I launched Paramentics back in October of 2012, and since then, I've created over 150 individual pieces of art, two sets of elements, 40 symbols, and 3 themes of worship folder templates for Microsoft Word and Apple Pages. That's not bad, considering the time I also spend helping churches with other graphic design projects. Creating the art and templates for Paramentics takes a massive amount of time and money, and more and more of my schedule has shifted to time devoted to this website. You have certainly made that time worth it.
I'd like to personally thank all those who purchase and use my art and templates. Even the churches who use my art for only a couple weeks of the year help in supporting me and this ministry in a very big way. I am humbled by the response I have gotten over the past several months. Thank you for your support, critique, and feedback. I cannot thank you enough.
From the very beginning, my aspirations for this site has been grand -- to say the least. Much more can and will be done. To give you an idea of what to expect in the future, I've outlined some key projects that I will be working on over the next several months.
Art, Art, and More Art
The flagship product of this website will always be the art that can be used on a weekly basis for worship folders and other materials. Now that the first set of templates for Word and Pages are completed, I will have more time to devote to the creation of art. To be honest, I have been lagging a bit on the art and will now bump it up to 1-3 sets a week instead of the one-a-week pattern that you've seen over the past couple months. This will create a rolling buffer that will consistently stay ahead of the church year to give churches more flexibility in planning their worship folders and also purchase more than one set at a time. Even though it's nice to have a routine in purchasing artwork every week, it'll be nice to have a little more freedom in when to purchase the artwork.
The next Symbols release is fast approaching. It will feature symbols of the evangelists, disciples, and apostles. These will be useful for reflecting which gospel is read for a particular Sunday and also to educate your members about each one by including a short summary within a worship folder. More details about this are coming soon.
A few of you have expressed interest in creating art and templates for baptism and confirmation certificates. I think this is a wonderful idea and I believe it is something that has been lost over the last 50+ years. Just look at the few examples below:
Wouldn't it be great if you could hand a mother, father, or child something like this? It would certainly be something that I would frame and hang up in my home or study. Unique art would be created for these that are embedded into a template. Some text would be editable (e.g. the name of the church and scripture passage) and other areas made available for signatures.
Research and development of these will take place over the next year. They will be 11" x 17" in size with the possibility of smaller sized paper. I will also give out resources on where to print these and what specific brands and types of paper you can use.
While I was in Italy, I often heard the joke that the reason banners are so popular in American churches is because they are trying to cover up ugly sanctuaries. Certainly our churches here may not be as ancient or ornate as some found in Europe, but I will defend the popularity and use of banners over here in the Americas. I love banners, and I think there are some real benefits in using them inside a church.
The use of banners dates back to the Old Testament. But even if their purpose is far different now, their symbolism and art can enhance worship in a visual way. Banners can reflect the season of the church year or be used in a procession. These are but a few examples of how they can be effective within worship.
Unfortunately, the quality and art used in banner design is lacking here in the U.S. The best banner maker -- in my opinion -- is Slabbinck , which is a church vestment and art producer based in Bruges, Belgium. Not only are their designs simple and elegant, but the use of Raytex DM for the fabric will ensure that a banner will last more than a couple decades.
I will begin to draft and make some designs for banners this Summer. The original plan was to make and sell sets of banners purely in digital form that could then be taken to a printer. But I think in this case, it might be important that I also have control over the end-product. As with the art on this website, even though I do not have control over what kind of printer every church uses, I can rest a little easier knowing that I have beautiful templates that can accommodate the art. In the same way, I would like to partner with a printer/company to ensure the quality of the banner and my designs are the best they can possibly be. This may prove futile, but I will try, especially in making the process easier for churches.
I will eventually be working on more worship folder templates in the distant future. These will use the larger-sized Ledger paper (folded size: 8.5" x 11") and will focus on festival services, song services, and choir programs. I still do custom programs for churches and schools via my personal website (ianmwelch.com), but this will perhaps give many more a chance to make their own aesthetically-pleasing program folders.
As part of my research each week, I study various lectionaries and their relationship with one another. The main lectionaries I look at are the RCL, ILCW, and the variations of these by the different synods. Thankfully, the gospel readings don't change much between them. The Old Testament, Psalms, and Epistle readings are where they drastically diverge.
So as a result, I have accumulated a substantially large database of these lectionaries and how my art applies to each of them. I will eventually be creating an online database and index for the art as it applies to these different lectionaries. This would include all the art that is found in each set that may be used on more than one Sunday or service.
I will also be outlining methods on how to best organize the digital files on your computer. Some of these methods include automation, applications, and tagging.
How It's Made
Finally, I will be creating a longer article and video on how I make each set of art. The art is made using both physical and digital media and I think that many of you will enjoy looking at the process I go through every week.
There's more I can mention (I didn't even talk about the Style Guides and Elements that I will be working on), but I think that gives you an idea of the scope of Paramentics as we move into the future.
Yes, this is all very ambitious, but I am confident that I will have your support over the next few years that will turn these projects into a reality. Without your support, I would have never accomplished what has been done so far. Thank you and God bless.