USING FONTS AND SPACE EFFECTIVELY

 

 

 


Reading a newsletter is much like listening to a speaker.  The quality of a speaker’s delivery can interest an audience, turn them off or put them to sleep.  The appearance and visual personality of a publication can do much the same by creating or diminishing reader interest through the selection of typestyles, graphics and photos or illustrations.  To make sure your publication is read instead of being placed on the bottom of the pile of mail, take a moment to evaluate its appearance, with special attention to your selection and use of font sizes and styles.

 

  The use of a single font, without variation of size or attribute (bold or italic)creates a monotonous appearance - one that will soon put a reader to sleep.

 

   Insert bold, upper case letters or underlined text to get the reader’s attention and break off the monotony.  To grab attention, you can change the main font for a special article to add interest.

 

  Just because you have a wide selection of fonts and graphic elements doesn’t mean you should use them all at the same time.  The publication with a confusion of fonts and graphics will distract the reader rather than hold his attention.

 

  A publication that presents its information in a readable format, with appropriate emphasis with font attributes and graphic elements, will attract and keep the attention of readers.  Such a publication will reach its goal of presenting information effectively.


Computers and desktop publishing programs make it possible for editors to add interest to their publications by using a variety of fonts, type sizes and attributes.  Like any sets of tools, each is designed for a purpose and it is not appropriate to use them all at once.

 

What is a font?  How are they used?

 

A font is a typeface that has specific visual characteristics.  Fonts come in all shapes and each has a distinctive visual impact.  To use fonts effectively, consider the following tips and suggestions.

 

Select an easy to read font for the body of the text. Your basic choice is between serif, (Times Roman or Courier) and sans serif, (Arial and Helvetica)fonts.  Sans serif fonts like Helvetica are usually very legible type styles and are easy to read.

 

  Use a similar font from the same family or a slightly contrasting font from a different family for headlines and captions.

 

  Do not use decorative fonts, they are usually harder to read.   Save these fonts for Ads and Flyers.  Decorative fonts can be used for short headlines.  A SENTENCE LIKE THIS USUALLY IS CONFUSING AT BEST!

 

Take a moment to STOP and LOOK and evaluate the appearance of your newsletter.  Take a close look and learn all you can about the tools in your design toolbox.  Put them to work in producing a newsletter that attracts and holds attention.


Text Attributes

 

 

 

Text can be printed in normal, bold, italic, underline and shadow.  Obviously, many combinations are possible.  Bold and/or Italic type is most often used to draw attention to words or phrases within text.  It can be used in captions and headlines to provide a visual variety.  Take advantage of changes in size of type.

 

SPACE

 

Don’t overlook the value of open space on the printed pageYou should view space as an important visual element in your set of tools.

 

 

 

INDENTION

 

Paragraphs can be set apart either by extra line spacing or indention.

 

 

 

SPACE BETWEEN PARAGRAPHS, AFTER HEADLINES AND CAPTIONS

 

The additions of space between text blocks and paragraphs is an essential design element.  The amount of space added is at the designer’s discretion.  For example, space between paragraphs adds variety to columns of text and sets paragraphs apart.

 

 

 

Take a look at newsletters and other printed materials and you will see the use of indentions and line spacing.  Use right and left indentions sparingly, for lists and special emphasis.

 

 

 

For a standard 81/2” X 11” page size, use the two column format.

 

 

 

Try to avoid any columns that are 4 inches wide or more.  The wider the column width the more difficult to read and to follow to the next line.


Space is the Key Element of Design

 

 

 

When we speak of spacing in relation to fonts, we are referring to type SIZE, the actual amount of space on the page used for each letter, and LEADING, originally the space between lines of type.  Leading is now more commonly used to describe the space between lines of type plus the type size, which is also called line spacing

 

 

 

Size is one element that affects the readability of a font.  Publishing programs and word-processors, in general, allow the use of fonts ranging from 4 point to 72 point.  Many programs, such as Page Maker and Word Perfect, will allow manipulation to larger sizes as well as intermediate sizes such as 10.3 and 24.1.

 

 

 

The other effect on readability is leading.  Most programs will set the leading automatically, but leading can be manually adjusted to achieve the readability you want.  Leading is a basic element of spacing.  Too little leading gets in the way of readability.  Too much is equally disconcerting to the eye.

 

 

 

 

For the body of the text, you should choose a type size that is suitable for your readers.  Use 10.5 to12 point body text for the average USPS publication.(This  text is set in Helvetica, Type size 12 point, auto line spacing.

