top Contact btm



Leveraging Art & Science Through Collaborative Genius

April 7, 2017 — by Dave Milam


Our team has now shared with you two of our core values at Visioneering Studios: Pioneering Wall-less Impact through Ruthless Innovation, and Equipping Leaders at Every Step of the Expedition. Today, Dave Milam, Design Strategist, shares our third team value: Leveraging Art & Science Through Collaborative Genius.

collaborative genius

Imagine, by some strange turn of events, that control of your entire organization was handed down to the right-brained, creative guy. You know the one — the creative, yet disorganized, skinny-jeaned, inked-up, always-fifteen-minutes-late guy. Maybe you’d jump for joy because finally, someone would replace that awful couch in the lobby with something that had a little more panache. But ultimately, you know that the organization would drift aimlessly like George Clooney, untethered by gravity, floating dangerously away from Sandra Bullock.

But what if the reigns of the entire organization were entrusted to the accounting department instead? Each decision would be measured by a team of actuaries who calculate the likelihood of success using a series of complex algorithms. Rigidity and order would rule the day. It would be death by paper-cuts.

Even in an organizational environment like ours, an equal balance of art and science must be maintained. While it might even seem reasonable at times to give the right-brained, creative-engine complete autonomy throughout the process, trust us — without the spreadsheet guy, the budget goes haywire every time.

This principle isn’t solely for creative firms like Visioneering Studios.

Organizations who cannot manage the art and science tension ultimately sacrifice the mission. 

Sure, it’s a difficult tension to manage, but if you’re able to leverage both creative and strategic, the right brain and left brain, the art and science, you’ll begin to revel in true collaborative genius. And the organization ultimately wins.


Never Say Thank You

March 31, 2017 — by Dave Milam


What if I told you that a leader should never say thank you to his team? You probably wouldn’t believe me, would you?

thank you

Even if you grew up with deadbeat parents, you were probably taught to parrot the words “thank you” every time somebody did something nice for you. Every kind word and every Christmas gift required a gracious “thank you” as payment for services rendered. After a while, those words become a part of our regular, mindless vernacular.

But have you ever stopped to think about what the words “thank you” imply? Think about it. In the most subtle way, “thank you” suggests that I appreciate what you just did for me. “Thank you” infers that you just did me a favor.

So, I guess “thanks” is perfect if you someone gift-wraps a new sweater for you. But if you’re a church leader, do you really want your team to believe that they’re doing you a favor by volunteering– that their service was for you? Wouldn’t you rather have your team serving God and be driven by the mission of the church than helping you do your stuff?

Look how Paul shows his appreciation for his team in Romans 1:8 when he says:

“I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you.”

In other words, “God has done me a favor by putting you in my life.” Or maybe, “I am so grateful that God has put you on my team; I’m so blessed to be serving with you.” Paul’s language is so inclusive.

So next time, instead of saying “thanks,” use language that conveys gratitude for the gift of serving or working beside exceptional people. Your volunteers are not doing you a favor. And they’re not serving you.


4 Rules to Curating An Intuitive Guest Experience

February 24, 2017 — by Dave Milam


Even if your church building may need a complete overhaul, here are 4 ways you can begin to curate a better guest experience now.

What would it look like if this coming Sunday morning, your church’s entire Guest Services Ministry Team didn’t show? Imagine no neon-vested minions directing traffic or overcaffeinated greeters guiding guests. I wonder if the scene might border on apocalyptic, with panicked pastors pacing the hallways, pandemonium in the parking lot and zombie-eyed parents with kids in tow left to fend for themselves?


What if you were forced to rely solely upon your facility’s design to guide each guest?


Think about it: could every visitor flawlessly navigate an entire Sunday morning experience intuitively or would the self-guided experience result in a blundered debacle? And what happens to those people, often first-timers, who want to navigate your building on their own and manage to skillfully evade your welcome team each week? You know it happens.


