I may choose to ignore anonymous comments. I consider this type of anonymity dishonest. Also, I don't post regularly. I post when I have something worth writing and something worth reading. I explain all this in: Don't Let Telling Tales Trip Up Your Truthfulness.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Bulletin! A Bulletin!

A Bulletin! A Bulletin! We have got a Bulletin, and there cannot be any more Bulletin. (Compare with  2 Nephi 29:3)

I had to repackage an information product for a class I took in graphic design I specifically looked for an information item that was uniform, standardized and taken for granted. I settled on Sacrament meeting bulletins.

Bulletins need to first, display the program for that day's worship. Second, they should notify everyone of upcoming events so that they have enough information to attend. And third, supply basic contact information for the congregation. These seem to be the typical goals.

Generally, a bulletin is a folded sheet of paper that opens up like a book. There is usually a picture and quote on the cover. Information rarely gets placed on the back cover.

Sacrament Meeting bulletins seem to be sacrosanct. They look the same no matter where you are or where you go. I decided they were ideal for my project.

I tried to design the bulletin without taking into consideration how it had always been done in the past. It was not easy. I wanted to achieve the typical bulletin goals but determine if there was a better way to design the bulletin that would serve these goals better.

Every Sunday someone has to photocopy each side of the bulletin, making sure everything lines up, then fold it so it opens like a book. This is tedious and time consuming. I decided on a flat piece of paper. While designing it, I kept thinking to myself that it "did not look right." But, I kept at it.

What I developed was much different than the norm. But, it achieves all the old goals. It also cuts down on photocopying and eliminates folding. In addition, people can tack it to a bulletin board or refrigerator for easy reference. My new design makes it easy to add new information and eliminate the old with minimal effort.

I used many principles of good graphic design. For example, since most people scan information in an inverted "N" manner, I put the most important information in the upper left-hand corner and reserved the upper right for a picture. The least important information is a smaller font size and outside the inverted "N."

See it for yourself (or download PDF) and tell me what you think by using the comment feature below.

The ideal, of course, is to have people go online to a unit web site where everything is available, with full and complete information, and always up-to-date. Redesigning the bulletin is a first step to improvement. If people cannot handle a bulletin redesign of that they probably won't rely on digital tools either. That's a topic for another day . . .


  1. Our ward eliminated putting the speakers in the bulletin. Eased the creation of the bulletin a TON. Any last minute changes to a speaking assignment did not need to be communicated to the bulletin specialist. And heaven forbid if they had already been printed. Also, if someone forgets they were speaking or were sick or whatever, it can be kept confidential and modifications to the meeting can be made without general knowledge to the congregation. It will all be announced soon enough who is speaking and the hymns are posted at the front of the chapel.

    We do post the next week's hymns. This allows families to sing one of those hymns each night/morning during the week as part of their family scripture and prayer. My own children are more vested in that particular hymn when it is sung the following Sunday after having sung it all week long.

    We are looking to make the bulletin digital. We'll use the Church's new Messaging system to send an email to everyone on Friday that either has the bulletin in it or a link where to find it (google docs). Benefits include:

    - Less cost
    - Less garbage in the chapel/cultural hall after Sacrament Meeting
    - How often have you asked yourself or your wife "Where did that copy of the ward bulletin go that we got today?"
    - Can use this same form of communication to
    * Send reminders about activities
    * Send primary teacher/room assignments (currently done on the first Sunday of the year)
    * Other reminders - with prudence. Don't want people to get into the habit of ignoring it

    - Reach a wider audience (this is probably the biggie)
    * If you are out of town on vacation, you still get the bulletin
    * If you are late for church and are in the back of the cultural hall, you still get the bulletin
    * If you are early and the bulletin is not yet available, you still get the bulletin