June 27, 2024 The Print Authority

Graduation Ceremony Program Printing + Design

The school year has finished, and “Pomp and Circumstance” is playing. It’s time for new graduates to walk across the stage and be recognized for all their hard work at a commencement ceremony. 

Pulling off a graduation day takes a lot of preparation, including organizing gowns, preparing a stage, and organizing speakers. Most importantly, printing a sophisticated graduation ceremony program helps your ceremony go off without a hitch. 

Printing a program for your graduation captures the essence of your celebration. In this article, we explain how to design and print programs that new graduates and their families will cherish. 

Creating the Ideal Graduation Ceremony Program

From brainstorming your first ideas to holding finished programs in your hands, here’s how to prepare a program that celebrates new grads. 

Select a Design

Your program is an opportunity to recognize your graduating seniors’ achievements. Here are some ideas to think about:

  • Tone. Consider the mood you want to set for the ceremony. Are you aiming for a celebratory event or a stately one? Your font, color scheme, and decorative elements will depend on your desired tone. 
  • Branding. Think about how prominent you’d like your institution’s name and branding to be. Your program can range from including only your institution’s name and colors to images of your mascot or even photos of campus buildings. 
  • Imagery. Designing your graduation program is an opportunity to include images that matter to your grads. A photo of the graduating class turns your program into a keepsake that graduates and their families will cherish for years. 

As you’re developing a design, feel free to look for inspiration, come up with your own design from scratch, or ask a printing company to create a graduation program template for you. That way, you’ll end up with a program worthy of your graduates’ achievements. 

Nail Down the Schedule 

Your ceremony can make or break your graduates’ day, and deciding on a ceremony schedule creates the structure attendees need.

Your graduation schedule will vary based on the size of your school and the age of your graduates. A university graduation might last multiple days, so a longer, booklet-style program can guide students and families through the entire celebration. 

If your school is holding a singular ceremony, a single-page flat or folded program might suffice. This will provide enough space to list the order of events. 

Some of the items in your schedule might include: 

  • Procession of the graduates into the ceremony
  • Opening remarks
  • Musical performances
  • Valedictorian or other student speaker
  • Distribution of diplomas
  • Closing remarks
  • Recession of graduates 

No matter the length of your ceremony, include the name, time, and location of each event in your program’s design. If your school has a large campus, consider including a campus map that indicates where events will be held, so that everyone can get where they need to be. 

Use Clear Lettering

What’s the point of printing a graduation program if audience members can’t read it? Use fonts that are easy to understand so that everyone in attendance can follow along and give the graduates the appreciation they deserve. 

Some top fonts for graduation programs include: 

Old Sport Athletic. This font is bold and clear, and its collegiate imagery makes it a great choice for high school and college graduations. 

Happy Graduation. This modern font brings a sense of cheer and celebration to your programs, making it a good fit for middle and high school graduation ceremonies. 

Your School’s Font. If your school typically uses a certain font, use that on your graduation program as well. Maintaining a consistent image ties your program to your school identity. 

Most importantly, as we mentioned earlier, make sure that your font matches the tone of your graduation. If you’re creating a program for a kindergarten graduation, for example, you can choose a more festive font, whereas you might want a more solemn font for a university graduation. All in all, as long as your font is legible, you can’t go wrong. 


There’s nothing more embarrassing than a typo on official, public-facing materials. Your graduation program is a symbol of the education that you have provided for your graduates, so getting your copy correct is one of the most important things you can do. 

To eliminate any mistakes, you can do the following: 

  • Get lots of input. By hearing from coworkers both in your department and around your school, you can draft a program that represents your school as a whole.
  • Read through, and read through again. Some typos can be difficult to notice, so read through your program multiple times before you send it off. Asking a colleague to read through the program will also help you catch mistakes. 
  • Use technology to your advantage. These days, digital platforms such as Grammarly provide effective spell-check and grammar-check services that help you get your text into great shape. 

Partner with a Professional Printing Company

When printing your graduation ceremony program, working with a professional printing company like The Print Authority creates the beautiful product you’re looking for. 

When you partner with a professional printing service, a new world of printing options opens up for you. Professional printers can print on sophisticated, thicker papers that add luxury to your celebration. A quality print company also provides the special finishing touches that turn programs into keepsakes, including embossing, UV coating, and scoring and folding. These extra elements add an extra level to your programs, ensuring that graduates and families will keep them for decades. 

How to Ace Layout 

Your program’s layout guides attendees through the graduation ceremony. As you’re creating your layout, think about the following. 

The simpler, the better. The typical graduation program has few words and doesn’t distract from the ceremony itself. 

Use both the front and back. Most graduation programs are double-sided. On one side, you can include the name of your school and the time, date, and location. On the other side, you can include the order of events and speakers’ names. 

Draw attention to what matters. Put the title of the graduation in a prominent place on the document, and make your program easy to read. This can mean laying out the order of events in either one or two simple columns that clearly explain how the ceremony will go. 

Graduation Ceremony Program Examples

Looking for inspiration? Here are some program examples that can get your creative juices flowing. 


This program example from Canva is a classic and elegant program suitable for any high school or college. Canva’s easy to use editing platform means that you can switch out the background image for a picture of your school to further personalize it. 

This example of a kindergarten graduation program is light-hearted, and it uses an age-appropriate tone. The crayons, alphabet, and illustrations make the illustrations engaging for young graduates, and the text lists the order of events for parents and guardians. 


This graduation program is perfect for middle and high school ceremonies. Its bright colors and modern fonts cheer on graduates and celebrate their achievements. It provides the order of events during the ceremony without clogging the document with unnecessary words. 

Create Perfect Programs with The Print Authority

When you celebrate your graduating class, you send them out into the world with confidence as they continue their journeys. Here at The Print Authority, we print programs for your school that students and families will cherish for a lifetime. 

Our in-house design team can help you create the perfect graduation ceremony program, and our offset and digital presses create high-quality school materials that look great and hold up over time. 

To learn more about how The Print Authority can make your graduation a success, contact us for more information.