BLOG: Eye-Popping Tips

From Karen Saunders

Your Branding, Marketing & Self-Publishing Coach

Newsletter Formatting and Page Layout: Part 2

Tips on Graphic Design and Page Layout

Last month I outlined a few simple techniques used by graphic designers to improve the look and feel of your newsletter. This month I’ll explain how to work with your photos and images to bump the quality of your marketing pieces to the next level.

Working With Images in Your Page Layout

There is just so-o-o much truth in “A picture is worth a thousand words.” You’ll want to marry your written words to pictures that heighten the message for your customer. When placing photos into your marketing pieces, remember these rules of thumb:

  • Top half gets best visibility. Place your strongest photo in the top half of the piece for greatest visibility, particularly in full-page ads or newsletters. “Above the fold” is how newspapers describe it.
  • One versus many? One large picture packs more punch than several smaller ones.
  • Group the small ones. If you gather your smaller pictures into one group, it forms a single, compact element.
  • Try the asymmetrical look. This arrangement is livelier and balances opposite corners of a page.
  • Juxtaposition. Position a very large and a small image together for contrast.
  • Stand close by. Keep your subtitle and subheads close to the relative text.
  • Rulers and grids. Use your ruler lines and grid lines to keep the images lined up. This being said, an occasional step outside the grid also draws the eye and add interest.
  • Headshots. Try to keep multiple headshots on a page aligned and sized the same.
  • Magic Eraser. Airbrush out unnecessary background clutter – focus the attention on the important stuff.
  • Cropping. Zoom in on the important parts in a photo and get rid of what’s extraneous..
  • Silhouettes. You can cut out the most important piece in a photo and get rid of the entire background.


newsletter formatting

Full image shows extraneous elements in the background

newsletter formatting

When the unnecessary items are cropped out of the photo, the focus turns to the couple and their car

newsletter formatting

This figure has a busy background

newsletter formatting

With the background removed, the figure now stands out

Working With Photos in Newsletter Formatting

To maintain the highest possible quality when handling and scanning photos, follow these tips:

  • Don’t write on the back of the photo. It could bleed through while being scanned.
  • Don’t use paperclips or staples on a photo. The emulsion could get scratched and would require touch-up.
  • Use a Post-It® Note to write the picture’s information and then put it on the back of the photo, in order not to disturb the emulsion on the face of the snapshot.
  • Don’t use scissors to trim away the edges of the photo. Scan it in as-is, then use the software to crop away the edges.
  • To shoot a publication-quality picture with your digital camera, set it to its highest megapixel setting.
  • Remember, most images downloaded from websites are low-resolution and may look blurry when printed.
  • Scan photos at 300 DPI.
  • Save B&W photos to greyscale and color photos to CMYK color and in the .tif or .eps format.

All these tips on page layout, images, photos, grids, templates and style sheets, are just the beginning – trust me, there’s a lot more. But hopefully these procedural tools will provide valuable help, whether you do the work yourself or wind up talking it over with a professional. Either way, you win.