Designers create, choose, and organize elements – typography, images, and the so-called “white space” around them – to communicate a message.  Designers work to establish the best balance between image and typography.

Here is a Design Checklist to help with creating beautiful and effective printed materials:

Is your material well designed with consistent fonts, colors, styles and does it follow the four basic principles of design: contrast, repetition, alignment and proximity? (For more information read “The Non-Designer’s Design Book.”)

Does the material include information that a visitor, as well as a long time parishioner, would find useful and easy to understand (i.e. no obscure acronyms)?

Does the material have strong imagery and catchy headlines to draw the readers to the content?

Do you incorporate high-quality photography of events, people and places around your parish or school or stock photography to attract attention?  You can build a “stock” library of photos from your parish sacred art and events.

Avoid these Common Mistakes:

  • Stock images that look artificial
  • Poor quality images
  • Text over busy backgrounds
  • Border art and article separators
  • Too many font styles and sizes
  • Using all caps
  • Underlining
  • Too many italics and too many bold words
  • Failure to proofread
  • Not enough white space
  • Not giving your information hierarchy or proper organization

Perhaps the biggest mistake you can make as a designer is to miss the entire point of design itself. “Design” is often confused with “decoration,” but it’s actually about responding to problems. The problem is we need to communicate to people and communication is difficult because of “roadblocks.” People are distracted. People are overloaded with information. People speak many languages. Cultural differences lead to breakdowns in communication. Design is supposed to bring down the roadblocks and get the message delivered.

Writing tips:

  • Use active voice
  • The tone and attitude should affirm the dignity of each person
  • Write interesting and relevant headlines
  • Keep it short and to the point
  • Use bullet points, short sentences, and short paragraphs

Since you often can’t offer great detail in print, you can suggest a reading list or invite readers to check your website for more information.

Also Good to Remember:

Does your design “Send Forth” the people of God. We are a missionary people. Does your printed material empower people to live out the mission of the Church?

Go Digital. Your printed materials should be available online. Text, graphics and photos from your printed materials,  can be tweets, posts and blogs.

Resources is an online platform that provides design templates and stock images. If you need assistance with Canva, contact

Picmonkey, befunky, Vectr and Piktochart help you create graphics and collages.