Here’s the cold hard truth: if newcomers are unable to intuitively navigate your facility, it indicates you’ve got a huge design problem on your hands. Because good design always makes usability more intuitive. And intuitive environments empower great guest experiences.


Often, churches use their guest services ministry as a duct tape to patch the holes of defective design. It’s true– your building may need a complete overhaul. But maybe you could begin to curate a better guest experience now by making your building a little more intuitive.


Here are four of the most basic rules to curating a more intuitive guest experience:
1. Point the Way

Thoughtful “way-finding” and quality signage is absolutely the best way to curate a more intuitive experience. Clear and strategic directional signs that guide and move people through ministry environments will empower guests to take control of their own spiritual experience from day one.

Guest Experience
Eastside Christian Church – Anaheim, CA

Keep in mind that “way-finding” doesn’t always demand a huge ugly directional sign mounted to the wall. Sometimes, the best label is a strong branded space that intuitively directs your guests. For example, your main entry door should be unmistakable – no sign required. Four-year-olds should intuitively know where they belong and be naturally drawn to your kids’ environment.

Guest Experience
Eastside Christian Church – Anaheim, CA


2. Simplify The Options

Some of the best apps on your phone only contain 2-4 buttons on your screen at a time. The app may organize the library of a billion songs, yet there are still only 2-4 choices available. Simplicity is what makes complexity usable.


The parking lot is a great place to begin thinking about simplifying the user’s options. Add a dozen orange cones to reduce a driver’s turn choices and forge a unified traffic flow (and for the record, the need of traffic cones could indicates poor parking design).

Guest Experience
Calvary Baptist Church – St College, PA


3. Develop Ministry Districts

Another way to simplify complexity is to consolidate what you have. Think about it, grocery stores group all of the dairy, meat and bread into their own individual districts. It’s what makes finding hamburger so intuitive. Home improvement stores have both plumbing and painting districts. It’s even likely that your socks and jeans don’t live in the same dresser drawer but have their own “districts.”


If you want to make your building more intuitive, then your ministries should also be grouped into similar districts throughout your building. For example, children should all be together in their own secure district that is visually differentiated from all the other parts of the building. Additionally, there should be a youth district, worship district, admin district and connecting space.

Guest Experience
Calvary Baptist Church – St College, PA
4. Favor Clarity Over Creativity

Guests crave simplicity and clarity. So, for heaven’s sake, make sure the names of your environments actually describe what they are. As a guest, I just want to know where the coffee is and where to drop off my kids. So when you use the greek word for “coffee” to name coffee corner or some creative nonsensical jib jab to brand your kids check-in, it’s not helpful (even though it may be super creative).

Guest Experience
Bayside Church – Roseville, CA

Know where to get creative and where to use common sense design patterns. And when it comes to creating intuitive spaces, always favor clarity over creativity.


An Apple TV for Every Church Lobby

January 20, 2017 — by Dave Milam


apple tv

Okay, here’s the problem: the men’s Backyard UFC Ministry (B.U.M. for short) wants to create an announcement slide to advertise their upcoming Backyard Brawl. Seriously, have you ever noticed that every ministry wants a slide for their deal? Maybe it’s because everybody knows that announcement slides and videos are always the best and only way to recruit and get the word out, second only to emails and Evite. (I hope you caught the sarcasm there)

Anyway, back to my fun little antidote: the BUMs eventually create this really sweet announcement slide and email it to your church’s tech guy who then adds it to PowerPoint or ProPresenter for worship…but WHAT ABOUT THE LOBBY? Everybody knows that you must have announcements in the lobby!

If your church has a building…no big deal. Just have your resident community college computer nerd permanently install cat cable in the walls, buy a VGA converter, video amp and hub computer and you’re  golden. But what about if you’re portable? Your landlord is not likely to smile upon the prospect of fishing wire through their drywall for a solid week.

The solution: Apple TV and Flickr!

Apple TV has a great built-in feature that allows you to create a repeating slideshow from a Flickr photo set. (this is more amazing than you could know for us portable-church types) Translation: during the week, your tech guy (or anybody with your Flickr password) can upload an announcement slide to the appropriate Flickr photoset and instantly your lobby’s announcement rotation is created and ready to go. AMAZING!

