Design and Layout

Newspaper Design Tips

Design Tips

General Design Tips

The most important thing about a newspaper is keeping it simple to read. Don't get too complicated with graphics and keep your articles separated and with bold Headings.

  • Decide on a name for your paper and make this large and on the top of your newspaper. Make sure that it is the name of your business or at least suggests what your business is about (for instance, if you own a hair salon, you want to avoid names like "Harry's Newspaper" or "JoAnne's " as those names have no message as to the content of the kind of paper you are producing.
  • Make sure you have your business name, phone number, address, email address and any other pertinent information also somewhere on top of your newspaper.
  • Include what issue this is that you are printing near the top. (Issue One, or March Issue, or something along these lines)
  • You may want to include an index of some kind near the top of your newspaper (New Technology for Hair Coloring...Page 3).
  • Don't get complicated with your advertising! Make sure your own content is very easy to find and read! The simplest place to put advertisement is along the bottom of each page. You can decide this for yourself.
  • Content must be easy to find and have strong Headings.

CMYK Design Tips

The following tips apply only to any newspaper NOT created on our Free Cloud Designer. Use of another desktop publishing software program will require a careful following of our specifications, including these CMYK specifications.

  • CMYK stands for (c)yan, (m)agenta, (y)ellow, and (k) black. This is versus the standard RGB (red, green, blue) that most computers default in.
  • You need to make sure that everything is converted to CMYK, but when converting from RGB, there are often additional steps you need to take to prepare your publication for true CMYK--particularly in your BLACK text.
  • Your black text, when converted from RGB, is not true black. It is a combination of CMY and K. To convert it to a true black font, you will need to change the CMY colors to 0% and the K (black) to 100% for ALL back text. Each desktop publishing software does this differently.

Microsoft Publisher 2007 CMYK Conversion Tutorial

NOTE: To give you an idea on the procedure to convert to CMYK, the following tutorial is given for Microsoft Publisher 2007. This procedure will vary in newer versions of Publisher and in different desktop publishing programs such as InDesign and Serif PagePlus. The basic premise of the conversion is the same. Publisher, for whatever reason, is more complicated than the other programs.

To make sure that your Publisher PDF file is produced in CMYK, do the following:

  • Go to 'Tools'
  • Click on 'Commercial Printing Tools'
  • Click on 'Color Printing'
  • Click on 'Process colors (CMYK)'

To ensure that your black fonts are 100% (K) black, do the following with ALL black text on a color page:

  • Select the black text you want to convert
  • Click on the arrow next to the 'text color' option (usually the A underlined button)
  • Click on 'more colors'
  • Click on the 'Custom' Tab
  • Under 'color model' select 'CMYK'
  • Make sure the 4 colors are set to 0%, except for 'Black,' which should be 100%
  • Do this for all BLACK text

Only then make your PDF. Unfortunately, we won't know if you did it right until it is uploaded to our system and the printer then opens it into a special program to produce the print plates. Each program follows a somewhat different procedure to do this, but this tutorial should give you an idea of what you are looking for. If you don't convert your black fonts to 100% (K) black, our presses will have to go over your text 4x with all four colors, reducing how sharp and clear the text will be.

Images and Print Quality Tips

We are not responsible for the quality of the pictures you use. Although many pictures will print well, look first class, and be visually pleasing, there are some things to keep in mind regarding the pictures you use.

  • FOR IMPACT ONLY: Since Impact uses toner, there may be a point where extensive color saturation on a full page or nearly the entire page may cause cracking of the toner or page itself. Keep this in mind before ordering impact. You may need to reduce the amount of ink required per page. This is a rare occurrence, but has happened.
  • The darker the picture the less likely it will print well. This is due to the nature of newsprint. Newsprint traditionally has gray in the paper to begin with and when you add to that the fact that newsprint soaks ink up and spreads it out some, it will make dark pictures even darker. We recommend lightening your pictures up and avoiding dark pictures as much as possible.
  • Don't expect pictures to be as bright as you see on your computer screen. A good picture will still look very sharp on newsprint, but you can't compare it to your computer screen accurately. Your screen uses light to display your colors in RGB. Newsprint is darker with gray in it and prints colors in CMYK. If you want brighter colors in your pictures, we suggest using our high bright newsprint which is a whiter, brighter newsprint.
  • If you haven't converted the pictures to CMYK then you may find the color tones to be different when you get your printed copies. Additionally, color pallets displayed on your computer screen may not accurately reflect the correct CMYK colors. Most computer screens are not correctly calibrated to show CMYK and this may affect the quality and color tones of your pictures. Our free Cloud Newspaper Designer automatically converts pictures to CMYK for you, thus eliminating many of the CMYK issues, but it does not calibrate your screen to display CMYK.

Overall, has had virtually across the board success with pictures, but we strongly recommend that you abide by the guidelines and specifications listed here to ensure your satisfaction with the final product.

Image Tips

We suggest all images (pictures, photos or scans) uploaded into your newspaper be at least 300 dpi for optimum printing.  They do not need to be larger than that.  Be aware that the more you enlarge your image, the less quality your picture will have. holds no responsibility for the quality of the images within the pdf's sent to us for publication, or through our Designer.

IMAGE INDICATOR:  Any image uploaded at 300 dpi will show in the Designer in its original size.  Any image uploaded LESS than 300 dpi will show up smaller than the original you uploaded.  This means the image has been auto-corrected to 300 dpi, and we highly recommend you do not enlarge this image. A smaller image means the dpi is less than optimal and any enlarging will probably result in less than optimal print quality.   

Note: Artwork taken from the internet for the most part IS NOT print quality, because it has a resolution of 72 dpi!  Taking an image from the internet and enlarging it or increasing the dpi in an imaging program does not solve the problem - in fact it makes the quality of the image worse. Besides, you take the risk of using a copy righted image. We suggest either using your own pictures or purchase stock photography.  If you must use an image at that dpi, understand it will show up in our Designer very small as it has been converted to 300 dpi, and any enlarging is risky.  Also, the opposite is true.  Files need not be abnormally large.  Our Designer will not allow for images larger than 15 mg to be uploaded.

Font Tips

For optimum printable PDFs and automated embedded fonts in Custom Orders, we recommend using any PDF maker that offers true pre-press options. If you don't have or know of a PDF maker, we suggest as a choice the FREE PDF maker PrimoPdf, by Nitro PDF Software, whose link is listed on our specifications page. Just click the link and download. Use the Pre-Press option when making your PDFs.

  • Any work in our Designer is adjusted automatically. No need to worry about fonts.
  • Main text size that is generally readable by everyone is an 11 pt. or 12 pt. font.
  • Times New Roman or Arial fonts are generally the most readable fonts that don't distract the eye.
  • Try to remain consistent in the fonts you use.
  • The more fonts you have, the busier and distracting your newspaper will look. Generally speaking, use no more than 4 fonts for the entire newspaper. Use different fonts for different purposes. In other words, use 1 font for your main heading, perhaps a different one for all subheadings, and a third one for all main text. Simple and readable is generally better than fancy.
  • Use white space to give your newspaper a better appearance. Trying to cram too much into the space you have makes things busy, hard to read, and generally messy looking. Give yourself plenty of space between objects and text. Don't try to put text right on the edge of a line, box, or picture, for example. This will look messy and tacky.

Many of our tips are suggestions. Other than the CMYK issue, you are free to design your newspaper your way.

Get Started on Your Design with Our Free Cloud Designer Templates

Our templates are 100% customizable, super user-friendly, and designed specifically to help you create outstanding newspapers with our free Cloud Designer. Below are a few of the 100s of templates available to you.