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Announcing a New Baby: Layering on the Love

Thu, 29 May 2014 07:16:44 +00002014-05-29T07:16:44Z

(image) This collection of birth announcements feature layers of textures and shapes. These are Microsoft Publisher templates and each file contains wrappers for roll candy, bar candy, and a quarter fold card. You could use the candy wrappers for baby showers then have matching cards to announce the new arrival.

Image © Jacci Howard Bear; licensed to

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Stop and Think About Why You Need It

Wed, 28 May 2014 11:00:35 +00002014-05-28T11:00:35Z

...trying to improve driver behavior through better signage is as futile as fighting illiteracy with better fonts. -- Tom Vanderbilt for

In this story about designing a better stop sign, the problem isn't just how to design a better, more effective stop sign but why we should or shouldn't and whether we need an alternative altogether (new signs, no signs, roundabouts, etc.).  Stop signs just aren't working. The premise is applicable to many other design projects.

Stop sign image from thecrazyfilmgirl; Creative Commons license

Some new business owners fret over designing the perfect business card. But the first question shouldn't be how to design it. It should be, "do I need a business card?" Not everyone does. Extend that a little further. Maybe you've had a business card for quite some time but it's looking a little dated. Maybe you feel it isn't serving you as well as it should. You think, "I need to redesign my business card." Maybe (you know where this is going, right?) instead of a makeover, you need to chunk the idea of a business card and go without or go with something entirely different. The most beautifully crafted business card is not going to bring in tons of new and/or repeat business or networking opportunities  if that's not the marketing or networking tool that people are looking to when they need the services or products you supply. Perhaps it used to work, now it doesn't. Sure, a redesign might be just what that business card needs. But don't just assume that's going to do the trick. Do a little investigation, some research.

Instead of business card, substitute any other type of  print or Web project: brochure, print newsletter, blog, email newsletter.  Before you create it or overhaul it, before you slap on some new colors or change up the fonts, find out if you really need it. Will making those changes really bring back the readers or change your customers buying habits in your favor?

Along those lines, consider:

Know Desktop Publishing, Get a Job

Tue, 27 May 2014 08:00:27 +00002014-05-27T08:00:27Z

Excellent DTP knowledge prized by employers having to quickly fill vacant jobs.

That's a pangram that I wrote a few years back. At the time I was thinking of it in reference to jobs specifically for desktop publishing and design. Nowadays, it can apply to almost any type of job. Employers see desktop publishing skills as either a bonus or a requirement for office managers, secretaries, teachers, sales people, and many others. Discover how you can land a job and make more money by knowing more about desktop publishing.

Page Composition Best Practices Tip #7: Emphasis

Sun, 18 May 2014 20:11:22 +00002014-05-18T20:11:22Z

Emphasize Differences Between Design Elements.

Repetition and consistent use of alignment, colors, and other elements is generally good for a layout. But the use of differences can work well too.


A bold word, a splash of color, and an over-sized image are just some ways to emphasize what is important on the page. Learn more about how to use emphasis to create a focal point, draw attention.

Let's Review: Top 7 Page Composition Tips

Page Composition Best Practices Tip #6: Repetition

Sun, 11 May 2014 20:06:33 +00002014-05-11T20:06:33Z

Use Two or More of the Same Design Element.

One way to reinforce an idea or introduce consistency into a layout is by repeating elements or styles.


Repetition can come in the form of consistent use of alignment, using the same colors for related items (such as pull-quotes or headlines), using the same style or size of graphics, or simply placing the page numbers in the same spot throughout a publication. Learn more about consistency and repetition.

Using Desktop Publishing Software

Wed, 07 May 2014 17:33:58 +00002014-05-07T17:33:58Z

Desktop publishing software allows you work with text, similar to a word processor, and with graphics, similar to graphics software. But not quite the same. If you're new to desktop publishing software or want to make sure you're getting the most out of your software -- any one of the many packages -- these tips can help.

Been using page layout software for a while but wish it would do more? Dream a little with What Should Desktop Publishing Software Do For You?


Page Composition Best Practices Tip #5: White Space

Sun, 04 May 2014 19:59:35 +00002014-05-04T19:59:35Z

Add White Space in the Right Place.

White space can open up a page, make it less cluttered.


The use of white space can also set the tone for a page. An airy page with generous margins and exaggerated line spacing can lend elegance to the page. A busier page with more text and graphics becomes more readable with careful use of white space. Learn how to use white space effectively.

Page Composition Best Practices Tip #4: Rule of Thirds

Sun, 27 Apr 2014 19:46:17 +00002014-04-27T19:46:17Z

Divide the Page into Thirds.

Not just for photography, the rule of thirds can help create a pleasing arrangement of text and graphics when you place elements in certain thirds of the page.


These placements help draw the eye to what's important by placing important items in places where the eye is naturally drawn. The main techniques involve one of these:

  1. most important elements spaced more or less evenly within vertical or horizontal thirds
  2. most important elements concentrated in the upper or lower third of the page
  3. most important elements centered on one of the points where lines intersect after visually dividing the page into thirds horizontally and vertically

Learn more about the rule of thirds in page layout.

Page Composition Best Practices Tip #3: Balance

Sun, 20 Apr 2014 20:10:16 +00002014-04-20T20:10:16Z

Keep Odd or Even Elements in Balance.

The number of text and graphic elements you use on a page and how you arrange them can support the overall intended tone of your document whether you want to appear formal, traditional, and authoritative or informal, lively, and friendly -- or something in between.


Not hard and fast rules but in general:

Learn more about balance.

Is Your Design Balanced?

Wed, 16 Apr 2014 15:38:54 +00002014-04-16T15:38:54Z

There are many ways to apply the principle of balance to our pages. A good balance of text and images. A balance of light and dark areas.  A balance of primary, secondary, and tertiary information. Balance doesn't mean you have to have the same amount of each type of information or design element. You can have more pictures than text or more white space than images.  Balance is about arranging your text and images so that the page doesn't seem out-of-whack or lop-sided.  Balance helps to keep the eye on the page or on the most important information. Learn from these lessons on the principle of balance.

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