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Phil Cooke Podcast

May 21, 2019

TV graphics greatly impact your audience’s perception of your message. Phil Cooke shares how to make effective graphics for your livestream church services, videos and television programs. Your graphics are far more important than you may think!


With non-linear editing it’s amazing what we can do with television graphics, but the original purpose has not changed. We use graphics to convey information beyond what the speaker is saying. I was preparing some graphic design notes for a client and thought these ideas for TV graphics are a good reminder for video editors, television producers and graphic designers. When it comes to onscreen TV graphics, the keys are:


  1. Listen to the program host, preacher or teacher.Make sure the graphics support what is being said. From time to time they will drive people to the phone number or website, and the director or editor must be listening for those comments.  Beat them to it, so the graphic appears at the moment they refer to it. There are times they may not ask for it directly but refer to “giving” or “contacting the ministry” – so be sensitive enough to recognize those moments and use the appropriate graphics.


  1. Remember the 6-9 Minute Rule:Our experience indicates that viewers typically tune in and out of programs about every 6-9 minutes. Therefore, we always want them to be able to see the offer, contact the ministry, know the website, etc. So at a very minimum, insert the URL and/or phone number at 6-9 minute increments. This is especially true of ID graphics for the program hosts. As new people tune in, be sure and remind them every 6-9 minutes who is speaking on the screen.


3.Be sensitive to the content. Don’t just insert a phone number, address, or URL anywhere! Make sure it’s not a distraction from the content at the moment. You will maximize your response by being sensitive to what’s happening onscreen. Ask yourself: is this taking away or adding to the message of the speaker?


  1. Don’t overwhelm with clutter.Be simple and clean with your graphics. Don’t clutter up the screen with prices, phone numbers, addresses, etc. Think clean design, and focus on simple, easy to read graphics and design that are subtle and not distracting.


5.Remember size matters: We don’t have to use large graphics, but do remember that the typical religious TV viewers is often older. Therefore, “readability” is critical. If that fits your program’s demographics, make sure the graphic is on long enough and is clear enough for your grandmother to read easily.


  1. If it’s a scripture or key points, write them on the screen.No one is watching your program with their Bible open, so when you reference a scripture, put it on the screen. A good example is how the PowerPoint Ministriesteam does it with Pastor Jack Graham. Some studies suggest that when you put the information on the TV or video screen, people are more likely to remember it by a factor of three – so that alone makes it worth it.

    7. Style is important, but response is most important.
    We want our graphics to reflect the hip and contemporary nature of current TV style, but don’t forget that if people don’t respond, we don’t have a job. Always question the balance between style, readability and clarity. For example, if you’re asking people to call in, the typical viewer needs to get out of his or her chair, find a pen and write down the number. So keep it up long enough for that to happen.


Doing graphics well makes a big difference in the impact of your video or program. Think in terms of how your graphics can help your message reach more people. – Phil Cooke


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