Principles of Design for Newsletters

Publishing a newsletter is a wonderful way to keep your name in front of customers or prospects. A newsletter may entertain, educate, inspire, or inform. And a well designed newsletter communicates much about the organization that publishes it.

To achieve a great looking newsletter, adhere to a few basic principles of composition and design. You will produce a publication that will catch the eye of the readers.

BEGIN WITH A PROTOTYPE

Whether you are designing a new publication or refreshing the look of an existing one, begin by developing a prototype – a model of what the finished newsletter will look like. To do this, you will have to decide on format (the newsletter’s size and shape); grid (the underlying organization); graphic style (color palette, graphic elements, photographs); and nameplate (title).

The graphic style should be approached with one thing in mind: graphic elements need to be consistent. This is especially true for any which repeat page to page, such as rules, borders, or drop caps.

LAYOUT TECHNIQUES

Because a newsletter incorporates more elements than text on the page, it is important to use page layout software like Adobe InDesign, Adobe PageMaker or Adobe Photoshop rather than a word processing program like Microsoft Word.

Text boxes: organize the body copy in text boxes where it can flow freely. And remember – never use two text boxes when one will do. For example, put the headline and body copy in the same text box, not two different ones.

Graphics: when using graphics in your newsletter, photos from a digital camera in JPEG format should be at 300 dpi resolution in the size that is being used in the newsletter.

Color specification: before you begin preparing your newsletter, set the correct color space (CMYK, RGB). If you have embedded graphics, be sure the color names used in the image files match the color names defined in the page layout file exactly, character for character.

Fonts: use a stylized font (i.e., bold or italic) only if you have that font installed on your computer. Some programs may allow you to apply a style (bold or italic) even though the font is not available.

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