If you want, you could even have different photosets for different TV’s in the lobby. We have one Apple TV for our Next Step booth and one for our Small Group Connection. Each Apple TV is accessing a different Flickr photoset.

apple tv

Here’s the other big win: the folks in the lobby do not have to have their masters degree in computer science to run your announcements. They simply turn on the Apple TV and select the appropriate Flickr account…DONE. Also, the Apple TV menu functions just like that of an iPod. It couldn’t be easier.

The only trick is to make sure your announcement slides are designed to match the specifications of your lobby’s tvs. (that may take a little experiementing on the front end)

Here’s one of our announcement slides as well as a link to our Flickr Photostream:

apple tv


Basics of Color Theory

December 7, 2016 — by Dave Milam


Choosing the right color is trickier than you might think. If you’ve ever repainted a wall because the color you picked was repulsive, you know what I’m talking about. Some colors simply work well together and others do not. That’s why it’s imperative for every designer specializing in stage lighting, graphics, video, photography and architectural design to develop a good sense of color. Knowing how to create great color palettes is the difference between mediocre and extraordinary designs.

So, to help you understand color theory a little better, I’ve written a high level view of the major 8 color harmonies. [with no consideration of other impacting factors like hue, saturation & brightness] Once you understand how these harmonies work, you’ll be able to pick the perfect color combinations.


Monochrome literally means, “one color.” So, when you’re creating a monochromatic color harmony, just remember to use the same color with varying degrees of brightness within the design. On a color wheel, monochromatic colors form a straight line to the center of the wheel.

I love this example of “Tea Escapes.” It’s so easy to identify monochromatic design; notice that the colors used are all from the same color on the wheel.
color theory



Complimentary color schemes are one of the most popular color harmonies, especially in the world of stage lighting. Its name describes exactly what we want: two colors that compliment each other.

When you look at the color wheel, simply choose two colors directly oposite one another. Keep in mind that these color selections should also the same distance from the center of the wheel.

color theory


 Split Complementary

The Split Complementary harmony is similar to the Complementary color harmony, the only difference is that now you’ll be using three colors.

When you look at the color wheel, you’ll notice that the colors form a 1969 peace sign. (Which I affectionally call this harmony) The Firefox logo is a great example.

color theory


Double Complementary

Okay, now things are getting a little trickier. The Double Complementary forces us to use FOUR COLORS!

Simply put, the double complementary color scheme uses four colors arranged into two complementary pairs. Look at the color wheel below. You’ll notice that the color choices form the shape of a rectangle. Check out the photo of the interior design below: perfect Double Complementary color harmony.

color theory


The Analogous color harmony is another favorite among stage lighting designers. Just do a quick google search and you’ll see what I mean.

Analogous color schemes use colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. Analogous schemes are often found in nature and are harmonious and pleasing to the eye. Notice that the example below actually uses four overlapping colors that bleed together.

color theory


Accented Analogic

The Accented Analogic  harmony is kin to the Analogous. It is actually a combination of the Analogous and Complementary color schemes. In addition to colors that are adjacent to each other, it uses a complementary accent at its opposite.

On the color wheel, the Accented Analogic forms the shape of a witch’s broom.

color theory



If the points on the color wheel form a triangle, you are most likely using the Triad color harmony.

The triad purist prefers an equilateral triangle with three sixty degree angles, centered on the wheel. Fortunately, the Burger King logo serves us as a fine example.




The final color harmony of the day is called the square.

Though this harmony isn’t one of my favorites, it certainly creates a quirky feel to any design. Notice that the points on the color wheel form a perfect square centered on the color wheel.

color theory




If you’re still struggling, be sure to check out the hundreds of online color schemers. One of my favorites is on I also purchased the ColorSchemer iPhone App which allows me to create great color schemes anywhere with my iphone.

Have fun coloring!