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Using Bylines in Newsletter Design

When You Gotta Give 'Em Credit, Give 'Em a Byline


Use bylines to credit the author

Use bylines to credit the author

Bylines tell who wrote an article. They are a small element in books, magazines, newspaper, or newsletter design but certainly important to the author. In some cases, bylines may be used to give credit for photographs or illustrations.

Designing with Bylines
Bylines should usually be kept simple and non-obtrusive. Bylines should be distinct from the headlines and body copy but shouldn't stand out too much. While bylines are important to authors and can help lend credibility for the reader, they are generally not a newsletter design element that needs to jump off the page and scream Read Me! They do provide an element of personalization, letting the reader know that it is a real person talking to them.

  • Use size, typestyle, color, embellishments, and alignment to differentiate bylines from other nearby article elements such as headlines, datelines, decks, kickers, and body copy.

  • Use a smaller font than the headline and subtitles.

  • Use a smaller font and/or a different style from the body text such as italics or small caps.

  • Bylines are often prefaced by the word "By" or sometimes "Written by" which could be capitalized or kept all lowercase. "Photographed by" or "Illustrated by" may preface other types of credit lines.

  • Other prefacing options are to use symbols such as an em dash, a tilde, or a bullet.

       — Lyla Jewel
       ~ Lyla Jewel
       • Lyla Jewel

  • Bylines can be accompanied by additional descriptive text pertinent to the article itself including a copyright notice, revision notice, or indication that the article was previously published or a reprint. These can appear on the same line or separate lines such as:

       by Charles Molder © 1998, revised March 2003
       By Jacci Bear
       Reprinted from The INK Spot magazine

  • Bylines can be accompanied by other descriptive text pertinent to the author such as identifying the author by area of expertise or location.

       by Jack B. Nimble, professional candle jumper

  • Ghostwriters may get "as-told-to" or "with" bylines to acknowledge their assistance to non-writers. This is frequently used for first-person narratives and personal experience pieces.

       with JACK B. QUICK
       by Jack B. Nimble as told to Jack B. Quick

  • Bylines can appear at the top or bottom of the article in a book, magazine, newspaper, or newsletter design. Placed at the end of an article, bylines are often accompanied by credit blocks or mini-bios that describe the author's credentials and/or provide contact details. For example:

    By Jacci Howard Bear, contact the author at her desktop publishing web site at http://desktoppub.about.com/

  • Although usually found after the headline, sometimes the byline is incorporated into a section header preceding the headline. This placement is often used for recurring columns or sections that appear in each issue of a periodical.

  • Bylines can be aligned left, right, or centered.

  • Bylines on Web page articles are often hyperlinked to a biography (such as my byline at the end of this article, ~ Jacci Howard Bear), a list of other articles, or to the author's Web site in the case of guest articles written for other sites.

Once you've established a byline style, aim for consistency throughout your book, magazine, newspaper, or newsletter design, issue-to-issue, or within certain types of articles. For example, staff writers for a publication may have one style of byline while guest writers have another. Feature articles may use one byline style with a different style for departments, columnists, or lesser features. Set up a paragraph style in your software that is specifically for each of these types of bylines.

Bylines are a small element of a page layout but don't make them an afterthought. Give credit creatively.

Get Started:Basic Guidelines and Requirements for Desktop Publishing
Choose Software:Desktop Publishing and Design Software
Make Something: Things to Make Using Desktop Publishing
Tips & Tutorials:How to Do Desktop Publishing
Training, Education, Jobs:Careers in Desktop Publishing
In the Classroom: Back to School With Desktop Publishing
Use Templates: Templates for Print and Web Publishing
Designing Publications that Use Bylines
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