My communications medium of choice is graphic design. I like to organize elements in a visually appealing and easy to understand manner. This is part of how I express my deep passion for clear and honest communication. (My other areas of expression are more personal and do not necessarily pertain to my career goals.) I eagerly desire to be a good communicator who uses her talents to glorify God, the giver of all good gifts.
The Bible clearly tells us that people are made in the image of God and this includes his role as a creator (see Genesis 1:26). We should allow our uniqueness as humans show aspects of who God is by creating and communicating in a manner that only we can do. Humans were created with distinctive abilities that animals do not have and each person has been given a specific role in God’s plan and a particular perspective that no other human being can share precisely. This gives me the special opportunity to showcase God’s glory in the way that I live my life and proclaim truth, whether this be through spending one-on-one time with people, writing encouraging or challenging letters, singing songs where the lyrics matter, or intentionally organizing written and visual material so the purpose and message are clear.
“The Christian faith presents us with a vision of created existence possessing its own latent orderliness and meaning, and that a crucial part of human creativity is to be attentive to that inherent order, to discover it and bring it to light.” (Begbie 209)
Creativity is in the very nature of God; it’s not just what He does (see John 1:1-3, Colossians 1:15-17, 1 Corinthians 8:6). God delights in creation and calls it good because it reflects who He is (see Revelation 4:11, Psalm 19:1-4, Genesis 1:31). And since this is so, and that we are made in the image of God, creating is a part of our very nature as human beings. However, this gift is not to be used solely for one’s own individual purposes or satisfaction, but rather for the good of the body of Christ (as all spiritual gifts are – see 1 Corinthians 12). Although having positive or “Christian” messages in our art and design is good, it is not always necessary, for the act of creating itself glorifies God in that it reflects who He is, the Creator.
Most of the explicit references to “design” in the Bible revolve around the design of the temple/tabernacle and the craftsmen that were chosen to embellish it as God had planned (He even inspired some of them by the Holy Spirit). (See Exodus 31-35 and 2 Chronicles) But if you think back to the beginning after God’s marvelous acts of creation, He commanded Adam to name the animals (see Genesis 2:19-20). This is one use of human creativity clearly shown in the Bible. There are plenty of evil uses of creativity and design in the Bible as well. Just think of how many idols and other pagan symbols of worship are recorded in Scripture (see Acts 17:29).
God is a God of order and He is sovereign, there is no uncontrolled chaos in His universe. It honors Him when people create order out of disorder, and meaning out of confusion; for this is what He Himself does. God is also a Beautiful God; He loves to make glorious things. He is the master engineer of the most intricate things in nature. And we are imitators of Him. We take pleasure in seeing beauty and creating it. This is part of my passion.
One can also find biblical principles for advertising and promotion throughout the pages of Scripture. “From Moses to Paul, persuasion has always been at the heart of God’s plan, and persuasion is also at the heart of advertising. … To move people toward shalom, God-followers practice persuasion, a gift that enables faithful human beings by grace to bring ultimate love and hope to those who need it.” (Schultze and Woods 219) The goal of evangelization is to persuade people to understand and accept the truth, to draw them to Jesus. Ultimately, the apostle Paul’s guidelines give us clear direction in the use of persuasion and media: “morality (refrain from gratuitous sex, violence, profanity; protect innocent children; combat materialism), truthfulness (state truthful messages and be true to your audience as your neighbor), and beauty (delight audiences with well-crafted, pleasant, fun, and attractive messages). Above all, believers are to worship the Creator, not the creation.” (Schultze and Woods 223)
In so many areas of art and communications there are biblical precedents and helpful rules of thumb for not allowing them to corrupt your beliefs or integrity. In graphic design one must always keep these principles in mind in order to use such God-given gifts for His glory and not another’s or one’s own.
Begbie, Jeremy. Voicing Creation’s Praise: Towards a Theology of the Arts. New York, New York: T&T Clark, 1991.
Schultze, Quentin J. and Robert H. Woods Jr. Understanding Evangelical Media: The Changing Face of Christian Communication. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 2008.
The Holy Bible.