Category Archives: Design & Inspiration

New Special Covers for October and November

That time of year is approaching again; that period when it seems as though every other day is another holiday, feast, or celebration to prepare for. From religious feasts like Our Lady of the Rosary and Christ the King, to national holidays like Veterans Day and Thanksgiving, to multinational celebrations like World Food Day and Día de los Muertos—our designers have been hard at work to create beautiful covers to help you in your celebrations. All the covers are available in full-color and black-and-white (covers with asterisks indicate bilingual versions). So take a look at what’s new on LPi’s Art & Media Portal, and get ready to celebrate!

October Special Covers

November Special Covers

Anything we’ve missed? If you’re looking for a special cover that you can’t find on Portal, be sure to let us know—you can leave a comment below or e-mail us your suggestions at

Creating Calendars in Publisher

There are many occasions where you may find yourself in need of a calendar in your publication.  There are many different ways to accomplish this, but one quick relatively simple method is to simply use a table.

The first step to accomplish this would be to create a table.  This can be done a couple ways.  In older releases of Publisher you would click on the “Table” dropdown and chose Insert ->Table.  In newer versions there is an insert table option either on the quick access toolbar or under “Insert”.  As we are creating the table it will ask us for the number of rows and columns, for this we would set the columns as 5 or 7 depending on whether or not we are including weekends, and for rows we would want 1 more than the number of weeks in the month (So for the month of May we would chose 6.)

Now we have a table!  I know it’s not quite as exciting as I make it sound, but it is a start at least.  The next trick is turning that simple table into the calendar we want.  At this point we would want to take that table and resize it to fill the space we want for the calendar.  This can be done by clicking and dragging the bubbles at the sides and corners of the table.  Once we have the table resized we would want to scale down the very top row as this will be where we will input the days of the week.  This is accomplished by clicking and dragging the line at the bottom of that row.  Now we should have something that looks like the image to the right.

It’s a calendar!  Well, almost.  We’ve still got a couple small formatting things to do before we are done.  Next we need to place the solid lines separating each day on the calendar.  If we right click on the very edge of the table and chose “Format Table” it will bring up this window.  From here we should be able to click on the third preset option and this will place solid lines everywhere we had a dotted line before.  All that is left to do from here is to fill in the content, and just like that we have a calendar!


Design Tips: How to Evaluate and Improve Your Publication Layout

You’ve probably heard the saying, “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.”  So how do you judge if your design is “good,” “bad,” or just average?   If you’ve ever thought about evaluating whether or not your publication could use a facelift, here are a few general guidelines to keep in mind.

Overall Look and Aesthetic Appeal

Is your design attractive? Although completely subjective, one good way to measure your progress is to ask for opinions.  Try to get feedback from your readers, as well as others who have never seen your publication before.  Don’t be afraid to listen to suggestions, and consider any positive comments and constructive criticism you may receive.  LPi’s graphic designers are also more than happy to provide our input as well.  Just give us a call!


Photos are a great design element when used effectively.  They can capture a moment in time, elicit emotions, and also help to illustrate a point better than words alone.  On the flip side, if you use a cell phone to take your pictures, and/or if they are dark, out of focus, or blurry, they can ruin your reader’s perception of your design.  Picasa is a great free tool you can use to lighten dark photos, remove redeye, add contrast and even experiment with fun filters that turn your pictures into “pencil sketches” and more.


Who is your publication meant for?  Consider your audience’s needs in order to keep them engaged and interested in reading.  Think about what your readers find most important, and be sure to place that content front and center.  For example, if the Easter mass times are buried in the middle of the bulletin, perhaps it would make more sense to put them on the cover or first page where they can easily be found.  Also, remember that your advertisers are most likely a source of revenue for your publication.  Be sure to find a way to acknowledge, recognize, and thank them, because chances are, they are reading!  Check the Art and Media Portal for ideas on how to provide an added value for the businesses that support your publication.


Your choice of colors can really affect the overall tone and feel of your publication. Are your colors readable?  Black text on a dark background is never a good idea.  Are your colors complementary, or do they clash?  Certain colors just do not work together, while other color schemes can be stunning.  If you need some ideas, visit to see popular themes created by artists and designers, and you can use similar colors in your publication.

