“Creating a Ward Newsletter?” Ensign, Mar. 2002, 72
Sometimes as members of the Church we are asked to create newsletters, sacrament and baptismal programs, or handouts or invitations for ward events. The following tips can help guide us in making appropriate printed materials for Church meetings and activities.
Keep the design simple. Remember that less is often better. For instance, two complementary fonts (type styles) on a half-page sacrament meeting program are usually adequate. When documents require visuals, carefully consider the placement and how many are needed. Would one large visual look better than several small ones? Whatever the size of your document, keep in mind that a simple design best complements the text.
Choose appropriate images and fonts. To give an appropriate feel for the purpose of a document and the meeting it represents, be selective about the images and fonts you use. Refer to Church magazines and other Church publications for ideas. As you select images, be careful to check copyright restrictions. When selecting a font, also consider whether it is readable for members with impaired vision.
Carefully write and select text. If you compile a ward newsletter, for instance, it is important that the tone of your writing be uplifting. It is fun to share anecdotes about ward members, with their permission. But do not print confidential information or anything that might embarrass them. In any document, it is also important to record facts correctly. People notice when their names are misspelled or when dates are listed incorrectly. While we all make mistakes, we can prevent many of these errors by taking a few moments to double-check details, use a computer spell checker, then re-read text to catch anything we may have missed earlier.
Though typing a program does not involve the same level of writing as a newsletter, content is still important and should reflect the meeting’s purpose. For instance, when a sacrament meeting includes a departing or returning missionary as one of the speakers, the printed program ought to focus mainly on the worship service.
Also, if a document includes inspirational thoughts, it is best to quote the scriptures as well as Church publications and leaders. Thoughts from other sources should be consistent with Church doctrine.
While we are counseled to “reduce and simplify,” ward and stake leaders at times need to provide some printed materials to their local congregations. By thoughtfully preparing these documents, we can help set the right tone for many of our Church meetings and events.