 

 

HELPFUL HINTS TO THE EDITOR

 

 

 

 

 

 

The purpose of this Helpful Hints list is to maximize the probability that your newsletter will receive the Distinctive Communicator Award given by the National Communications Committee each year.  The process is not complicated.  We believe that if you will accept the suggestions below, you will be the editor of an outstanding newsletter.

 

An editor's job is to edit, not just accept written material and figure some way to format it into an even number of pages.  That implies the editor will read articles submitted, and where necessary or desirable, rewrite articles to make them editorially or factually correct or to make the meaning clearer.  Officers and other squadron leaders are selected for their leadership qualities, not necessarily for their journalistic abilities.  Sometimes they need your help.  The editor is responsible for the interest generated by the newsletter, interest that promotes member involvement.

 

WHAT TO REPORT

 

1.  Messages from the Commander and reports frombridgeofficers are important to let members know what is

happening in the squadron (or district or national) and also to let members know who their leaders are and what responsibilities they assume in administrating scheduled activities.  Because these messages and reports are often written at the last minute, they are frequently redundant, with several officers covering the same event.  One plan you may wish to offer to your bridge officers is for the commander to keep his message to motivation and inspiration while other bridge officers report on activities within their departments.  This plan helps the editor keep the material interesting as duplicate coverage of events bores readers.

 

2.     Education is the major purpose of our organization.  As such, it deserves inclusion in each of your issues.  It may take the form of a report from the educational officer, congratulations to graduates, pictures and/or stories about ongoing classes, descriptions of upcoming courses,the development of new teaching aids, etc.  There is always something to report in the educational department.  Give educational information a prominent place in each issue.

3.    Civic service is a major USPS® goal.  At least half of your issues should contain articles about our boating courses for the public and cooperative charting and other civic efforts.  Articles about the boating course may be about public relations efforts to reach potential students, dates and locations of upcoming classes, requests to members to teach or proctor the classes.  Articles about cooperative charting might describe why USPS helps NOAA.  Follow the explanation with what is involved in obtaining and reporting chart updates or what is involved in the search for geodetic markers.  Report on actual squadroncooperativecharting outings with photos if possible.

 

4.  Boating Safety is a major focus of USPS.  For that reason we should publish an article on boating safety in most issues.  The National Safety Committee mails the SAFETY BULLETIN news letter to your commander and your safety officer. In most cases the information in that publication is never shared with the squadron or district. Ask that the safety newsletters be passed onto you, the editor, as the publication is a good resource for articles for your newsletter. The  Safety and Radio Tech Officers should contribute articles.  Other sources are boating magazines and other USPS newsletters.  Along with safety articles, include tips on maintenance and how-to projects that relate to keeping boats in good condition.

 

5.     There is more to our organization than classes and meetings. We have many social and boating events.  No social occasion or boating event should happen without someone being assigned by you to cover the event with a story and, if possible, photos.  Publicity before and after these social events encourages members to participate.  Photos are especially effective in promoting esprit de corps and member involvement.

 

6.    A typical USPS district organization has both a Spring and Fall Conference and Council Meetings.  Reporting to your members what happened at these district events is your responsibility.  There may be awards issued and district business meeting decisions to report to members.  Pictures of members in seminars, receiving awards, or enjoying themselves at the social functions, etc. tell the story better than words.  Make sure someone attending district functions writes a story and takes pictures for your newsletter.  It is important to make squadron members aware of the role of the district organization of USPS.

 

7.  Our USPS national organization has an Annual Meeting in January/February and a Fall Governing Board meeting. Your commander is a member of the Governing Board, and as such, is a part of the policy making organization of USPS.  If the commander or any other members of your squadron attend these meetings, one of them should give you a report for the newsletter to keep members informed about the governing process and the events related to national meetings.  Again, photos of these events enhance the story.

 

8.  Newsletters must be interesting to read if you want readers to read the whole issue.  Grab readers' attention with creative headers.  Use members' names when possible.  Members should be recognized publicly for their achievements and contributions to the organization.  Use photos and clip art to make your newsletter more interesting.  Clip art, both as hard copy and as computer art, are available from Headquarters.  Members like to see photos of themselves and other members that evoke memories of events. Readers like to be entertainedThey are particularly interested in personal accounts of boating experiences.  Humor in any form attracts readership.  Readers like to expect they will find information that is meaningful to them.  Ideas for input of this nature range from practical how-to, or welcome advice type articles to entertaining personal stories, jokes, thought-provoking sayings, or word and trivia games.  Adding these extras results in members looking forward to receiving the issues and to reading them from beginning to end.

