29 May 2007

Another day month, another great ALA article. This one about writing effective headlines (taglines) and copy:

Who Needs Headlines?

Speaking of writing, I noticed after completing a recent project, that I had spent the majority of time one part in particular – even though it represented a very small percentage of the visual design. The project was a redesign of our church bulletin (the handout given to attenders as they come into the building), and the part that took the longest was the “welcome” tagline, which read:

Welcome to The City Church

We’re so glad you chose to come to church today, and we hope you’ll experience God’s goodness and blessing at our services. Welcome home!

The City Church bulletin, and highlighted 'welcome' tagline

In that short statement, (hopefully) a lot is communicated.

  1. First, we’re partnering with the reader and celebrating their [bold] decision to come to church.

    We understand it’s not always an easy decision to make on a Sunday morning, and there are a lot of reasons to not. The very act of church attendance is a vital step to a fruitful relationship with God, so we honor it.

  2. Next, we offer support in the form of an indirect invitation to experience something – beyond just church as usual.

    If there’s any question as to why a visitor is attending, we hope to put that to rest by communicating some simple expectations that they can adopt and share. After all, some people don’t have a clue why they show up on Sundays.

  3. Finally, the “welcome home” statement is designed to add another layer of comfort and family-like reception.

    I debated this statement because I didn’t want it to sound presumptuous or proud. I needed a strong conclusion, though, and nothing else seemed to fit quite the same way.

The first run of bulletins were handed out this past Sunday, and I’ve not yet heard how they were received; and I may never hear. Whether the copy I wrote actually made any difference to a visitor I’ll probably never know. After reading the ALA article, though, I at least feel justified in taking the extra time to make sure it was right.