I love the idea of writing about “a christian view of” different vocations (shout out to Jason Estopinal for being brilliant). With my profession in Design, I am always trying to ask the questions “why?” and get to the simplest idea and then communicate it graphically. Much of what designers do is cut through the fluff to communicate effectively and hopefully beautifully. Form and function in equilibrium.
As a christian and a designer, after some years of working both in and outside of missions and the marketplace, I began to ask the questions that would form my “christian view.” Why do I design? What is its purpose and value to the world? Am I really making a difference designing this pool company branding and website?
I didn’t have to look far in the Bible to get some answers. Genesis 1:1 to be exact. We read, “In the beginning, God created…” Then a bit later in Genesis we read that man and woman are both created in God’s image. Because we are created in God’s image and he is in essence a creator, we have inherently have this “creative gene” inside of us. When we create with the spirit of God as Christians, we show the world God’s nature and character.
In Genesis 1, we don’t see a random string of events that created the world, but what we see is creation with specific purpose. Form and function in perfect equilibrium. Speaking of form and function, check out this Venezuelan Poodle Moth!
Ok but seriously, you may be asking, “That’s an awesome moth, and I get it: God creates, and we have the capacity to create with God, but how does this translate into nowadays designing brand identities (logos) for example?”
When someone comes to me with a project, a new company needing branding or perhaps an old company wanting to refine their brand, their underlying message is usually something like: I want to clarify who I am and why it matters and communicate that to my customers.
It’s a fun moment to share with my clients because its like there is a birthing (forming and creating function) and I get to be a part of it. They have a dream, a goal, and I get to help them launch into it.
As designers we can be an emotional lot, we want approval, we create something and inside we are saying, “Look at this pretty thing I made that no one in the history of the world has ever created!” Sometimes, to our shock, clients don’t agree. After too many of these moments I realized that as Christians and good designers we are here to serve the vision of others not our own. We cannot design selfishly, but like our creator give away our creation to the managers of it ie our clients. They in turn choose how they want to use it and have the option to stay connected to me or not.
We see a similar thing happening in Genesis 1:28: “Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.” God is saying here’s my creation, manage it well. We have the option to stay connected to him or try and do it on our own. We see some examples of both in the bible!
In summary and to put my christian view of design in one sentence, it would read: As designers and Christians, we are to co-create with the Spirit of God, selflessly serving others by helping them birth their ideas and communicate authentically who they are to their customers.
As designers may we steward our gift well, partner with the Spirit of creation to help others communicate with integrity who they are; whether it be as a business offering a service/product to customers or as a ministry to their supporters, volunteers or target people group.
Are you a designer? What is your view on your profession? If you aren’t a designer, but are a christian, what viewpoint do you have for your own profession?
Main Photo by Camille Hanson in Pogradec, Albania