 

STYLE AND FORMAT

 

9.   In composing your newsletter, follow the guidelines set forth in the Style Sheet that can be found in Chapter 14 of the 2012 USPS Operations Manual.  The Operations Manual can be found on the USPS websiteSince editors are responsible for not infringing on USPS policy in print in their newsletters, it is a good idea for them to have a copy of the Operations Manual.

 

10.  Use a consistent format for standard input in each issues so readers know where to look for items such as the list of bridge members' names and phone numbers.

 

11.    Make certain that each issue is clearly dated, preferably on the cover.  Ideally the cover should contain the name of the newsletter, the squadron name, the district number, and preferably in smaller font, A Unit of United States Power Squadrons® and in even smaller font, Sail and Power Boating as well as the date.

 

12.    Give credit when you reprint articles from other USPS newsletters.  Newsletters on district or squadron websites and the Parade of Publications table at National’s Annual Meeting and Fall Governing Board are good sources for articles.  Districts and squadrons recognized for the Distinctive Communicator Award can bring up to 25 copies of their publication to the Parade of Publications to share with others  .Observe copyright lawsIf you want to reprint articles (including cartoons)from commercial publications, inquire whether they are copyrighted and if so, get permission from the publisher.

 

13.  We are required to observe USPS trademarks in our newsletters.  Trademark use is described in the Operations Manual, Chapter 14.

 

14.    Include rank and grade with members' names.  If the member's name is mentioned several times in an article, use the rank and grade with the first mention and use last, full name, or first name on subsequent references.

 

15.    Avoid typographical and grammatical errors.  We strongly suggest you ask a friend who has some language skills, to proofread your publications prior to printing.  Editors who proofread their own work tend to see what they thought they wrote.

 

16.   If you include advertising, be certain it does not overshadow the squadron news, or the creative writing portion of your publication.  Having to wade through pages of ads to find little bits of squadron news interspersed is discouraging to readers.  Relegate the ads to the back of the issue.  Information for members should appear as the paramount reason for the publication, not the ads.

 

17.     Include the addresses and phone numbers of key peopleIf a reader wishes to write or call about a story, for clarification about an upcoming party,or to offer to help on an event, make it easy for them to do so.  Most squadrons include the names and addresses and phone numbers of all bridge officers.  This is not considered an invasion of their privacy. Also, editors should include their names, addresses and phone numbers so that they may be contacted for newsletter-related business.  Consider formatting a masthead listing those associated with the newsletter production and information on the frequency of publication.  Study mastheads of prominent publicationsfor examplesto follow.


  1. Your newsletter should be attractive, but not necessarily expensive.  It should be easy to read and easy to handle.  The print should be clear, the font size not too small or too dark or too ornate, and pages of text should contain enough white space or graphics to avoid an all gray page of print.  Font size is particularly important.  A minimum size of 11 or 12 is recommended for the average reader.  Standard margins should be used throughout.

 

 

THE DISTINCTIVE COMMUNICATOR AWARD

 

 

 

  1. To be considered for the Distinctive Communicator Award, the first requirement is that your newsletters be submitted to your assigned evaluatorYou must send at least four different squadron newsletter issues (or two district issues)to your evaluator.  Those issues must be dated between 1 November and 31 October the following year.  The name and address of the Communications Committee member assigned to evaluate your newsletter can be found on the Communications Committee website.  If you have questions, please contact your evaluator or the Communications Committee Chairman who is listed on the same website.

     

  2. The Squadron Newsletter Evaluation Form can be found on the Communications Committee website under the drop down menu for Evaluation Forms.  It can be used as a guide while composing your newsletter; the form lists

    1) what to publish and 2) considerations that should be given to style and layout.  Point values indicate relative importance of the input.  The form suggests content to include in the issues to produce an outstanding newsletter.  Editors can rate their own newsletters before going to print.  The same criteria are used by the Communications Committee to judge the
    newsletters for the award.  The award is not a contest.  Every newsletter editor may earn the award and thereby produce an outstanding newsletter for his squadron.

  

THE NEWSLETTER COMMITTEE

 

  1. The editor's job is a most important one.  The editor must be in touch with all departments in order to report news of their current activities. The newsletter is the only piece of communication that goes to every member regularly and thus plays a large part in keeping members bonded to the organization.  The newsletter should, therefore, reflect positive attitudes and promote activities in a way that will attract member participation.

