Newsletter Design Trends: How to Find Your Style

Posted on January 14, 2014 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

All newsletters share a common purpose of communicating a message to a targeted group of people.  The type of information and reason for presenting it will vary, however, because every newsletter is unique.  For instance, the goal could be to build brand awareness, increase an organization’s membership base, educate readers, garner donations, etc.  Regardless of the intention, most publications fit into one of several distinct style categories.

Here are the most common types of newsletter designs:

Covers

Cover Styles One

Inside Pages

Inside-Pages 2

Which style is best for your organization?

Bulletin editors who read other posts will be familiar with some of the following tips, however there are several other considerations to keep in mind when designing a newsletter.

  • When choosing a layout, first and foremost, consider the amount and type of content necessary.  If there is a lot of important information that must be included, use a design that keeps the text clear and readable. If certain articles are a priority, be sure to place them towards the beginning, and set them apart with graphic elements or white space.
  • Next, think about the culture of your organization, and the target audience.  The design should reflect the values and interests of both parties.  If unsure what style is most appealing to your readers, perhaps take a poll and/or ask for suggestions.
  • How is your newsletter distributed?  Mailed, picked up, downloaded online, or emailed?  The method in which the reader receives and views the publication should influence design decisions. For instance, if readers prefer to read your newsletter online instead of receiving a hard copy, it is helpful to use attention-grabbing graphics and colors to keep them interested and prevent unsubscribing.  If the publication is a mailer, it will likely be quarter-folded, with the back page on the outside being the first thing that readers see. Therefore, any logos or branding should be prominent on the back cover, and you may want to place the most important article and/or table of contents there as well.
  • Finally, consider your technical abilities.  As an editor, you are responsible for working within a regular deadline to gather articles and assemble them within your template.  Be honest with yourself about your comfort level in using a more advanced layout, which may include grouped images, master pages, various font styles, tabs, etc.  With practice you will become a pro, but if you feel stressed at the thought, perhaps a simple, traditional layout would be a better starting point.  You can always redesign the publication at a later date once you feel ready to take on a new challenge.

Remember that there is no right or wrong choice when it comes to newsletter design.  Any of the above options can be transformed to fit your needs!

Bulletin Design Trends: How to Find Your Style

Posted on December 11, 2013 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

Every publication is unique, but there are several different styles commonly used for bulletin layout.

Covers

Bulletin Covers One

Inside Pages

Bulletin Pages Two

Which style is best for your church?

When choosing a layout, first and foremost, consider the amount and type of content necessary.  Is there a lot of important information that must be included?  Choose a design that keeps the text clear and readable. On the other hand, if you have room to spare, you will probably have more flexibility in your bulletin’s design.

Next, think about your organization’s culture.  Is the parish conservative and conscious of tradition?  Or is the church progressive and up-to-date with current trends?  Perhaps your congregation falls somewhere in the middle?  The design should reflect your parish values and interests.

Third, consider your technical abilities.  As an editor, you are responsible for working within a regular deadline to gather articles and assemble them within your template.  Be honest with yourself about your comfort level in using a more advanced layout, which may include grouped images, master pages, various font styles, tabs, etc.  With practice you will become a pro, but if you feel stressed at the thought, perhaps a simple, traditional layout would be a better starting point.  You can always redesign the publication at a later date once you feel ready to take on a new challenge.

Finally, remember that there is no right or wrong choice when it comes to bulletin design.  Any of the above options can be transformed to fit your needs!

 

Logo Design Tips

Posted on July 31, 2013 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

Logos are not just for global brands like Apple and Starbucks. They are a powerful tool for any organization aiming to differentiate itself and establish a loyal following. A logo can give religious institutions a recognizable identity that represents the core values and mission of the congregation. What makes a good logo?

Simplicity

There are several reasons why a logo should be relatively simple. Imagine viewing it from afar, perhaps on a sign. It should be clear from a distance. Alternatively, it must be readable at a reduced size, for instance on an envelope or business card. Keep in mind that complex elements may become lost at a smaller size. Finally, simpler designs are more memorable and therefore easier for patrons to recall and identify the organization associated with the logo.

Appropriate Colors

Logo colors should be evaluated and selected carefully, as they lend meaning and symbolism to the organization they represent. Colors can influence emotions and convey various messages depending on the viewer’s culture. In general, bright colors are considered upbeat and friendly, while darker colors are seen as more serious and professional. The logo should also have enough color contrast to be effectively made black and white when necessary (for example, when faxed) without losing important design elements.

Timelessness

Trends come and go, but a great logo should withstand the test of time indefinitely. Avoid designs that might go out of style in order to avoid the need to rebrand the organization too soon.

Unique Design

Steer away from generic logos. Certain trends, although visually appealing, are often overused and end up becoming cliché. Crowdspring has several great examples of unoriginal logos in their post on “Overused, Overdone Logo Concepts.”

Consider what sets your organization apart from the rest. What is your mission? Are there any distinctive architectural elements, or nearby geographical landmarks such as lakes or bridges? Include those unique elements in the logo in order to make it your own.

Church Logo Examples

Below are several great examples of LPi customer logos.

Logos

Logo Usage Suggestions

The logo should be used on all printed communication materials including letterhead, bulletins, flyers, directories and newsletters.  It should also be included in outdoor signage.  Don’t forget to place it online as well; logos must be prominently visible on websites, social media pages and email signatures.

Keep the logo consistent by developing a style guide with directions for proper use to ensure it remains the correct colors and does not become distorted or altered in a way that makes it unrecognizable.

Next Steps

Ready to develop your own logo?  Don’t forget that graphic design services are free for LPi customers.  Feel free to contact one of our designers to get started today.

Spring Cleaning Your Bulletin

Posted on March 11, 2013 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

Spring CleaningSpring is here and it’s time to spruce up your home, get rid of clutter, and get things organized. This year, take your spring cleaning beyond your home and yard and take a fresh look at your bulletin.

Consider these tips for breathing new life into your bulletin:

  • If it’s no longer working, throw it out: Whether it’s a burnt-out computer or a vacuum cleaner with no air flow, we all own things that are no longer useful. Look through your bulletin from the cover to the last page and see if there are items that are outdated, no longer relevant, or just plain don’t belong.
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  • Get rid of duplicates: When you’re reviewing your bulletin, you might find several items that do or say the same thing. Do you really need a staff directory on the cover and on the inside pages? Removing it from the cover can free up space for a fresh photo or cover. Always look for ways to diversify your information and get your readers attention.
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  • Put things back in order: Over time spaces in your home can get “out of balance.” So many chairs pile up in your kitchen that you can’t cook. Your new giant flat-screen TV covers up your family pictures. Simple organization can usually get things back in order. Do this with to your bulletin. Maybe all of  your articles look exactly the same. Try placing an article across the whole bottom of the page instead of just two columns running up and down every page. Shift some articles around, use new images to break up text, and get things back in balance.
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  • Design a new cover: A new bulletin cover is a great way to breathe new life into your bulletin and encourage parishioners to take a closer look. If you need assistance with creating a new look, contact LPi and our designers would love to help.

Spring cleaning really does put a smile on your face. Isn’t it time for a fresh new look for your bulletin? Giving your bulletin an annual spring cleaning, ensures it reflects the current needs of your church community and you won’t even have to get your hands dirty.