I'm a Christian. Not a religious nut, but a committed follower of the Way, Jesus Christ.
I'm not huge on religious iconography, but the symbol of the Cross holds a very special place in my heart because of what it represents: the torture that Jesus endured for my sins - not His own - so that I would have forgiveness for those sins without enduring said torture myself.
I'm also a designer. Visual things of all kinds fascinate me.
Being both a Christian and a designer, I'm therefore very familiar with examples of faith-inspired design if you will. More so than Christian artwork, I'm referring to graphic design for faith-based organization (churches, nonprofit ministries, etc).
There's all sorts of graphic design within this realm: identity design for such organizations, marketing communications design, and general purpose design such as announcement slides in church.
Sadly, this area of design is not quite known for it's excellence or innovation as design, but more often it's characterized as being executed "just to get the point across," or "good enough design", as I call it.
There are plenty of exceptions where faith based organizations or designers are pushing the limits, like Church Media Group, Relevant Media Group, and a long list of Christans in the creative industry. But these are not the norm, for sure.
But there is one particular practice I see all the time that I see in "Christian design" that I have a particular issue with: the use of the Cross as a design element.
It's everywhere - particularly in mediocre "Christian design." And that's what really bothers me.
Starting a ministry and need a logo? Just type out your name in Papyrus font and slap a cross on there! Putting together a Church neighborhood outreach and need to create a flyer to advertise the event? Just slap a cross on it!
Now I'm not saying the Cross should never be used as a graphical element in design, and it certainly has a place. But what I'm saying is that I take issue with the way it's often used as a lazy, no brained alternative to creatively thinking of a way to communicate a message graphically.
I find it offensive that rather than using our best creative efforts for the glory of our Great King, often we would rather reduce the image of the Cross to some graphical get out of jail free card so we can take the lazy creative route, but nobody can say anything cause, "Hey! Who's going to criticize using the Cross in a logo for a church?"
Well, I just did.
Let's stop using the Cross as a cheap solution for every Christian design problem, and start holding it to a higher place of reverence. Not that it's form is never the right answer to a design problem, but that we give it the proper honor of using it in truly appropriate and respectful ways.