 

  1. To accomplish these goals, the editor needs help.  The editor is usually chair of the Newsletter Committee, but he or she should not be expected to do everything connected with the newsletter.  Members should be recruited to help with assembling, reproducing, and distributing, etc.  Members should be asked to contribute articles and reports, photos, and to monitor boating publications for interesting articles.  Finally, an editor should have an assistant who can occasionally take over the editor's job.

 

  1. The National Communications Committee hopes you will find being newsletter editor an exciting challenge and a rewarding experience.

 

 

EDITORS GUIDE TO A MORE READABLE NEWSLETTER

This handbook is intended to provide editors with the information needed to plan and prepare an award-winning newsletter. Any newsletter must follow certain standards to be and enjoyable and easy to read. This Committee has several written articles to assist you in publishing an award winning newsletter.

 

Every editor should be proud as well as confident that each issue will be read from cover to cover.To accomplish this, your newsletter must be attractive as well as informative.What to include in your newsletter is covered in “HelpfulHints To theEditor” which is also available on the Communication Committee web site at(national/commcom/hintsedtr.pdf).

You have been selected as your squadron or district newsletter editor because of your experience and willingness to keep your people informed and up to date with current events as well as upcoming events. Your job is to present these happenings in an attractive and interesting format.

 

 

Why publish a newsletter

 

Squadron newsletters are the primary source of information for and about members of the squadron. It is in these pages that squadron activities are brought to the attention of ALL the members. Newsletters provide an effective method of binding the organization and stimulating interest in various levels. Squadron and district newsletters provide information on all aspects of squadron life - on educational programs, boating activities, boating safety, social events, etc. In addition, they recognize those members who provide leadership and those who contribute to its welfare by leading or participating in the many activities. These publications, and the websites that go along with them, are the glue that binds the membership. Much is being said about “member benefits” within USPS from software discounts to long term life insurance. But what does the AVERAGE member receive for his/her squadron dues besides the squadron newsletter?


A good squadron newsletter should follow USPS guidelines for content, have a pleasing format, be published regularly, and be received and read by the membership. It should reflect positive attitudes and promote activities in a way that attracts participation.

 

 

 

Help is available

Every editor will naturally have pride in their work. We all need help once in a while and the USPS organization provides help to assist editors produce the best possible publication.

 

Assistance and advice is readily available from the Communications Committee. An advisor is assigned to each district to assist the editors in that district. Our advisors monitor newsletters of their assigned districts, offer suggestions for improvement, answer questions, and offer general support to the editors. Advisor assignments are published on the Communications Committee (CommCom) page of the USPS web site (national/commcom/) and are posted at national meetings.

 

At the national meetings, the Communications Committee prepares the Parade of Publications, where squadrons and districts that were awarded the Distinctive Communicator Award (DCA) can share newsletters so that samples can be taken back to squadron and district editors. To recognize outstanding publications and to motivate all editors to produce the most effective publications for their squadrons, CommCom presents the DCA to both complying newsletters and websites at the end of each year.

 

Advice and assistance may also be close at hand from your district secretary or Publications Chairmen.They may conduct seminars and workshops at district conferences and may be available for consultation. The district publications chair is often the link between the squadrons and the national Communications Committee.

 

If you find a unique or better way to accomplish a task, share it with all USPS editors by submitting your idea to the Communications Committee. We also maintain a Sail Angle group that you can check into.


 

How do we start?

Gone are the days of cut and paste with the typewriter and the limited number and size of fonts. Today you will need a publishing program that you are comfortable using.  First, is your format PC or Mac?  One of the more versatile programs for your PC is Microsoft Publisher.  Using Publisher you can set up pages ahead of time and fill in the pages month after month.  Quark XPress is a top of the line Mac program (read expensive, but professional).  Many programs for both the PC and the Mac are available as free downloads or priced under 100.00 dollars. The choice is yours.  A simple word processing program can also be used.  The largest decision is, How fancy do I want to be?” The Communications Committee is about dissemination of information not showpiece publications.  Although an elaborate, colorful newsletter does not count against you, in fact it does make your newsletter more interesting and more readable.

Whatever program you use, convert it to a PDF file before publishing.  Just about everyone can read PDF files (including your print shop, if you decide to send your creation out for print and mail).

 

We all have to start someplace.  You have the software, where do you go from here?  How about sitting down, reading the manual and manipulating the varied features of your program if it is new to you, or even if you have used it before.  Once you are familiar with your program you can begin to set up.