Do your colors fit your branding?  If you have a logo, the newsletter/bulletin colors should match or complement it, and it’s also a good idea to keep your design elements consistent between your website, newsletter, letterhead and other print materials to build recognition among your patrons.


Is your type clear and legible?  Even the most beautiful decorative font is completely useless if it doesn’t serve its purpose, which is to be read!  Specialty fonts may look nice in theory, but before choosing them, stop and think about whether they are practical for your publication.  As with bolding and underlining, special fonts should be used sparingly to draw attention and provide emphasis, but if they are overused, your reader will not know what to focus on and may lose interest.  See our blog post on Using Typefaces Effectively for more info.

Layout/Use of Space

Is your information organized in a logical manner?  Sections with headings can really help readers to easily search for and find the content that pertains to them.  Also, white space is considered an important element in graphic design, as it brings a sense of order to your layout, and makes it appear uncluttered, which can help improve readability.  Therefore, try not to cram too much information into a small amount of space.  Hold some articles for future issues if necessary, in order to keep your publication clean and easy to read.

The above categories should be a good starting point to help you gauge how you are doing with your publication design.  If you decide that you want a new look, keep in mind that LPi provides free design services, so if you’d like, we can work with you to come up with a different layout.  Otherwise, feel free to try making some updates on your own.  Sometimes just a few little tweaks, like changing a color or a font, can make all the difference in helping turn your bulletin or newsletter into a masterpiece.

That Looks Familiar – Duplicating Images

Sometimes it just makes sense to use the same piece of clip art multiple times. If you’re creating string to separate two articles, if you want to frame an article title, or if you just want to decorate a page with a specific type of item. However, having to insert, resize and position the exact same image multiple times can get a bit taxing. Many publishing programs have a shortcut for duplicating any item within your document.

In Publisher and Word, that short cut is to hold the Control key and then click and drag the object. When you are holding the Control key and move the cursor over an image it generally changes the cursor to include a “+” symbol and a box, this will look a lot like the image shown to the right. From there, if you click and drag the image, it will create an exact duplicate in the location you drop it!

This little trick will most certainly come in handy when creating borders, highlighting articles, or filling a page with stars and snowflakes.

Using Typefaces Effectively

How effective are your headings? Do they catch attention? Are they readable? Thanks to the computer there are many typefaces available to you, and you will want to choose them wisely. Each typeface has a personality, and you can “match” that personality to the subject of your articles.

While some of these decorative typefaces are fun to use, they are not necessarily appropriate for the entire article. For example, look at the word “Western” in the example to the 1eft.This typeface would make a great heading for a Country Potluck Dinner, but can you imagine reading an entire article about the dinner in that typeface? Your eyes would grow tired, and you might even lose interest in the article.

With this in mind, why not have some fun with your headings? To make headings stand out, they should provide a contrast to the article in some way. A natural tendency may be to put your headings in all capital 1etters.This might be appropriate for very short headings. However, text in all capital letters can be very difficult to read, especially when using script typefaces.

There are many other ways to give your headings some punch. Make them larger or bolder than the article. Choose something more decorative for emphasis. See the variety of examples below:

Most typefaces fall into two broad categories: those that look hand drawn and those that look mechanical. You probably would not use a script typeface to head an article about football, just as you would not use a mechanical typeface to head an article about flowers. Not sure which decorative typeface to use? Use your intuition. Different typefaces for headings can add variety and interest to your publication.

Is It Time For A New Look?

If your bulletin cover is starting to look old and boring, then it might be time for a new look. Take it from plain and ordinary to fresh and distinctive.

Gone are the days of black-and-white photo-copied bulletin covers. Differentiate yourself from the faceless bulletins of the past. A custom professional bulletin cover leaves the impression that you put great thought into serving the people attending your services. Liturgical Publications Inc has graphic designers on staff that are available to help give your bulletin cover a fresh new look that will capture the attention of your entire congregation.

A bulletin is the one piece of your church that accompanies a person after they leave the building. What is your bulletin telling your guests once they get home? A custom bulletin cover can have a lasting effect on a person’s opinion of your church. So speak to your guests with a design that will remind them of something that they want to go back to.

