Creating Event Calendars for Busy Schedules

Spring will soon be in the air, and Lent is now upon us. Preparing for holy seasons presents a challenge to our editors, who must find a way to squeeze many special events and masses into the bulletin. What is the best way to convey important dates and church happenings to parishioners within a limited amount of space?  Depending on the type and amount of information, there are several layout options to consider.

Traditional Calendar Style

Calendar layouts are ideal for displaying very basic details.  The following example worked well because only the date, time, location, and event name were needed.  One limitation of using this method within Microsoft Publisher is that the table row height expands based on the amount of content in each cell.  In other words, unless the content is the same length for each day, the calendar’s rows may vary a bit in height.

Lent events calendar design

How To:

Creating a traditional calendar in Microsoft Publisher is not a straightforward process, but it can be done.  The calendar must be created manually by inserting a table into the document, with 7 columns and 6 rows.  Resize the top row to a shorter height, as that area will contain the days of the week.  Next, number each cell based on the dates within the calendar month.  To avoid confusion, enter all dates first, then go back and type in the events for each day.  See Microsoft Publisher’s Support website, or call an LPi Tech Support Representative if assistance is needed with table formatting.

Chronological Event List

Event lists work well when there are only a few events to note, and/or if the time span for activities is shorter than a month.  Alignment, color and white space can help organize the information, as demonstrated in the below example.

upcoming eventsUsing tabs to align the dates and events balances the information and improves readability.

How To:

Refer to “Keeping Tabs on Your Content”  or “Setting Tabs in Microsoft Publisher” for tips on how to create tabs.

Chronological Table

Tables featuring a row for each weekday are useful when there are several daily activities.  This layout offers extra room for event descriptions, if needed.

chronological table calendar layout

How To:

Create two separate tables, with 3 columns and 15 rows each.  Label the left column with days of the week.  Decrease the width of the middle column, and then type in the numerical date, working vertically down the table. Event descriptions can be placed in the right column.

Cluster Parish Events

Juggling multiple events for more than one church may seem daunting, but using a list or table format makes it possible.  Event lists can be organized by abbreviating the church names, with a clearly labeled key section.  The following is an example of a tabbed event list with key.

calendar with key tri parish

Table layouts may work better if each church has many events that are not shared with the other locations.  Simply include a separate column or row for each location. See the example below.

Lenten Calendar table

In summary, there are many potential ways to organize event information in a concise, readable manner.  Note that some of the above examples may require an intermediate to advanced level of skill with Microsoft Publisher.  Feel free to contact your local LPi tech support department if you need any assistance with tables or tabs.

Have any alternative methods or tips for managing your events/activity list, besides those mentioned above?  Please comment to share your thoughts. We are always interested in new ideas and suggestions!

Hardbound deadline is fast approaching

Included in your agreement with LPi is a hardbound volume of each year’s bulletins or newsletters. The deadline for submitting your bulletins or newsletters for binding is fast approaching. Please consult your 2014 LPi Resource Calendar for the exact deadline and detailed instructions on how to prepare your bulletins or newsletters for binding and the address to send them to.

Newsletter Design Trends: How to Find Your Style

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

newsletter cover designs

Inside Pages

newsletter inside page designs

Which style is best for your organization?

Bulletin editors who read my previous post 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!

Planning Ahead!

Did you know the LPi Resource Calendar is a very useful tool?

  • It contains early submission deadlines for the year so you can plan your year accordingly
  • Information regarding your bound books. The due date for sending in your bulletin/newsletters for binding will be coming up soon! Please start gathering your publications and putting them in the order you want bound
  • Reminders to adjust your quantity during the summer months and holiday’s
  • And more…

 

You should have received your 2014 Resource Calendar, If you have not or if you need an additional  copy you can download if from LPi’s Art and Media Portal by clicking here or you can contact your local LPi service center.

Please make sure you download the correct version for your region.

 

Have a Very Merry Christmas and a Joyous Holiday Season!

What’s your style? Bulletin layouts for every taste

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

Covers

cover layouts

 

Inside Pages

inside pages

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!

 

What Is a Thumbnail Image?

