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Layout and Design Tips for
Print Publications

by Cheryl Woodard & Lucia Hwang

9 Ways to Get a Newsrack Look on a Nonprofit Budget

  1. Don't skimp on cover art. If you have a limited art budget, spend the majority of it on the cover image. Be sure to give your artist exact specifications about what you'll need-and don't forget to save room for the logo, cover lines, and perhaps also the address label and bar code if those ultimately appear on your cover.

  2. Stockpile for safety. Rather than scrambling to fill holes when articles come in late - and they invariably will - work to stash away extra stories that you can use to replace a late one.

  3. Save money by using stock images. The least expensive way to add photographs and illustrations to your magazine or website is to use stock images. For a fraction of what you'd pay someone to create a new image, you can select something an illustrator or photographer already has on hand.

  4. Look within for photography help. The least expensive way to get custom photographs is to send a few staff members to photography classes and supply them with decent digital cameras. Once they learn the basics of composition and lighting, you'll get a ready supply of quality images that genuinely reflect your organization's style and personality.

  5. A picture is worth a thousand words. Bear in mind that some information is just easier to understand through graphics. For example, a complicated legislative process is easy to explain using a flow chart, while a long chronology or history lends itself to a timeline. Graphics have the added benefit of increasing accessibility by breaking up dense text - plus, they're eye- catching.

  6. Be yourself. Your publication's look should visually articulate the mission and values of the organization. For ideas, consult your mission statement, editorial advisory board, readers, members, and staff.

  7. Use spots of color. Spot color is a great resource for a print publication on a budget. Unlike the more expensive process color method, which recreates the entire spectrum, spot color allows publications to use just a couple of premixed inks to spice up the publication.

  8. Be aware of how paper affects color. To obtain a specific outcome, you may have to make some trade-offs. For example, if you pick uncoated recycled paper to please environmentally- savvy readers, you may lose some financial support from advertisers who feel that the paper doesn't hold four-color inks as well as virgin paper.

  9. Look to your printer for training. Most printers offer onsite production training once or twice a year, and some paper mills also offer these programs-and will welcome you there. The more you know about production technologies, the more efficient your publishing operations will be.


About the Authors:

Adapted from Every Nonprofit's Guide to Publishing: Creating Newsletters, Magazines & Websites People Will Read, by Cheryl Woodard & Lucia Hwang.

Cheryl Woodard is a publishing business consultant and co- founder of PC Magazine, PC World and Mac World.

She is president of The Publishing Business Group,an alliance of independent publishing consultants in the San Francisco Bay Area. Their group includes experts in editing, design, market research, circulation, advertising sales, online advertising sales, strategic planning, and business management. They often work together on projects where their individual skills combine to provide their clients with a complete solution to their needs. Each of them is also available independently from the others. Visit The Publishing Business Group website at:

Lucia Hwang is a journalist, award-winning investigative reporter, and magazine writer who currently edits a nonprofit associationís magazine. Her degrees are from the University of California, Berkeley, and Columbia School of Journalism. Lucia has been writing and editing for magazines, websites, and newsletters her whole career.

Their book, Every Nonprofit's Guide to Publishing: Creating Newsletters, Magazines & Websites People Will Read, is available online, at a discount, in several different formats: Book with CDROM, E-book, and Deluxe Nonprofit Bundle (this book and two others) at

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