The Newsletter Guy
The best writing can be undone by poor design. Your company newsletter
doesn't have to look like a slick, four-color magazine, but it should
utilize basic design techniques to make it readable.
There are newsletter design seminars offered year-round
in cities throughout the United States. Attend one and you'll get
an excellent return on a one-day investment.
In the meantime, follow these basic newsletter design
TYPE: A good newsletter must be easy
on the eyes. Too many typefaces are difficult to read. Use one typeface
for headlines, one for text and perhaps a third for photo captions.
That fancy typeface you like may look classy on the sample sheet
in the print shop, but may be so hard to read when set in long columns
that your newsletter loses its effectiveness. Typefaces, or fonts,
have personalities. Choose one that complements the personality
of your business.
LAYOUT: Learn how to
make a layout and how to make your copy fit the layout, such as
by changing the leading (the space between lines of text).
DESIGN: Have a good
mix of photographs, artwork and stories. Nothing is more boring
than reading column after column of text. Focus your readers' attention
with creative graphic elements, such as clip art, photos, boxes,
and screen tints. But don't use too many of them, or else the readers'
eyes won't know where to look first.
SOFTWARE: Learn how
to use one of the popular page layout programs available for Macintosh
and PCs. The most widely used are PageMaker, Quark Xpress and In
PHOTOGRAPHY: A well-written,
attractively designed newsletter can be sabotaged by poor photography.
Polaroid snapshots are often the rule for internally produced newsletters
because they are so easily available. The downside is they often
appear washed out when printed. Learn how to use a simple, fully-automatic
35mm camera, or even better, a digital camera with three megapixels
or more, and take a basic photo course to learn about composition.
INK: Stay away from
colored inks for text; newsletter articles look best in black or
dark blue ink. Use a second or third spot color sparingly for screen
tints, large drop caps at the beginning of an article, page numbers,
and any other graphic that is repeated throughout the newsletter.
Excessive use of color is distracting to readers. Color should be
used only to complement text.
PAPER: Print your newsletter
on an easy-to-read paper — white, off-white, light gray, beige,
etc. Avoid red, green, blue, yellow, orange, etc., paper. Not only
are newsletters on colored paper hard to read, they don't photocopy
or fax well. Glossy, matte or uncoated finishes are acceptable.