Read these 45 Print Newsletter Layout and Design Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Newsletter tips and hundreds of other topics.
A BLEED is when the printed image extends to the trim edge of a sheet. It appears to "bleed" off the page.
CREEP refers to the distance variation at the middle signature sections of a saddle-stitched book caused by the thickness of the paper signatures where saddle-stitched.
DAGGER is simply a reference mark.
GHOSTING is a term that describes the undesirable appearance of faint replicas of printed images, caused chemically or mechanically (usually found in photos).
When MASKING, a portion of an illustration is blocked out by pasting paper over it to prevent it from being reproduced before exposure.
If you see a PHANTOM, it's nothing more than an area of an illustration reproduced in tones that are very light compared to normal tones.
RUNNING HEADS can be viewed as titles repeated at the top of each page of a newsletter or book.
SHADOWS are the darkest or most shaded portions of a subject which shows a range of tones from black to white.
Adding a second color to your newsletter always adds an additional cost. You should be able to save some money by contacting your printer to find out what his printing schedule is. For instance, if he has a day where he'll be running all his red ink jobs, you may be able to get a discount if you can get your newsletter to him ahead of time. In most cases, the cost of the second ink color is based on the extra effort by the printer to clean the ink off the press, in addition to the second run through the press.
A four-column format is made up of four narrow columns. In some instances, you may want to merge two of the columns (two left, two right or two center), for a feature article.
The nameplate generally goes across all four columns at the top of the page. If you are adding photos or artwork, they can go across one, two, three or all four of the columns.
Rather than re-invent the wheel every month, set up a standard template. Include the nameplate, masthead, and boxes for the features that will appear each time. Copy the template into a new file and work from there. Never work off the original template itself or you'll rue the day you found out too late, and it's suddenly a corrupted file.
Before you begin...make a rough sketch (or "dummy") based on your ideas for the layout and design of your newsletter. You might also consider a checklist of the important elements, so that nothing is left out in the initial planning stage. (A dummy will save you valuable time on your computer as you will be able to see a rough draft of the finished product.)
Generally, you will be able to adjust the size of your newsletter to the amount of information you`ll be providing. You can assume you`ll have space for 3 to 6 items per 8-1/2x11" size page.
A newsletter for a small company, such as a daycare or home-based business, is best kept to two pages - front and back of a standard 8-1/2x11" sheet. Larger companies or organizations will be happier with newsletters that are four pages (either two 8-1/2x11" or one 11x17 with a half-fold) or eight pages (two 11x17 with a half-fold). Cost is another factor that will determine size.
Readers usually like to finish a newsletter in about 4-5 minutes...if your newsletter takes longer than that, they will start to lose interest.
This may sound obvious, but you should deliver a "clean" copy to your printer for the best results. Make sure there are no pieces sticking up off the page, and that all pasting/correction materials have been removed. All elements should be securely pasted down (especially corners!) and all traces of rubber cement, wax, glue, etc. gently taken off. You might even want to go to the extra measure of taping a clean sheet of tracing paper over the entire page for protection.
(If you have used wax, be sure to keep your flats out of the sun! Try transporting them in a shallow-covered box.)
Spend the day in your local fine arts museum to get ideas for color combinations. Fine artists are known for their creative use of colors and you could possibly start a new color trend! (Besides you deserve a day out...treat yourself to some culture!) If you do not live near a museum, visit your local library and look through books featuring the paintings of the masters.
The Pantone Matching System (PMS) is a popular system for printing inks. Often a printer has two choices for creating an ink color: process color and spot color. Spot color uses a matching system to create the shade. By specifying the official Pantone name or number, you can be assured of the color match when the file is printed.
First impressions are important! The front page of your newsletter is YOUR first impression. You should take advantage of this by creating a unique nameplate (banner) to go across the top of the page. While your banner is busy catching the attention of your readers, some well-chosen headlines and/or graphics should reel them in! (Try to avoid too much body copy!)
The front page is also a good place to add teasers about "what's inside" the rest of your newsletter.
It is important to choose color combinations that work well together to set the tone (personality) of your newsletter. You do not want to use bright primary colors on a business newsletter, any more than you would want to use a tinted burgundy and grey on a daycare piece. If you are unsure about color selection, you should consult a graphic designer.
Did a printed newsletter catch your eye? Save a copy of it in a source file to be used later for ideas. Don't try to save everything though, only the pieces you can visualize adapting to your particular newsletter. (Keep separate file folders for other newsletter elements, too, including headings, logos, typefaces, etc.)
When you find a layout you like, you can try incorporating some of the design elements to fit your newsletter. Looking through magazines, brochures, and other newsletters is also a good way to learn about colors, font choices, and layout. (Do be careful about copyright infringement!)
A variation of the standard two-column format uses two columns; one wide, one narrow. The wide column can feature your main story and be set in large type (usually the right side of the page). The narrow column is then reserved for a subordinate topic or group of short paragraphs set in smaller type (usually the left side of the page).
The nameplate generally goes across both columns at the top of the page. If you are adding photos or artwork, they should only go across one of the two columns.
Keep the design of your newsletter simple. This can be achieved by limiting the number and sizes of typefaces, as well as the number and sizes of graphics (clipart and photos). You do not want every square inch of your newsletter to scream, "Look here!" (You'll confuse your readers with too much clutter!)
The Pantone Matching System (PMS) is a popular system for printing inks. Often a printer has two choices for creating an ink color: process color and spot color. Process color uses a mixture of four specific colors - cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (CMYK) - to create the desired shade.
(Also see www.newsletter-tips.com/)
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While it may save time to paste corrections right on top of typesetting mistakes, you should really "mortise in" the corrections; especially if you want quality paste-ups. By pasting over the top, you run the risk of the type falling off the page and printing the typeset copy with errors.
Don't throw away clean copy until your newsletter has safely reached the hands of your subscribers...you never know when you'll need emergency type "first aid." If you happen to notice a typo while pasting up your newsletter, you should be able to find the same word or same combination of letters in the same type size and font, to make a quick repair. Simply cut out the error using your T-square and X-acto knife, and replace with type from discarded proof originals. Be sure to use your burnisher to prevent the type from falling off.
If you're not ready to invest in a light table, try using layout sheets! They are ideal for paste-up!
Layout sheets are usually made from a heavy paper stock and have non-repro blue grids printed on them to help with the placement of copy. They are somewhat larger than the final printed page, so margins are easy to see, and crop marks can be added for the printer. You can usually find pads of layout sheets in your local art supply store, or ask your printer for some. Many times, they are sturdy enough for re-use.
Pantone guides for ink colors can be found in most design studios, art supply stores, and commercial printing shops. Every color of the spectrum is represented in sample form and is assigned a number. The standard numbering system allows you have the exact color printed no matter where you take your newsletter.
(There are other guides available, but Pantone is the most widely-recognized system.)