Tips for Designing Church Bulletins

If you’re involved in designing church bulletins, this post is especially for you. You’ve probably experienced this: “I didn’t know we were holding this event,” the congregant says.

That’s when you reply, “It was in the church bulletin for three weeks.”

“Oh, I never read the church bulletin.”

Unfortunately, this is common in most churches. We spend hundreds of dollars and hours of time printing and designing church bulletins, then nobody reads them. So how do you go about creating something people will actually read that can get your information out to the congregation?

Here are a few tips to help you start thinking in the right direction.

Decide Who the Church Bulletin is Designed For

Is the bulletin for guests? For your regulars? Is it for both?

If it’s for your regulars, why do you have information about the pastor in the bulletin? They already know who he or she is. If it’s for guests, why are you telling them to “see Suzie after the service”? They don’t know who Suzie is.

If it’s for both, though, you should be clear about what part of the bulletin is for who. Meaning, you should have a section that stays the same that’s clearly for newcomers. Then have a section that changes each week—showing your regulars what part is specifically for them.

Note: It’s a good idea to avoid insider language (like seeing Suzie after service) in your bulletins.

Design Your Bulletin with Plenty of White Space

Avoid cramming hundreds of pics and lines of text into the bulletin. When designing church bulletins, remember crowding is a bad thing. People don’t read crowded lines of text.

Note: White space doesn’t necessarily mean white. It just means areas without content or special design elements that give the eye a chance to rest.

Keep Information to a Minimum

Answer the who, what, when, where, and why, then leave it at that. Don’t add extra details. It’s tempting to think that more information and more exclamation points makes the event/announcement seem more exciting. But it just crowds.

Also, choose carefully what you will put in the bulletin each week. Try to limit it to three or four items of broad appeal. If an announcement affects 80% of the congregation, it’s probably a good fit for the bulletin.

Note: Any information that stays the same week to week will be ignored. If you want to bring attention to something, something needs to change.

Prioritize Information

Use proper sizing of headlines, sub-headlines, and body text. People should be able to easily scan the headlines and figure out what content is in the body text. Body text is for details and cleverness (if any), headlines are for clear summaries of content.

Use Consistent Fonts, Colors, and Effects

When designing church bulletins, choose specific fonts, colors, and effects, and stick to those throughout. Don’t go overboard and don’t use every tool in your arsenal. A consistent and well-designed bulletin will feel absolutely natural and bring attention to the content, not necessarily the design.

So those are our tips for designing church bulletins. We’d love to hear some of yours. Share in a comment below!

1 Comment

  1. We’ve gone back to bulletins, and print them in house. They are a 8.5 high by 7 wide card. Front half has the order of service, bottom has 3-4 announcements. Back has five days of devotional readings and announcements based on the sermon preached that day.

    We’ve done this mainly for visitors. I figure they have no idea what’s going to happen, so we might as well tell them what they can expect. They don’t know what they’re in for, so we try and help them out.

    The devotionals are also available in daily email form, but again, this is a chance for people to get them in a physical form.

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