Part IV: Putting it
all together

• Planning a
cohesive design
• Thumbnails
• Designing to a format
• Grids and systems
• Developing judgment
• TRY IT: 10 minute critique/
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Know thy specs (print specifications)

Publications and Newsletters

  • Determine the size and format of the publication. Will it need 4 pages, 8? 12? Folded, hole-punched, large format? How much text will there be? How often will it be published?

  • Will it be mailed? Check before designing. Deviations from standards will cost extra, and the number of pages will add to the mailing weight. A self-mailed newsletter saves the cost of envelope, but be sure to include space for mailing lables, etc.

  • How many visuals? More pictures means less gray, which equals more reader interest. Plan for additional page 'real estate:' space.

  • Factor in the tone of the publication when deciding the format. Chatty company bulletin or comprehensive news roundup?

  • Before thinking about style, ask the same old questions: who is my audience? what is the message? Then choose the graphics.


  • Will it be mailed? Same questions as above.

  • Folded? How many panels? How will the text and images carry over multiple panels? One rule of thumb is to tie pages and panels together by flowing some elements across the folds.

  • The sequence of information and where it breaks is important. Does the reader have to turn the piece over to find some key element?

  • What kind of fold? Will a sweeping image across multiple panels? Use an accordian fold. With a roll fold, some pages are always hidden, similar to a book. Gatefolds are like doors that open and close to reveal another panel below.

  • Make a small dummy (or have one made by the paper company with the actual paper stock). Use this tool to organize the brochure in blocks of information, based on your heirarchy of message.


  • Format is set and priced by the target publication. Typically it's column inches for newpapers; full page, quarter page, etc. for magazines, which all vary. Be sure to get exact specs.

  • Bigger is better. You'll have more room not only for text and graphics, but for the white space that will set them off, and set your ad apart from the others.

  • If it's an embarrassingly small ad, keep it simple. Get your main message across and forget the rest. Except the phone number.

  • If it's big, like a full-page newspaper ad, you can design it like a poster, a billboard, or even a brochure with many chunks of information. It all depends on your goals.

  • Horizontal or vertical formats provide the structure for orienting your words and pictures. Sometimes the space feels awkward or extreme: try to exploit it, or use it to advantage.


next: Grids and systems