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Role of Desktop Publishing in Designing Newsletters, Newspapers, and Magazines



A template can jumpstart the design of some periodicals. This is a sample newsletter template from StockLayouts.

Periodicals are publications that come out on a regularly recurring schedule whether it's annual, monthly, weekly, or even daily. Newsletters, newspapers, and magazines are periodicals. They provide a great opportunity for repeat business but can be time and effort-intensive.

Newsletters can be simple one page letters produced from your desktop printer or elaborate 4-color publications that rival the magazines found on the newsstand. Newsletters (and to a lesser extent magazines and newspapers) are prime candidates for self-publishing too.

Magazines and newspapers are less commonly produced by freelance desktop publishers, most work being handled in-house. However, as a freelancer you could obtain contract work for special sections of larger publications. Smaller publications or those with other than daily publishing schedules may be more willing to work with freelancers for more of the design and production work. Some publications may farm out specific tasks such as digital photo processing or the creation of custom illustrations and graphics.

Designing Newsletters, Magazines, and Newspapers

Content for periodicals is usually supplied by the client (unless you are writing and publishing your own publication). The designer is responsible for arranging the content and creating an attractive, readable newsletter or other periodical. Additionally, the designer must develop a format that provides a consistent look and feel while also allowing for flexibility to adapt to changing content with each issue. Creating the template and style sheets for a newsletter or magazine adds to the time required to create the first issue but greatly speeds up production of subsequent issues. Some designers may find a niche in designing a flexible but easy-to-use template for newsletter publishers that wish to do the page layout and publishing themselves but need help with the initial design.

Magazines and newsletters share certain characteristics but there are often differences in their content, audience, and design attributes. What is the Difference Between a Newsletter and a Magazine? can help you better understand the differences and similarities.

These 12 parts of a Newsletter also apply to magazines and even newspapers. There may be exceptions but most periodicals are text-intensive publications. Learning proper text composition techniques is essential.

  • Newsletter Design and Publishing delves into the planning, content, and design of all kinds of newsletters.

  • There are a lot of similarities with newsletters but some of these articles on Magazines address magazine-specific issues.

  • Newspapers share some characteristics with newsletters and magazines with a strong focus on newswriting.

Printing Newsletters, Magazines, and Newspapers

The paper is what often immediately differentiates newsletters and magazines from newspapers. Book and bond papers are common for newsletters and magazines although some may use newsprint which is typically used for newspapers and comic books. Catalog paper is another option for some periodicals.

Many newsletters and small magazines have been printed from desktop printers or distributed as photocopies. For commercial printing, offset lithography is most common, especially for glossy magazines with full color photographs . Digital printing (such as Xerox Docutech printing) provides a high volume output that is comparable in quality to laser printing. Newspapers are typically printed on continuous rolls of newsprint on a web press.

Software for Newsletters, Magazines, and Newspapers

The consumer desktop publishing programs aimed at creative printing projects may offer a few basic templates for small newsletters, but the best option (aside from specialized software used by some large publishers or agencies) for designing periodicals is the high-end professional desktop publishing software that can handle complex text composition and long documents. There are also specialty programs for newsletters that are aimed at businesses, schools, and individuals that want to create a simple newsletters such as a marketing newsletter or a holiday newsletter.

16 Categories of Design Specialization

Designing periodicals such as newsletters and magazines shares many characteristics with designing annual reports, catalogs, and books (long, visually consistent documents).
  1. Annual Reports & Proposals
  2. Business Forms
  3. Catalogs, Menus, & Product Lists
  4. Collaterals (brochures, etc.)
  5. Crafts & Creative Printing
  6. Identity Systems (logo, letterhead)
  7. Marketing Materials (ads, direct mail)
  8. Packaging
  9. Periodicals (newsletters, magazines)
  10. Presentation Graphics
  11. Publication Art
  12. Publications (books, manuals, booklets, etc.)
  13. Self-publishing
  14. Signage
  15. Web, Mobile, and Multimedia Publishing
  16. Word Processing

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

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