You can send us photos and text of what you would like on your cover via email. Take pictures (with a digital camera*) of and around your church and send us those photos for use on your new cover. Our designers will customize your text with font selection and edit and insert photos that have been submitted to give the final layout a fine tuned finished look.

*Tips for taking pictures for the cover design...
Take many pictures at various angles from inside and outside of your church. When taking pictures of the building, take pictures standing from the right side of the building then the left side and finally, a couple head on. (Be careful not to cut off the steeples! :o ) It is helpful to have a variety of different images to work with, too. There might be other areas of interest at your site (i.e. statues, paintings, chapels, or anything special in your church or complex) that could be captured to make your bulletin cover unique. Remember, what you take pictures of is your choice. It’s your church, you know best what is significant to your organization and congregation.

Ready for your new look? Please contact us to begin working on your new custom cover design!

If your account starts with…

01, 02, or 05 (Milwaukee/Edina/Denver): Call 1-800-950-9952

03, 04, or 06 (Hartford, CT/Rochester, NY): Call 1-800-888-4574

14 or 15 (Cleveland/Detroit): Call 1-800-477-4574

Why Am I Always Late??

This is the perfect topic for me as I tend to have difficulties with time management! Something always gets in my way of being on time! Then guilt sets in because you are late…again.

Is that how your day goes in the church office? You are expected to get your bulletin transmitted at a certain time to LPi and what happens? The phone is ringing off the hook, people are coming in and wanting to chat, Father can’t find the notes he was using to produce his article, there’s a problem with the plumbing while you’re alone and cleanup is absolutely necessary, Mrs. Smith slipped on the step coming into the office and needs an ice pack, and…there’s the phone again!! Good heavens, I hope no one needs to plan a funeral!! Oh no, I just received an email from LPi wondering where my bulletin is!! Calgon take me away!!!

First of all, let me tell you the most important tip. Breathe!! Step back and take a deep breath and relax. The more you stress, the more mistakes you’ll make, and then your publication will be even later. How can I produce a bulletin when I have so many other things to do? You need a plan.

Here are some tips I’ve heard from other editors.

  1. Get all your materials that you need to use in one place so you won’t have to stop and look for something.
  2. Set a bulletin deadline. Place a notice inside your bulletin informing parishioners what the deadline is for getting articles to you for the bulletin and STICK TO IT!
  3. Handle any interruptions you have as quickly and efficiently as possible. Let voicemail take your phone calls if that’s possible or ask the caller if you can get back to them later.
  4. Don’t leave everything until the last minute. As soon as one bulletin is completed, start planning on next week’s. Work on the bulletin every chance you have so you have the basic “bones” completed.
  5. Many editors are late because they are waiting for someone’s article. Often there is nothing you can do about this except wait it out if this article is absolutely essential to your publication. Have everything else finished so all you have to do is insert this article when you receive it. If possible, have a talk with these individuals and tell them how important it is to stick to the deadline.
  6. If you need technical help, call Technical Support at LPi and get their expert advice on how to solve your problem as soon as you encounter the problem. This will save you a lot of wear and tear! They can virtually walk you through sending your bulletin.
  7. If all else fails, call Customer Service at LPi and let them know you will send the bulletin a little late. We understand things happen so please just let us know as soon as possible when you will be sending.

Contributed by Milwaukee Customer Service Representative Mary Spongberg.

Color of the Week

Color SwatchesDepending on how your bulletin or newsletter is printed, you may occasionally hear the terms two-color, liturgical color, highlight color, or spot color. While full-color and black-and-white are straightforward, a two-color publication varies from issue to issue: the first color being black, and the second being the liturgical or highlight color, which changes weekly. And some covers are printed using only the color of the week. So how is this color of the week determined?

As the term “liturgical color” suggests, it has its basis in the liturgy. More specifically, the color of the week is based on the Catholic liturgical color (the color of the altar coverings and the vestments worn by the priest at Mass on Sunday) since, while LPi now serves churches of many denominations and organizations, like senior centers, without a religious affiliation, our history is in working with Catholic parishes. For example, throughout Advent and Lent the priest’s vestments are violet—with the exception of the 3rd Sunday of Advent (Gaudete Sunday) and the 4th Sunday of Lent (Laetare Sunday), which are a shade of rose; hence, the color of the week throughout Advent and Lent will be a shade of violet (except for the two weeks noted above).

