many years. Currently Chris serves as the Online Church Director with me at Community Bible Church as well as running a fully functioning creative agency for churches, My Square Creative. Here's my interview with Chris Tripputi:
How did you get started in Graphic Design and what do you recommend for people wanting to get started?
My path so far has been unique and a bit unexpected. Upon graduating from Texas Christian University with a Radio, Television and Film degree, I had zero intentions of ever getting into graphic design. I landed my first job as a youth pastor and inherited a computer filled with all the creative bells and whistles, with essentially anything I would ever need to effectively tell a story. Weeks into the job, I realized the need to learn how to navigate through certain design programs in order to complete the tasks I needed to perform. After some time of simply opening the programs and poking around, I started to pick up on the basics and simply built on that. Thankfully for me, there were two people close by that served as mentors who helped open my eyes to a new way of expressing my creativity. I owe a lot to those two people who invested in me and helped me along the way. If it were not for them and the opportunities presented to me at that church, I do not know where I would be today.
As for what I would recommend to someone wanting to get started, I would simply say, “dive in.” In today’s world, with information and online tutorials literally at our fingertips, we can learn anything about anything. Just dive in. Develop an appetite for learning new things and leverage the different resources at your disposal – the Internet, design books, design blogs and tutorials – just to name a few. Also, be sure to surround yourself with people you trust, that you look up to from a creative standpoint – shadow them, ask questions and absorb as much as you can.
What do you recommend for a church without a graphic designer or even a budget to hire an external graphic designer on contract?
Unfortunately, this is a tension I have noticed for quite some time - the tension from a church wanting to put forth quality design elements but not having the appropriate funds to make it happen. After years of operating as a freelance graphic designer and providing small churches with design help, I found this tension to be more of the norm rather than the exception. Instantly it became a passion of mine to see the small church benefit from an affordable and efficient approach to quality design.
After years of addressing this tension alone, a friend of mine and I got together to see if there was anything we could do to help and from that conversation birthed the idea behind the company we started – My Square Creative. We launched our design company with the intent to help the local church by providing them with creative teams without the hassle of hiring a full-time staff person.
Two years into this venture, our goal continues to be to provide churches with mega-church design quality with a small-church budget. We acknowledge the problem that exists among churches today and we want to be a part of the solution. We desire to leverage technology in such a way that allows us to offer a service that helps churches foster authentic community and life change within their congregation, their neighborhood and their city.
For a church entertaining the idea of hiring a full-time staff member or reaching out to the local freelance graphic artist, my recommendation would be to consider a different option - an option that may make sense for both the short term and long term, and maybe most importantly from a financial standpoint.
When getting started branding a church where do you begin and what are the essential design elements (website, bulletin, etc.) that a church needs to consider when it comes to design?
When I enter into the branding process with a church, an understanding of who they are and what makes them tick is key. Once I can wrap my mind around their DNA, it becomes easier to identify what’s next and the steps necessary to effectively tell their story. Each church is unique in regards to how they go about their operations and the ministries they offer, so must be the initial approach to the branding process. The branding process in general is just that - a process. In fact, it’s the process that will either set a church on its way (branding) or help them change course (rebranding), but most importantly establish the foundation of who they are and what they are about moving forward.
In regards to what design elements a church must consider when it comes to design, nothing is off the table. Each element of design serves as a different vehicle to help communicate information and tell one’s story. A website is certainly a main piece to the overall puzzle, but not the only thing to consider. Allocating the time to thoroughly develop each element – overall branding, different ministry logos, website, outdoor signage, bulletin, etc. – will pave the way for strategic implementation, as well as create opportunities for the church to maximize their imprint within the community.