Christian MediaMedia Production

Why TV Graphics Can Make Or Break Your Program

I was preparing some graphic design notes for a client, and thought these ideas for TV graphics are a good reminder for your own video editors and designers. When it comes to onscreen TV graphics  – the keys are to:

1)  Listen to the program host, preacher, or teacher. 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.

2)  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 that 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.

4)  Graphic 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.

5)  Size: We don’t have to use large graphics, but do remember that the typical religious TV viewers is often older.  Therefore, “readability” is critical.  Make sure the graphic is on long enough and is clear enough for your grandmother to read easily.

6)  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 Ministries team does it with Pastor Jack Graham (photo above). 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, response is more 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.  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.

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