Publications do's and don'ts

by Edwin Powell

They say some of the best things in life are free, but whether that includes advice may be debatable. Nonetheless, here are a few tips for improving the look of your publication by improving its design.

Do use graphics to break up large blocks of text--Large gray pages with vast expanses of uninterrupted text can be a turnoff to readers. Graphics and photos can provide some visual relief from that monotony while livening up the page.

Don't let your page appear cluttered--A design that's too busy looking is often one that's hard to read because the reader can get lost on the page. Better to stick with a clean, simple layout.

Do make use of white space--Contrary to popular belief, white space is not wasted space. Judiciously used, white space can help draw the reader's eye to important elements.

Don't use too many fonts--To keep your publication from looking like a ransom note, keep the number of different fonts you use to a minimum. One font for display type and another for body copy is a gracious plenty. For further variety in type, use different typefaces within the same font family.

Do make good use of color--Used with restraint, color can help draw attention to important elements on the page. Overused, it can make the page appear garish and difficult to read. There's a reason black text on a white page is so popular.

Don't let headshots look off the page--It always looks a little odd for the person in a headshot to be facing away from the copy on the page, so it's better to place the photo where the person is facing in.