Best Church Artwork Sources For Church Service Backdrops & Lobby Signs
Designing a graphic for a large church lobby sign or church service backdrop is not the same as creating a church flyer, newsletter or sermon image for a projection screen. Large format printing requires high-resolution jpeg photographs or professional prepared vector graphic files. Trying to use an image from your church website or an image saved from a Google Image Search will not work well for this type of specialty printing.
The good news is you don’t have to be a professional graphic designer to get the high-quality, print-ready artwork that you need for great looking, modern displays for your portable church. There are helpful online stock art sites that can provide you with beautifully illustrated backgrounds for your worship backdrop or church signage.
Stock art should not be confused with “clip art.” Faith-based clip art usually is black and white illustrations with very little detail. Clip art great for making a quick flyer, but it is not ideal for large printing. Stock art is illustrations or photographs that professional artists license out for public use. Typically, you can purchase an image from a stock art site for as little as $10-$25 per download. A remarkable deal, considering custom illustrations by the same artists may easily cost you $350-$500.
To avoid getting overwhelmed entirely in your search for the perfect graphic for your contemporary church service backdrop, it helps to create a list of specific keywords that describe what you envision for your project. HINT: Many of the stock art sites can not only search by keyword of what you want in the image (i.e., “wood slat background,” “cross”), but you can also use search terms that describe a mood, feeling or style. Adding more description to your search (i.e., “strong,” “abstract,” “modern,” “fun,” “youthful”) will help you get to that perfect image quicker.
As you search for your image, it is also important to keep in mind the size and shape (ratio) of your final printed design. If your printed product is going to be square or rectangle, the graphic should be a similar shape. A graphic image that is not the same shape as the final printed display will need to be cropped (you will lose part of the image) to avoid “squishing” or “stretching” the image to fit the print space.
Once you found the image or images that you want for your project, the company that you are purchasing your sign or backdrop from should be able to assist in adding your logo, church name, or other text to the background image.
If you or a member of your congregation has Photoshop or other professional editing software, you may be able to edit the image yourself. Be sure to follow the sizing template provided by your printing company.
At Shows To Go Backdrops, we print hundreds of church service backdrops, temporary youth room walls, and displays for mobile and brick and mortar churches every month. A majority of the faith-based graphics for these projects use artwork from a stock art site. Here are the top 5 most popular sites that our customers use to find their images.
Shutterstock is one of the most popular general stock art websites on the internet. As of February 2019, the site offers an incredible. 249,492,278 images! A quick search of “church background” gave us 593,980 results. Their large database of images makes Shutterstock the perfect source for looking for a particular type of image. It is also a great site to use if you don’t know exactly what you are looking for and want to browse for inspiration. Browsing for inspiration on Shutterstock is better than doing it on Pinterest because if you see an image you like, you can buy that exact image (saving you lots of time and hassle).
The downside of the size of Shutterstock is that finding the perfect image can be a little like the proverbial “needle in a haystack.” Be sure to be specific in your search terms and use their advanced search filters to help narrow down your search quickly.
Currently, Shutterstock has image plans that at low as $14.50 per image when you purchase their lowest price plan for $29, which allows you to download any two images from their site. The downloads do have an expiration date, so don’t purchase more downloads that you think your church will use.
Lightstock is a stock art site dedicated solely to faith-based images for a variety of uses. They have rapidly grown in popularity over the past few years, and have been the Christian artwork source used by Focus on The Family, National Geographic, Harper Collins Books, and more. Lightstock has both vector and photographic images. Most of the images on LightStock are exclusive to the site. They feature lots of modern and trendy designs that will appeal to churches looking for a source for artwork to go with a modern worship service or youth ministry.
Lightstock images are purchased with “credits” that you buy in various packages. It costs about $12 to buy enough credits for one vector or jpg image. If you anticipate purchasing more files in the future, you can save money by buying a larger credit package. Unlike, Shutterstock’s downloads, Lightstock’s credits never expire.
We consider CreationSwap to be the hidden gem of top artwork sources for church service backdrops. Their website has many different types of graphics and multi-media files for live video streaming, church flyers, and more. Many of the assets are free for download or available for purchase starting at just a few dollars.
What impresses us most about CreationSwap is their selection of fresh and contemporary vector files. Although they currently only have around 400 files to choose from, many of the files they do have are ideal as the background graphic for modern church services or as an eye-catching lobby display to welcome guests to your church.
Additionally, CreationSwap has a section of “logos” that churches can use to help brand their youth programs, special events, or an upcoming worship series. Similar to the vector files found on the site, these church logo designs are contemporary and high quality, featuring on-trend minimalism and color palettes that will give your project lots of visual appeals.
iStock (formally iStockPhoto) is run by Getty Images, the world’s leading source for photographs and illustrations. They are at the top of the internet’s most visited stock art websites. Like Shutterstock, iStock is a virtually endless treasure trove of images for church projects. A search for “youth worship” brought us over 100 pages of pictures to browse.
Many artists license their artwork through several stock art sites, so it is possible that you will see some overlap in images that you find on iStock. If you are looking for something more unique, you may want to check iStock’s “Signature” images. Signature images are generally exclusive to iStock and are the highest quality images available in your search results.
iStock’s pricing starts at $12 for a single download from the “essentials” category, or $33 for a “signature” image. Photographs and illustrations by well-known photographers and artistic contributors can cost significantly more. There are plenty of image options, however, for budget-minded church projects.
Sharefaith is an all-in-one resource for multi-media and web templates, graphics, and presentation packages. Most of their stock art graphics are sized for use in worship PowerPoint presentations and on websites. There are, however, a growing number of images available that would be suitable for use in large format fabric printing for signage, etc.
Sharefaith operates on a membership format, so you pay a monthly or yearly fee to access all the content on their site. If your church is already a member of the site, it may be an excellent place to start your search for backdrop artwork.
The 5 sources above will give you the ability to browse hundreds of thousands of images to find the perfect artwork for your church's next display or church service backdrop. If you need some help with setting up your artwork file, at Shows To Go Backdrops, we have an in-house graphics department that is always happy to lend a hand in helping our customers put together the perfect graphics for their project. If you are curious if the graphics file that you found at a stock art site will print well on your new custom large fabric banner or backdrop, send it over to our art department, and we can give it a review and offer any suggestions before you place your order.