Choosing Graphics For Your Church Newsletter

Artwork is available online and offline in various different extensions. Different file types vary in their usefulness and in their weaknesses. So how do you know which one to use?

The main file types are TIFF, JPEG, GIF, WMF, and PNG. With these, the two main questions you want to ask yourself is: Is the newsletter a print or online publication? and Will I need to resize the graphic?

JPEG is the most common for photos and illustrations. It is flexible and works well in both print and on websites. It can lose some of its quality though over time if it\’s being saved and moved often.

GIF doesn\’t reproduce well in print and is intended only for use on the Web. It is better on websites than JPEG because it\’s designed to speed up the display time on the computer.

TIFF is compatible with most computer software. But some artwork can make the file size large and cumbersome. This can slow down printing. Also, this type is unsuitable for website use.

WMF files work the best when the graphics need resizing, but they can only be used on PCs. Some art styles won\’t work as WMF files though.

PNG was created to replace the GIF and, to some extent, the TIFF. It may not work as well as the GIF, however, for animations, but there was another partner version created to be like the PNG, but suitable for animations, called the MNG.

Still, you\’ll find many suppliers offering GIF extensions and not catching on to the MNG extension yet.

If you\’re using a true color graphic, such as a photograph, the JPEG is still the best choice over a PNG. And sometimes the TIFF beats out the PNG and JPEG when it comes to using black-and-white images for print.

Most pictures taken by digital cameras are automatically saved in JPEG format and are easy to use. Often the software with the digital camera will include a photo editor. This allows you to make simple adjustments, such as cropping your pictures and resizing them.

If you wish to make more adjustments, such as changing the colors of items within the picture and some advanced effects to the picture itself, I suggest looking at photoshop. It\’s easy to find at many stores and usually a hundred dollars and less. This would make an ideal donation item for a member of the congregation if you need the software for the church office.

I also suggest having a scanner in the church office. Sometimes, people will hand you pictures of interest that can go into your church publications. By scanning the picture in and saving it in the format you wish to use, you have more options.

To find graphics on the internet, google such terms as \”free church clipart\”, \”free clipart\”, \”free church graphics\”, and \”stock photography\”. Stock photography sites carry photographs from many categories. Most charge a small fee for downloading photos, but there are some who have free photos.

Also, check out church graphic supplies, like NewsletterNewsletter.com. Their membership is around $100 a year, but they have a vast array of clipart and pictures available. I love their searchable database too.

Diana Cacy Hawkins works as The Digital Church Secretary, creating guides for churches and church members and volunteers. The Stewardship Growth Program can be found at http://www.stewardshipgrowthprogram.com ©2008 Diana Cacy Hawkins

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