11+ Tips for Designing a Graduation Program

Designing Your Invitation

graduation program design

Everyone at the university is ready for some pomp and circumstance. To make graduation day even more memorable, prepare a detailed program that all guests will enjoy perusing and tucking inside a graduation keepsake frame or memento box.

Not sure what to include beyond the event date and speaker schedule? We’ve got you covered when it comes to selecting the paper to print on to the words to include. Let’s get this program designing started!

Choosing Graduation Program Paper

As you browse paper choices, you’ll be making decisions about color, folding pattern, and weight. You have two choices when it comes to choosing the color of the paper you’ll use: school colors or classic neutrals such as cream, grey or white. Both options can be expressed with solid-colored, bordered, or patterned paper. We love the elegance and colorful variety of the Pristine Specialty Foil Programs and the whimsical pattern of the beautiful gold Brighton Specialty Programs.

When choosing the fold of the paper, single or tri-fold are the most popular. For small schools or mid-year graduation ceremonies, a single sheet of decorative paper printed front and back might do the trick.

Since the graduation program will likely be saved, choose a heavyweight paper. As you browse the selection of specialty program paper options, you’ll notice each one has a rating, such as “65 lb stock”. The higher the number, the heavier and more durable the paper.

Then, embellish the program! Embossed seals featuring the school emblem or colorful ribbon bookmarks inside multi-page, single-fold programs add a luxe style to the program.

What to Include in the Program

Once you’ve decided on the perfect paper, start crafting your words. On the front of the program, use the formal name of the university followed by the date, location of the event and, if relevant, the specific group of students who are graduating. If the ceremony is just for those who are receiving their doctorates, indicate that it’s a specialized ceremony.

Inside the program make a sequential list of the commencement activities. Here are a few suggested headings:

  • Processional: List the order of the people entering, such as faculty, graduates, board of trustee members, and special guests. You can also make a note of the musical selection being played. If it’s being performed by a live band, name them.
  • Welcome: This section will briefly list speakers and what they are contributing to the day. Are you starting with a few words from the university president? Do you have a special guest welcoming everyone?
  • Commencement Address: Name the person giving this speech and their title or affiliation with the school. They may be a student, guest speaker, or faculty member.
  • Conferring of Degrees: Name the people and their titles who will be presenting the graduates with their diplomas.
  • Closing: Will there be a final speech from a class valedictorian or faculty member? List their name and title.
  • Recessional: Name the people who will lead the graduates out of the room and the song being played during this part of the ceremony.

Finish the program with a short invitation for guests to attend a social hour in an adjoining facility, a few words of wisdom for the future of the graduating class, or the class motto. Create the program to fit your institution’s unique event, which may include singing, prayer, or viewing a photo slideshow. This is your event – customize it!

Most universities will also include a list of graduates as part of the program or as an added insert, depending on the number of names. Consider placing special symbols next to each name indicating special honors, designations, or type of degree obtained.

Skip These Non-Essentials

As you gain momentum on this project, it’s enticing to start including more and more information. Remember this document will become a keepsake for the students and their families, but it does not need to tell the entire history of the school or become an entertainment piece for guests.

Avoid lengthy school history stories, listings of faculty members, yearbook-style photographs, school trivia, artwork, or descriptions of degree requirements.

Are you ready to pick out the perfect paper for your program? Browse the Specialty Programs collection at PaperDirect today to get ideas for your project!