We realize that after looking through this website, you may have between 1–1000 questions about what we do and how. We hope this page provides some answers, but if not, please contact us and we’ll respond as soon as we can. Your question may even wind up here to help others decide if Art /Rhetor is a good option for them.
On-Demand Publications & Design Templates
Don’t buy the design files unless you’re comfortable with Adobe Illustrator or you’re interested in learning it (we think our design files are a good example of Illustrator best-practice and could be good to learn on). If that’s you but you’re still not sure which option is a better use of time or money, here are some usage examples:
Buy the design files if:
- You like a certain template as a starting point, but you want to tweak and change things before using it (add brand colors/fonts, etc.).
- You know you’ll use a certain template more than once (you break even and start saving money the second time you use a design file you’ve purchased).
- You’re already responsible for making publications for your church and you have time set aside for it (we’re all about creating less work for church teams—careful about accidentally adding stuff like this to your responsibilities if you have a lot of other ministry tasks!)
Just order the publication from us if:
- You just need this publication one time and you don’t want to change anything besides adding your logo (save that money!).
- You don’t know how many times you may want to use this publication, but it’s worth the money for you to not have to do it yourself.
- You think you may want to use stuff from several Art /Rhetor template collections, so you don’t want to commit the extra money to just one style.
The short answer is yes, but we’d encourage you to think about saying it with less words if you have a website you can point people to.
From church to church, people approach copy differently. In our experience, cards and Instagram images and such are likely places for a person’s first exposure to information about an event or update, but if that person has any interest in the event, it’s probably not their last exposure. The two-paragraph version is easy to share with them if an RSVP or registration is required, since they’re going to wind up on your website or church database service anyway. If the event doesn’t apply to them, they don’t need the two paragraph version at all.
It’s a two-step system, pointing people to the web where they can fill out a form, make an event in their phone, text their wife about a church update and share the link, etc. Printed things, slides, and Instagram images don’t do that like your website does, but they do capture attention in the moment by design, and less text helps them do that.
If you get that but you have a specific need, or if you don’t agree with that approach but still like our designs, contact us to talk about customizing a publication for you.
For the most part, it’s Unsplash, a library of open-license photos that are free to use however. These photos were more-or-less donated to the Internet by the real-life photographers that took them, and we thank them by attributing their work to them in various ways.
If a photo didn’t come from Unsplash, it’s a legally-obtained design resource that we have a license on-file for. This stuff is super important to us as members of the design community—read more here.
For the most part, it’s Font Squirrel, a library of open-license fonts that are generally free to use however. We’ve made sure that whatever fonts we use, it’s also free and legal for us to pass it on to you. Each download includes a file with the template’s respective fonts in it, and within those font files, we’ve included the open-license document from the font-maker.
It’s a formatting thing called “Roman Hanging Punctuation” and we like what it does visually, aligning the edges of letters vertically. In our opinion it’s also better for the reader as they read from line to line. If you don’t like it, you can include that in the “Additional notes” section of your publication order and we’ll turn it off. If you’re working with a design file you bought and you’re looking for that setting, it’s the second item in the options menu for the paragraph panel in Illustrator.
Questions about design files:
We hope to offer a choice of file types in the future, but for now, we’re an Illustrator template store. If that’s a deal-breaker, please contact us and let us know before you close your browser window on us forever. We use those other programs all the time around here and can probably make it happen for you!
Adobe sells their software in a monthly subscription model called the Creative Cloud. If you or your church already has a Creative Cloud membership, Illustrator is just one of the programs you may already have access to. You’d just need to download it from the Creative Cloud desktop app.
If you don’t have a Creative Cloud membership yet, you have a few options. To use Art /Rhetor templates, you only need Illustrator. Current pricing information is available at the links above, but it should be around $21/month.
Be sure to install the fonts that were included with your template download before you open the file. That’s the easiest way. If you miss that, you can still install the fonts and re-open the file, or use the “find fonts” tool (in the type menu) to update the missing ones after you install them. Often Illustrator will just detect the new fonts and make everything right for you.
The way we do everything in 2018 is probably not the way we’re going to do everything in 2019. There will be new best-practices, new publication sizes, second and third variations of existing publications, etc. The designation V01 means “Version 1” so that we can all keep track in case things get crazy.
But what’s really fun about tracking versions is that, when we release a new version of something you already own, you’ll get an email about it with a download link to the new version. We don’t know how often this will happen, but when it happens, you’ll know.
Questions about ordering publications:
Unless your logo was originally created in Microsoft Paint, chances are high that vectors were involved in the design process and not just pixels. This just means that, somewhere out there in the archives of your church history, there is a real-life EPS, AI, or SVG file (vector files). With vectors, you can make things bigger or smaller without compromising quality. It’s also possible to change colors that way. It’s going to look better if you can find that file type, you probably opened this FAQ item because you couldn’t.
The next best thing is a really-big PNG file. If it’s big enough, we can “trace” a rough vector file to use. If it’s not big enough, we may not be able to make the colors match the rest of the document. This could be totally fine, but that’s what’s going on there.
JPGs are of the lowest order, but are not unusable. We have some tricks for getting rid of the white background that may or may not work based on the style of the template you choose.
No matter what you give us, we’ll send you a print file to review. You’ll be able to see what our best effort was at making that logo file work and if something else needs to happen, we can talk about it then.
Probably. Not every template uses solid, changeable colors. Likewise, some templates are more based around a specific font than others. Either way, let us know what you’d like to see in the “Additional Notes” section of your order and we’ll let you know what we can do!
