Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Common Bulletin Layout Mistakes

For most of us, preparing the weekly bulletin isn’t our only job responsibility. It is just one in a long list of tasks for the week. It can be easy to fall into the habit of doing the same thing week after week in the interest of checking the task off of our weekly to-do list.  However, if we view the weekly bulletin as what it truly is - a vital tool in your parish communication ministry - then we can see that the extra effort is worth it.

The number one mission of our layout is to effectively communicate the written word. Design mishaps can hinder the message by creating clutter and confusion. Periodically examining your layout for design pitfalls can help keep the focus on your message. 

1. All Boxed In. Desktop Publishing applications give us a wondrous collection of border art and rule lines. It can be tempting to use them. Do so sparingly, however. If every article on your page has a border, nothing really stands out on the page and you have lost the opportunity to pull your reader’s attention to a specific article.

2.  Font Overload. Again, there are so many choices but as far as fonts go, less is better.

3.  Underlining. Many of us recall when the bulletin was prepared on a typewriter and one of the few ways to call attention to text was to underline it. In today’s world, underlining is typically reserved for hyperlinks.

4. Dark Shading. Color (or grayscale) text frames certainly pull your readers attention and are great for headings or small blurbs of text. Dark text on a darkly colored text frame is difficult to read.

5. Low Resolution Graphics. Be cautious when downloading images from the internet. First and foremost, be aware of whether or not you have permission to use a graphic. Copyright information for the website will inform you whether or not certain images are available for reprinting. We strongly encourage you to utilize the graphics on our Subscriber Resource Center at Also, graphics reproduce best at 300dpi (dots per inch.) Often images copied from the internet are low resolution (72dpi) for quick viewing on the web. These images are not meant for print publications and can look blurry in your printed document.

Simple changes can make a dramatic change to your bulletin layout and ensure that your message comes across professionally. 

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