This article originally appeared in print journal March/April 2002.Today in the opening chapter of the 21st century with the tools of technology coming to church in ever-expanding numbers, chances are you and your youth group (not to mention your congregation) are reading the writing on the wall on a regular basis in all kinds of ministry settings.
No, I speak not of the Belshazzar-gazin', floatin'-hand-writing, king's-knees-a-knockin' variety found in Daniel 5
, but of the somewhat less God-inscribed and less dramatic manmade text written by man or computer and displayed by projectors. Be it the ever-faithful overhead projector, the still-dependable slide projector, or the trendy data/video projector, the word has been out for several years about getting the "word up" for singing, announcements, sermon/speaker support, or reporting the annual budget figures for the Men's Meeting for Muffins Ministry (or M&M&M&M for short).
So when's the last time we asked ourselves questions such as:
• Are the slides readable by everyone in the room?
• Do we know how to effectively select font, text size, colors and screen layout?
• Are the graphics and text distracting and more of a disservice to this service than an aid?
• What makes some projected words/graphics pleasing and purposeful and others mildly distracting at best and visually excruciating at worst?
Welcome to this edition of Tech Talk. Together we'll type our way through these tantalizing techy-type text topics and tips and throw in a few more for your reading (and projecting) pleasure. Throughout, the word slides
will refer to any and all text, artwork and/or graphics you happen to be projecting whether created on transparencies, 35mm slides or computer software such as PowerPoint, MediaShout, etc. When an issue relates to a specific projection technology, I'll try to be faithful in pointing that out.The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Slides (and Slide-Makers)Effective Slides Use Adequate Text Size.
Let's talk about font size. We're definitely not in a one-size-fits-all kind of situation here, but there are some basic guidelines to follow and snafus to avoid when deciding how big is big enough. In font-speak we're talking about a minimum of 24-pt. (point) size for most fonts--28- to 40-pt. is often better.
In other words, if you're trying to cut down the number of slides by projecting seven verses of "Just as I Am" on one slide, you've got a big problem. I've seen too many projected song lyrics and scriptures with this basic flaw. They're too small. A total of four to eight lines of text per slide with natural breaking points between slides is a pretty good rule of thumb. Avoid choosing your text size based on how it looks on your computer screen, rather than how it looks when projected for your audience in your actual ministry setting.