However, on many occasions, especially major feasts, the vestment color is white…hardly an ideal color for printing! In these instances an appropriate color is selected based on customer surveys and printing considerations. For example, during the Easter season (when vestments are white) various shades of blue are used, except for the weekend of Mother’s Day where a shade of rose is used. Sundays during the Christmas season (the Epiphany, Holy Family, and Baptism of the Lord) also use a shade of blue. Other feasts, like Easter Sunday and Trinity Sunday, employ a shade of red; Christ the King, which generally falls on the calendar close to Thanksgiving, receives a golden orange color in 2011 but, based on customer feedback, will change to red starting in 2012.

Throughout ordinary time (which makes up most of the year), the priest’s vestments are green, but to prevent week after week of publications being printed in the same color, several shades of green, as well as blue, are cycled throughout the season; besides adding some variety, this allows you to see with just a glance the difference between two issues, especially if the layout of the cover doesn’t change much from issue to issue.

You can easily view what the liturgical/highlight color for a given week will be by consulting your Resource Calendar: the color of the week is listed on both the Ink Color Chart as well as each week of the calendar—on the individual week you can even see along the side the various tints of the color of the week when printed at different percentages.

In general, the printed color of the week is based on the following schedule:

Advent                     violet
Christmas                 Day: red; season: blue
Lent                            violet
Easter                        Day: rose; season: blue
Ordinary Time         green/blue
-Pentecost               red
-Trinity Sunday        red
-Corpus Christi        wine
-Christ the King      red

To learn more about the official liturgical colors of the Catholic Church, see numbers 335–347 of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) here.

Rotate or flip objects in Publisher

Select the object that you want to rotate or flip.

Do one of the following:

Rotate objects freely

Point to the green rotation handle.

Drag the mouse in the direction you want the object to rotate.

NOTE: To rotate in 15-degree increments, hold down SHIFT while dragging the handle.

Rotate objects by 90 degrees

On the Arrange menu, point to Rotate or Flip, and then select the option you want.

Rotate an object an exact number of degrees

Right-click the object.

On the shortcut menu, click Format <object type>, and then click the Size tab.

Under Size and rotate, type or select the number of degrees to rotate the object in the Rotation box.

Rotate an object on its base

Hold down CTRL and drag the green rotation handle.

The object will rotate in a circle by pivoting around the handle (handle: One of several small shapes displayed around an object when the object is selected. You can move or reshape an object by clicking on a handle and dragging.) that is located directly across from the green rotation handle.

Flip an object

On the Arrange menu, point to Rotate or Flip.

Do one of the following:

To flip an object horizontally, click Flip Horizontal.

To flip an object vertically, click Flip Vertical.

How does it all fit? Working with Clip Art.

In the past we have discussed how to build up your clip art library and then how to modify images to fit your needs (within the bounds of copyrights as was discussed in another post,) but now comes the tricky part of getting these images into your publication.

There are a few formatting options available for images.  Anyone working with images in Word knows the first option “In Line with Text.”  This is the default setting for any images that are inserted into a word document, but it is generally unfavorable because it often takes up a lot of room unnecessarily.  So how do we fix this?

First, if you right click on the image a series of options will open up, one of which will say “Format Picture”  This will open a formatting window, if we click on the Layout tab we will see the Text Wrapping options.  (In later versions of word the Text Wrapping options are accessible just by right clicking the image.)  Remember this Formatting screen as we will refer to it later.

Of the options that are available, Square is most likely the choice we are looking for.  This will allow us to move the image freely and will let the text fill the white space on either side of the image (this is the default picture setting in Publisher.)

There are a lot of other options available to us, for instance, lets say we want our graphic behind the text.  In word, we can either use the “Behind Text” option from the “format Picture” screen, or else we can just right click the image and there is an option available for “Send to Back” and “Send Behind Text,” similarly in publisher, you can right click, select “Object Order” and “Send to Back.  Generally this format is used for watermarks and should be done very sparingly and only with lighter images so that it doesn’t interfere with the text on top.  Also overuse of watermarks or images behind text can make your publication look very busy and make it harder to read.

These are only a couple of options available to help your graphics work with the text.  Don’t be afraid to play with the available options and see what you can do