Effective Lay-outing for Newsletters
If you’re thinking that plotting a plan for something as simple as a newsletter is very elementary then you’re dead wrong. It takes more than just your basic ABC’s to create a truly effective newsletter that can stir a response from your target readers.
The making of an effective newsletter takes careful planning. Writing, designing and printing a piece would take time and effort since these can’t be done in an instant. But your effort may all be put to waste if you do not have an appealing layout. Mind you, some readers are very particular with the layout presentation in order to get them interested in browsing on.
Newsletters may be judged by content design and layout. No matter how good your content may be, if your layout is not appealing enough for the reader, they might not look on another moment. Everyone is not born with the talent of creative, high quality layouts that are pleasing to the eye. But there are several important and basic things to know in order to improve your newsletter layout.
Keep it simple but eye-catching. Use basic but noticeable graphics. PC Software and hardware may be utilized to achieve a desired effect that will not border into hopeless complicated graphics. You can create and derive graphics from a variety of programs like Illustrator, Photoshop and others. You can get some stock illustrations from Dynamic Graphics and subscribe to two monthly services: Electronic Clipper and Designer’s Club. Regarding stock photos you can get very good ones from Photodisc and Digital Stock. For better assistance in your newsletter layouts, Pagemaker may be used, while for small, fancy design projects, use QuarkXpress.
Have visually appealing texts. Whenever possible, break articles up by using subheads or by separating self-contained portions of articles into sidebars. But do not succumb to the temptation nowadays of screening back clipart behind the text. You may fancy that the users would get interested by this complex artistic display. But, this style would make for uncomfortable reading. And don’t think this adds to the visual value of your newsletter…More often than not, it adds to the readers’ disgust.
Use efficient sizes for your newsletter. 8.5”x11” or letter page and 11”x17” or ‘tabloid’ are the sizes that are most efficient to print and mail. The letter page (8.5”x11”) is better for newsletters with long articles and very few graphics. A ‘tabloid’ (11”x17”) is preferable for newsletters that contain varied article lengths and lots of nice graphics.
Newsletters should have at least four pages to give the readers something to open up and dig into. Keep in mind that a four-page tabloid newsletter needs the same amount of copy and graphics as an eight-page, letter-sized newsletter.
Have reader friendly column width or combination of widths for your newsletter. Try the two-big-one-little column format for this. Make two big columns roughly 2-3/4” wide and a thin one roughly 1-1/2” wide. Use the thin column for side heads, poking artwork into, pull quotes, or info boxes. This format would leave some white space along the edges of your newsletter – a real help for readers especially if you’re into black ink printing only.
It is also worth mentioning that like in all other things we encounter, it is more preferable to stick to an easy and uncomplicated way of designing newsletters. The K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple St*pid) principle relates to more things that you are aware of. So now that you know the basics on newsletter design, get down to business and start your newsletter make-over.