While we’ve all heard it’s important to “not judge a book by the cover,” there is something to be said about the first impression of well-made cover art.
Kristen Rokenbrodt, a graphic designer at LPi for over 5 years, knows a thing or two about bulletin covers. She is on the team that refreshes entire bulletin layouts for churches across the United States. And, with that layout redesign comes the cover redo.
Kristen graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stout with a degree in Graphic Design, has designed thousands of art pieces for LPi, and was kind enough to sit down and provide some pointers for churches like yours about what (and what not!) to keep when designing a bulletin cover.
When first given a bulletin that is ready for a refresh, Kristen reviews what is already in place on the cover. There are some things that can, and should stay, and others that belong elsewhere. Where does Kristen start? These are her tips:
- A lot of times bulletins have too much information on the cover, so she eliminates what is excess and finds a way to put that in the inside pages.
- Sometimes later bulletin pages are poorly filled, and there is a lot of space on those pages. This process of redesign helps keep things simplified and clean on all the pages.
How do you know what belongs on the cover and what belongs later in the bulletin? Kristen offers this recommendation: “The main emphasis of the cover should be church name and date. Those are the primary two that shouldn’t be removed from the cover. Everything else is fair game.”
Kristen believes that it’s important for the church bulletin to positively represent the parish. To accomplish this, she recommends using beautiful graphics that capture the attention of parishioners and visitors.
“A good way for a church bulletin to have a welcoming feeling,” says Kristen, “is to choose a piece of cover art that is inviting and then use the same series throughout the rest of the Sundays of the year, so you have your ‘look.’”
Kristen has designed many of the cover series available through WeCreate, a service that provides beautiful art to Catholic churches across the United States.
As she revamps a parish bulletin, the process isn’t only one of elimination!
“I will add a really nice masthead,” says Kristen, “Creating something with their logo and then adding something special in the background, like the unique architecture of the church. Once the masthead is in place, I build out past that.
“For information, I like to keep it simplified: church name, date, address, phone, website, priest name.”
Does that information seem obvious? Kristen shares the reason why it matters via a story of a friend who attended a new church, but the priest’s name wasn’t listed or announced because “everyone knew his name.” While all the normal churchgoers may have known his name, this newcomer had no way of following up. As such, Kristen is careful to include these items on the first page.
Every parish only has one front-page to the bulletin. What are Kristen’s go-to questions for what stays and what goes?
First, Kristen determines what size of art will be placed on the cover. If there is a full-cover piece of graphic art, then only a little text will be displayed, and that space needs to be used wisely.
Next, Kristen distributes her content onto the cover and the following pages depending on the space on each page. Her priorities are:
- Primary: Church name, date, address, website, phone number, priest name
- Secondary: Mass schedule, mission statement, welcome statement
- Tertiary: Parish office and hours, pastoral staff
With these priorities in mind, it’s only a matter of time before the bulletin cover looks new and improved!
Take a look at your church bulletin and ask yourself:
- Does it look professional and welcoming? Or cluttered and outdated?
- Is there any information on the front page that could be placed elsewhere?
- Is there any information that isn’t on the front page that should be?
With these questions and Kristen’s recommendations, your parish can provide excellent bulletins to your weekly congregation and all your visitors.
Looking for more information? Kristen and her team are happy to help you build something beautiful! In fact, all LPi customers are eligible for a FREE bulletin refresh.
I print with LPi and would love to learn how I can refresh my bulletin — Just contact your customer service agent to get started!
I don’t print with LPi but would love to learn more.