If it works out well, there’s no charge. If it requires more than a little extra customization, there will be a $20 charge and we’ll let you know about it before proceeding.
Before we did any pre-made, on-demand publications, we were making every publication completely custom. This remains the bulk of what we do. If you like on of our pre-made publications but want to adjust more than a color or a font, let’s talk about making you one from scratch. We may not need to go that far, but this calls for a contact form submission.
If you haven’t already, please read the FAQ above titled “Can you adjust these to fit more text?” That’s our mini-thesis on brevity in initial promotion (nerd emoji).
Adding to that FAQ, if you have way more text than what will fit on one of these publications, consider what you can move to your website. Websites are a great place to share a lot of detail, whereas artistically-minded publications are better for initiating contact that leads people to a next-step (learn more, register and learn more, rsvp, etc.).
On the other hand, if you’re just a handfull of letters short, there are solutions for you in the next FAQ about our pesky character limits.
Our publications were designed intentionally with a certain volume of text in mind. You can read more about why we think this is a good practice for churches under a couple of the FAQ’s above, specifically, “Can you adjust these to fit more text?” That’s the big picture about text volume limits. The rest of this goes line-by-line.
Each title, subtitle, and copy section has a character limit that pushes the boundaries of what we’ve designed this for. You should have space for seriously long event and announcement titles. Similarly, there’s room for lots of date, time, location, and cost info in the subtitle. The description section, however, is ready for only 1–3 sentences of “why” before directing people to their “Next-Step.” Here’s what to do if you’re out of characters:
- If you’re over the limit in Main Title section, fit as much as you can in the field and include the full title in the “Additional Notes” section when you check out.
- If you’re over the limit in the Info Title section, abbreviate some stuff and we’ll expand it later. If you’re still over the limit, include the full info in the “Additional Notes” section when you check out.
- If you’re over the limit in the Description section, see if you can pare it down and move certain things to the website as described above. If you’re still out of room and there’s nothing left to economize, include the shortest version of your description in the “Additional Notes” section when you check out.
- If you’re over the limit in the Next-Step section, try removing the http:// or www from your URL (unless that’s an important brand-related thing) since people know that something.com or something.org is a website! Then, make sure that you’re not trying to say too much about that URL or email address. This should be a quick, helpful sentence—”To do this thing, visit this URL.”
This was a really practical thing for us. While we see certain uses in our head for these publications, we don’t know what you’ll think of. If you just want a title and description, that’s fine. You could feasibly not need a subtitle or a Next-Step. We do know that we need to add your logo (Sample Church isn’t real), and we know there needs to at least be a “what” and a “why” behind every message.
We also know that if you need to write “I don’t have a description” in the description field to get the form to submit, you’ll do that, and we’ll know what you mean, and you’ll get what you want!
Managed & As-Needed Communication Services
We are real familiar with tight budgets. Before Art /Rhetor, we worked almost exclusively for churches and non-profits. Stretching every dollar to meet every need is real life and we’ve been in those meetings!
One of our favorite things to do is get on the phone with a church staff member to talk about communication goals and what resources are available. We’ll brainstorm and make some recommendations, even if none of them are “Hire Art /Rhetor.”
The word “Managed” in “Managed Service” simply means that we are taking the lead and taking responsibility for what needs to get done. For example, if we do your website, announcement slides, and bulletin each week, you simply send a single email each week with a bullet-point list of what you think we should promote. We may respond with some feedback or a follow-up question if needed, but in most cases, things will just show up done. Every week.
It’s a flat rate thing that you can budget around. You’re not paying us to sit in staff meetings. You’re not paying for anyone’s benefits. We don’t lock you into any annual contract. It is a professional service rendered with a love for the Church in a way that is always asking “Is this a good value? Could we be serving this church better? Is this helping people preach the Gospel?”
In this approach, we are making ourselves an active participant in the conversation about communication at your church.
While we would love to be the take-the-lead team that comes alongside your church for the long run, we realize that isn’t what everyone needs. Instead, many of our church clients have us on-call for a poster here, a booklet there, a sermon-series artwork next month, etc. There’s no cost unless we’re working, and there’s no working unless you request it, but we’re ready to do anything you need as often as it’s helpful.
Now this is very different than us taking the lead and proposing stuff and dreaming with you about your mission. Churches who go the as-needed route generally have someone on their team who is already responsible for communication and it’s role in their mission.
In this approach, we are outside the conversation about communication at your church. We’re faithful design monkeys to execute on your plans. It can be awesome.
We’re adventurous, but we’re also specialists. If it’s something seen or read, we’re probably in. If your WiFi is acting up or your boiler needs to be serviced, we will at least make the best recommendation we can. You can always just contact us and see.
This is a tricky one. Our answer is no, people want to hear from you. Social media platforms, as we’ve learned, are about real-life interactions (believe it or not) and regular two-way dialogue. Someone who is in the loop on the life of the church needs to be behind the wheel of the ‘Book (we don’t actually call it that).
Now while we won’t have a log in and like stuff for you and retweet the LOLZ, we’re all about equipping you to get the most of your social media platforms. This starts with producing correctly-sized graphics for you, but can extend all the way to writing policy, creating an automatically-generated calendar on your phone for when and what to post, and integration with the website that you’re constantly pointing people back to. We want to give you the tools to manage your social media accounts really well.
Yesss. We love printing.
I (JD) have worked in a print shop, loved the experience, and speak their language. We coordinate so much printing for churches and have working relationships across the printing world—for paper, signage, apparel, and even gigantic wood panels.
I dream of being able to bring printing in-house at Art /Rhetor some day, but we’ll see.