Clarify Your Purpose
What do you want your publication to
What is the main message?
What do you want your readers to know?
What essential information must be
Good design communicates the intended
message. Make every word and
picture count. If you try to make
too many points, you will clutter or confuse your readers. Don’t lose your readers by presenting too little or too
much information. You must know
what you want to convey before you create your publication.
Knowing Your Audience
Who will read your publication?
What response are you trying to obtain?
What do your readers already know?
Why do your readers want to read this
Under what circumstances will your
message be read?
Set the tone for your publication by
knowing your audience. The
headlines, graphics, and organization of the text hinge on your knowledge of the
audience that you are addressing. If
you are not sure of your audience, find out.
This is really important to the effectiveness of your publication.
Where do I gather ideas?
What are the copyright issues?
What about “good” and “bad”
The best ideas are all around you.
Gather samples. Remember that everything belongs to the person who created
it. It is fine to adapt ideas but
not to recreate the total design. Even
if you adapt it is a courtesy to note the original designer.
Saving good and bad examples can provide a learning experience for a new
designer. You can learn as much
from noting mistakes as you can from seeking only exemplary examples of
excellent design. Create an ideas
folder and when you find samples, attach a note so you can remember what you
liked or disliked. Then when you
have to begin your design, you will have options already noted in your folder.
Planning Ahead for Printing
What problems does the printer see with
What do you need to know about
formatting, color and other design issues?
How will delivery affect printing?
How will the number of copies affect the
cost of paper and production?
What about reprints?
What about color vs. black and white?
Before you lay out your publication,
think about printing issues. Create
your pencil design of your publication then ask your printer to consider the
printing issues. If you are having
something commercially printed, you don’t want to have a small $100 budget and
produce a publication that will cost $1000 to print.
Laying Out Your Publication
“Graphic design is not something added
to make the pages look lively. It
is not an end in itself. It is the
means to an end—that of clear, vivid, stirring communication of editorial
for Magazines, Jan White
No hard and fast rules apply to lay out.
Basic guidelines emphasize
Limit the number of elements on each
page. Five elements is usually the
most that can impact a reader on a single page.
Use plenty of white space to make key
information stand out. White space
clarifies the relationship between objects and text. Related things should be
closer together and unrelated further apart.
Align the elements which pleases the eye
and simplifies reading for the audience.
Unify the publication by being
consistent. This lets the audience
see at a glance how the information is organized.
Keep spacing consistent throughout the
publication. Margin widths and page
setup should be the same throughout the publication.
Fonts should be consistent.
Consistency should relate to the mission of the font.
All text the same, all headings the same but each item could use a
Use one alignment for a publication or a
set of publications.
Use color consistently.
Use the same style for decorative
elements such as borders and drop caps.
Repeat design elements in a publication
or a set of publications.
Draw attention to a specific item by
Place a dominant element on each page or
every two-pages depending on how you print your publication.
Make different element look really
different. Choose bold contrasts in
color or font, don’t make small differences.
Use contrast wisely. Too much will overpower the reader. Use contrast to prioritize information for your reader.
Choosing the Right Paper
This is the finishing touch.
If you control this part of publication, consider the care that you
should give to the paper. The feel of the paper helps the reader to determine the worth
of the publication. If you want to
be noticed you want it to happen from the moment that the reader touches your
Tips on paper
Vibrant color and high resolution result
on coated paper
Paper weight matters.
20 0r 24 for letterhead
60 to 70 for newsletters or brochures
Try parchment or flecked finish paper for
Make sure the text is readable on
embossed, textures, or other specialty papers
Remember recycled paper exists and
sometimes can make a big impression on your audience
Cheap paper may be false economy.
Preprinted paper or heavy bond may cut cost in color or mailing issues.
Putting It All Together
What if the design “rules” don’t
What is I can’t afford good design?
Brainstorm, ask others, don’t give up!
Be bold. Sometimes breaking
design rules can be the beginning
of a brilliant solution.
Microsoft Publisher 98 Companion.
Microsoft Corporation. 1998.
|This page was updated on: 04/10/02|