 

How many pages are you ready to publish?  What is going in those pages?  Newsletters can vary in size from 2 to 32 or more pages and may be published as color or simple black and white to save on the costs of a mailed edition.  Of all parameters, content is the most importantAn elaborate, color production that says nothing is a waste of your time and your audience’s.


Your Layout

Will your newsletter be an interesting read, or a boring “let me finish reading it later” edition. The most interesting articles will never be read if they are not visually attractive. To that end there are several conventions, not absolute rules that should be followed.

 

Line spacing Look ahead to the next few paragraphs, I have varied the line spacing in each of the paragraphs from 1.0 to 1.15 to 1.5.  I think the 1.5 spacing is easiest to read, don’t you agree?

(1.0)

Fonts chose carefully as some fonts are great for a printed edition, and others do well online.  Always remember, for an online edition not everyone has the exotic font you would like to use and the substitute font may be totally unacceptable to you.  Limit the number of fonts used on any page.  Of course this is up to the editor, but a multiple of fonts can be very distracting.

 

(1.15)

What do you want to convey?  Lines that are fully justified will appear to be very formal. For a less formal appearance try using left aligned, with right ragged for a friendlier approach.

 

(1.5)

A centered text is great for headlines.  A bold faced slightly altered font works well in this instance.  Another place for centered text is for a formal invitation.

 

For print editions use multiple columns as shorter lines are easier to read, while longer single columns saves the constant up and down scrolling of a page in an online edition.

 

Be very careful using capitalization, ie caps. USPS in caps along with other abbreviations is proper, but running lines of text in caps is shouting and nobody likes to be shouted at.  It is proper to change fonts when using caps, but you are the judge.  Does it look right?


You should strive to work each page to a balanced look.  It should look neither too cramped with text, nor too sparse with open space.  The term “White Space”, applies here. The proper application of white should achieve your balanced look.

 

Headings

The proper heading for a USPS Newsletter contains the name of the publication, the name of the squadron followed in slightly smaller type “a unit of United States Power Squadrons” and in even smaller type “sail and power boating”.  If the squadron name has been changed to “XYZ Sail and Power Squadron” then the sail and power phrase can be omitted. The District Number should also be included to further identify your squadron location.  Also as part of the heading the volume number, issue number,and date should be included.  If the ensign, squadron burgee or both are used follow the instructions above.  And don’t forget the ® after United States Power Squadrons and near the lower right corner of the USPS ensign.

 

A new concept known as Branding” will put the emphasis on United States Power Squadrons logos in the masthead with your squadron as a unit of USPS.  Look for this in the near future on the Marketing website, or at www.pbps.us/NatBranding.ppt

 

Text attributes

Text can be printed in normal, bold, italic, underline, shadow and/or strikeover.  Obviously, many combinations are possible and, like type styles and graphic elements, should be used judiciously.  Bold and/or italic type is most often used to draw attention to words or phrases within text.  It can be used in captions and headlines to draw attention and provide visual variety.  Don’t overlook the value of open SPACE on the printed page.  You should view space as an important visual element in your set of design tools.  Paragraphs can be set apart either by extra line spacing or indentation.

 

The addition of space between text blocks and paragraphs is an essential design element.


The amount of space added is at the designer’s discretion.  For example, you can add additional space, perhaps 0.2 inch, between the headline and the remainder of the text block.  Space between paragraphs, preferably less than a line space, adds variety to columns of text and sets paragraphs apart.  When we speak of spacing in relation to fonts we are referring to type SIZE, the actual amount of space on the page used for each letter.

 

Another effect on readability is leading.  LEADING, originally the space between lines of type is now more commonly used to describe the space between lines of type plus the type size.  Leading is also called line spacing.

 

Most programs will have the leading set automatically, but leading can be manually adjusted to achieve the readability you want.  Leading is a basic element of spacing.

 

 

 

Trademarks And Logos

When you use our federally registered logos you must insert the ®”.  See Ops manual 14.36 -14.42 for examples of our copyrights and trademarks.  This also applies to the copyright mark ©”, and the trademark “™”.  Remember to use the three signs to protect our properties.  The registered trademark symbol is used only at the first occurrence of the word or graphic in a document.  If a publication were to include several trademarked terms a text registration notice would probably be more suitable.  An example would read “Registered in U.S.Patent and Trademark Office” or “Reg. U.S. Pat. & Tm. Off.”  Another example might read, “USPS, Boat Smart, Chart Smart and the USPS ensign and USPS ship’s wheel are registered trademarks of the United States Power Squadrons, Raleigh, NC.”