By definition at Merriam-Webster Online:
thumb·nail noun [thuhm-neyl]

1. the hard covering at the end of a thumb: the fingernail of a thumb
2. computers: a very small copy of a larger picture on a computer

Since we all understand the first definition, let’s talk computers. A thumbnail image is a tiny graphics file. It is a small-scale, low-resolution image generated from the original image. Thumbnail images are created from standard size images and are used on webpages. The small size allows Web surfers quick access to webpage content. People would find retail shopping nearly impossible if it weren’t for the use of thumbnail images, and surfing pages with multiple images would simply take too long.

In many cases, thumbnail images are clickable, causing a larger image to load at the user’s discretion. This makes webpages user-friendly, saving the user from having to download large image files that he or she doesn’t need or want to see. With a page of smaller images, the user can click on only those images of interest and then download the large, original, high-resolution image file and not the small, low-resolution thumbnail image.

So, when designing your print documents, be sure to download the high-resolution image and not the thumbnail for the best quality image.

Print Preview Using LPi Express

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. — Benjamin Franklin

Franklin’s adage is just as true today in the cyberworld as it was in colonial times. Before you submit your publication to LPi to be printed, always preview your PDF file by clicking the Preview your .pdf file link on the Ready to Submit screen. Clicking the Preview your .pdf file link gives you one last opportunity to review your publication. When you click the Preview your .pdf file link, what you will see is what we will print. If everything looks good to you, close the preview window and click the Submit button. If, however, you spot something which you wish to change, close the preview window and click the Reset button to return to your publication. Make whatever changes you wish to make and then print your publication to the LPi Express printer again. And don’t forget… preview your PDF file again before clicking the Submit button. Doing so will obviate the need to submit your publication a second time. If you do need to submit your publication a second time, please call us as soon as possible so that we can intercept the job which you submitted previously.

Are you Linked into Linking?

If you use Publisher, Quark or InDesign to create your publication, one of the options you have when placing images is to link them to your publication file. But what does that mean and why would you choose to do that?

Generally speaking images files are large and take up lots of storage in your computer. When embedded in a Publisher, Quark or InDesign publication, the file you are working on becomes larger and takes more memory and hard drive space. In most circumstances this is an acceptable practice, and while it will make the program respond slower, the average computer used today is able to process data so quickly you will not likely notice. The same can be said for the space used by larger files in that most computers have very large hard drives and expansive amounts of RAM so that the effect of these larger files is rarely a issue to the average user.

This brings us back to the question of when is linking a good idea? Linking allows all high resolution image files to remain in one centralized location such as a server. This is commonly used at companies that work with high volumes of large image files such as newspapers or magazines. The files remain on the server and are not being copied to individual workstations across the company network slowing it down. When the document is finally ready for printing, proofing or final print, the software then finds the original high resolution image file and sends it to the printer.

The drawback to linking files to a page layout program is that, if the link is ever broken the high resolution file can no longer be used when you need to print it. When this occurs you will see a warning like the one in Microsoft Publisher. It states Publisher cannot find the following linked picture. It then lists the image that is missing. Publisher then offers up three options, find the linked picture and update it, print the low-resolution picture currently displayed in your publication, or print an empty space in place of the missing picture. In that instance you will always want to find the original file as printing the low resolution image or an empty space would only possibly be useful for proofreading.

As you can see, linking images is best avoided for the average user of page layout programs since it amounts to more confusion. Simply inserting the high resolution graphic is generally the best bet. The files you will find on LPi’s Art and Media Portal are all designed to keep the file sizes compact to allow for quicker downloading while at the same time making your bulletin or newsletter look great!

A Graphic Arts Glossary #7

This is the seventh post in a series. Watch this blog during the months to come for further installments in this ongoing series.

The purpose of the series is to define key terms used in the graphic arts industry.

The seventh term in the series is grain.

Grain: A paper’s grain is the direction in which most of the fibers line up during the manufacturing process.

crossgraindirGrain is determined during the paper making process, when plant fibers, typically wood pulp, tend to line up in one direction or the other. Paper is identified as either grain short (grain is parallel to the paper’s short side) or grain long (grain is parallel to the paper’s long side), depending on how the paper is cut. It is easier to fold, bend, or tear the paper along the same direction of the fibers. Printing is usually done so that if folding is required, the fold is done parallel to the grain.

The eighth term in the series will be halftone.