All newsletters share a common purpose of communicating a message to a targeted group of people. The type of information and reason for presenting it will vary, however, because every newsletter is unique. For instance, the goal could be to build brand awareness, increase an organization’s membership base, educate readers, garner donations, etc. Regardless of the intention, most publications fit into one of several distinct style categories. Here are the most common types of newsletter designs:
Which style is best for your organization?
Bulletin editors who read my previous post will be familiar with some of the following tips, however there are several other considerations to keep in mind when designing a newsletter.
When choosing a layout, first and foremost, consider the amount and type of content necessary. If there is a lot of important information that must be included, use a design that keeps the text clear and readable. If certain articles are a priority, be sure to place them towards the beginning, and set them apart with graphic elements or white space.
Next, think about the culture of your organization, and the target audience. The design should reflect the values and interests of both parties. If unsure what style is most appealing to your readers, perhaps take a poll and/or ask for suggestions.
How is your newsletter distributed? Mailed, picked up, downloaded online, or emailed? The method in which the reader receives and views the publication should influence design decisions. For instance, if readers prefer to read your newsletter online instead of receiving a hard copy, it is helpful to use attention-grabbing graphics and colors to keep them interested and prevent unsubscribing. If the publication is a mailer, it will likely be quarter-folded, with the back page on the outside being the first thing that readers see. Therefore, any logos or branding should be prominent on the back cover, and you may want to place the most important article and/or table of contents there as well.
Finally, consider your technical abilities. As an editor, you are responsible for working within a regular deadline to gather articles and assemble them within your template. Be honest with yourself about your comfort level in using a more advanced layout, which may include grouped images, master pages, various font styles, tabs, etc. With practice you will become a pro, but if you feel stressed at the thought, perhaps a simple, traditional layout would be a better starting point. You can always redesign the publication at a later date once you feel ready to take on a new challenge.
Remember that there is no right or wrong choice when it comes to newsletter design. Any of the above options can be transformed to fit your needs!