What’s so great about vacation? It’s a chance to cut loose and take a break from the ordinary!
But vacation just wouldn’t be as fun if it wasn’t anchored to the sense of consistent routine in our lives. In order to vacate, you have to have a place or a routine to break AWAY from.
A Foundation to Build From
The same is true in design.
To have the freedom to challenge the norm, some type of coherent foundation must first be established. This is particularly true in multi-page publications like newsletters. One of the most important features of multi-page publications is consistency. So, before you go rogue in design, first you need to ensure each page looks like it belongs to the whole.
How can you create this sense of cohesion? With repeating colors, icons, fonts, bulleted lists that repeat a formatting style, matching pull-out quotes, and more.
Here are five strategies for organizing your next newsletter so you compel viewers to read and respond:
1. Avoid a different typeface or formatting arrangement for every article.
Instead, create a strong, consistent structure throughout the pages and add flair with boxed photos, pull-out quotes, or just ONE free-flowing graphic per page.
2. Make headlines clear and bold.
Most people skim newsletters, so headline text should be straightforward and easy to read. Use leading questions or creative subheadings to build suspense and entice the viewer to read more.
3. Keep alignment consistent.
To build an organized page, choose an alignment and stick with it.
If everything is left-aligned, photos should be cropped to this sharp margin as well.
Does this mean you can’t ever break the rules of the system you’ve created? No! A firm set of columns actually creates MORE space to break out of the grid. But when you do this, do it with gusto! Items that are just a smidge out of the normal alignment will look like a mistake.
4. Avoid Helvetica and Arial
If your newsletter seems drab, juice it up with heavy sans serif typefaces that create a strong visual hierarchy.
Often people default to Helvetica or Arial, but these just aren’t bold enough to create a strong contrast. Instead, invest in a sans serif family that includes a heavy bold version as well as a light subheading complement (such as Eurostile, Formata, Syntax, Frutiger, or Myriad). You’ll be amazed at the difference this contrast makes.
5. Create a Compelling Call to Action
Printed newsletters are a great way to build goodwill and reinforce brand awareness, but at the end of the day, you want readers to take action.
When scripting your text, ask yourself, “if the reader was going to act on the content in this newsletter, what would I want them to DO?” Brainstorm many call-to-action phrases and places they can be used in your design, and make this journey easy for the eyes to follow.
Ideally, there should be a call to action on each page with one very prominent “next step” CTA near the end of your piece. Here are a handful examples:
- Subscribe Now!
- Sign Me Up!
- Activate _____ Today!
- Find Out How!
- Claim Your Discount!
- Try it Yourself!
- Schedule (or Book) __________!
- Register Now!
- Call for a Free Estimate!
Make Them Look Forward to Your Next Newsletter
Time is a precious commodity, and the moments people invest in reading your newsletter are important.
To make the most of this unique privilege, build a strong design grid with a few spectacular deviations. Create visually engaging publications with helpful takeaways, and your newsletters will be something your audience looks forward to reading!