How to Design an Event Program

by Lindsay Barnes

Take the guessing out of your event and greet each guest at the door with an event program. With a properly constructed, well thought-out design, guests will be able to follow the chain of events throughout the night and use the program as a reference for individual performers and speakers. Include information about your organization, key speakers or performers in one section of your program. In addition, consider taking the opportunity to add a poem or excerpt from literature, appropriate for your event.

Decide if you will choose from a wide variety of online program templates or design your own. If designing your own, use programs like Adobe InDesign or Microsoft Office that will allow you to develop a layout. Choose the paper size, 8.5-by-11-inch, a common letter size, in your program to begin your design.

Choose the type of event program you will use. Event programs are often a letter size paper folded in half, much like a greeting card, or a letter size paper cut down the center, making two flat-sheet programs. If you plan on including a lot of text, use the greeting card style. If you have little text, try a flat sheet. Set up your columns or text boxes accordingly.

Choose a design and colors. Gain inspiration by looking at online template designs or simply buy a design you love. Depending on the site, designs can be purchased or downloaded for free. Choose elements that carry out the theme of the event. For a modern event, unevenly stack blocks and choose shades of gray and blue or gray and orange. For a formal event, incorporate scroll shapes in your design and embrace the trio of black, white and red. If you sent out invitations, try to match the program to the invitation design.

Write your text. The purpose of a program is to let your audience know a little bit about your event. Do so by writing the sequence of events that will take place throughout the night. In one column write the events and in a coordinating column write who will be speaking, leading or performing in each segment. If space allows, write an "about" section. Mention key guests, the reason for your event, information about your organization or about the organization the event is benefiting. If none of these apply, include a poem or short verse.

Add an image. If your design allows, choose an image for the cover page of your program or place at the very top of your program. Images add a personal touch and an interesting aspect to your design. Use images that represent the purpose of your event. For weddings, use pictures from your personal collection of musical instruments of the happy couple. For an artistic performance, buy or download free images from stock photography websites . Consider transforming your chosen image into a black and white, with the utilization of Adobe Photoshop or a basic computer photo program.

Choose a format. For ideas, follow the general idea of using the front page for the title and date of your event, right inside, for the sequence of events, and left inside, for extra information. For a flat sheet, place the title and date of your event at the top of the page, list the sequence of events underneath and a small bit of information at the bottom. Follow a design rule and create a visual hierarchy, going from big elements to small. Create one focal point and balance other elements around that point.

Print or order your design to be printed. If you are printing your design, opt for a heavier weight paper. For a natural look, use a matte paper; for a formal occasion, try a high gloss paper. Both can be found at your local paper store.

About the Author

Lindsay Barnes began writing for a real-estate education business in 2005, and later for a local politician. She has worked as a political campaign manager and public relations coordinator. Barnes holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism with an emphasis in public relations from the University of Oklahoma.

Photo Credits

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