 

Or, “USPS® and United States Power Squadrons® are registered trademarks of the United States Power Squadrons, Inc.  Content and graphics are the property of the United States Power Squadrons and should not be reproduced without permission by groups other than squadrons and districts of the United States Power Squadrons.”


 

Squadron names and squadron burgees should not be labeled with the trademark symbol unless they have been legally registered.  A fuller explanation of copyright issues can be found on the Law Committee website at: national/lawcom/copyright.html.

 

Your friendly guide to correct style is the Operations Manual Chapter 14.  This chapter explains the proper protocol and procedures adopted by USPS and used throughout the organization.  The operations Manual has often been referred to as the “Little Read Book” and rightly so.  I often read squadron newsletters and look at their websites and note the many protocol and procedural errors.  My advice, sit down and read the manual.  Pay special attention to the last pages of chap 14.  It lists all the common abbreviations in use in USPS.

 

 

 

 

USPS Styles and standards

Style is protocol in printed matter dictated by individual organizations.  Style may define how to express commonly used terms, advocate the use of particular forms, graphical representations, et al.  Style incorporates, among other protocol, titles and personal status within the organization.  We adapt styles for written material to establish identity and a sense of unity with the organization. Some organizations have a style book, giving a rule for every imaginable writing situation.  The USPS® publishes the Operations Manual in which Chapter 14 is devoted to protocol in printed matter.  Employing USPS protocol in our newsletters is important as our publications represent USPS.

USPS style for printed matter includes how to express dates, time, abbreviations, capitalization, and how to display the USPS ensign with or without the squadron burgee.  USPS protocol designates when and how to use the registered mark to protect our trademarks.  The editor is responsible for editing expressions of date and time abbreviations, trademarks, etc. to conform to USPS style.


Acronyms are used copiously today.  If you are not certain your readers will understand what an acronym designates, it is better to spell it out the first time it is used in a document.  USPS, CPS, USCG, NOS, SEO, PRO, etc. should be written without periods.  Squadron name abbreviations do not contain periods, i.e., SBPS for Sand Bar Power Squadron

 

 

 

Photographs and digital art

It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words, but to a publication editor a good quality, appropriate photograph can be worth even more.  A photograph will attract the reader’s attention and add interest to a publication.  It can tell a story on its own, be used to break up the gray of a page or fill in that blank space.  To be effective, the photographs you use should be appropriate, clear, captioned and reproduced to retain a high quality. 

Ask your photographers to follow the requirements as outlined in The Ensign® (http://www.theensign.org/writers.htm).  This will avoid the fuzzy, out of focus poor quality photos we often see.

 

How photographs are prepared for a printed newsletter will depend on the way the publication is reproduced.  If the newsletter is photocopied, high quality photocopying machines will reproduce pictures well.  These machines are available in many copy centers and small print shops.  Copies made on these machines are more expensive than the common copy machine but for photographs the results are so much better.  If cost is a factor, you might concentrate photos on one or two pages and use these services for photo pages only.  Digital images reproduce well in any method of reproduction (even photo copying) which results in clearer images in inexpensively produced publications.

 

 

To get the best digital pictures you will need a good photo-editing program.  After editing, you can save or export the picture in a different format.  Editing programs are available at all price ranges with varying degrees of sophistication.  With the more sophisticated programs you can do more, but the learning curve is high if you want to take advantage of all the bells and whistles.  The only way to learn to use a photo-editing program is to do it.  Read the software manual, then sit down at your computer and try it.  It will take several tries to learn to use the various tools successfully.

 

Don’t forget the thousands of pictures we get from friends via e-mail or on the internet.  Just be sure any photos you wish to use are not copyrighted.  Regardless of the reproduction method you choose, it is important to start with a good clear photo.  Select pictures that are clear and bright.  Crop out or Photoshop any extraneous background and size the picture appropriately.  The scene or action should be clearly understood.  People’s faces should be clearly seen and express the emotion of the event.  Avoid publishing shots that show people in embarrassing situations or unflattering poses.  Ask yourself - Would I like to see this picture of me in circulation? 

Don’t forget to add a caption.  While you might know everyone in the picture the new member will appreciate being able to identify other squadron members.  Out-of-towners and members who haven’t been around lately want to know the new faces and see how the old faces may or may not have changed.

 

 

 

 

Advertising

A printed newsletter rather than an online newsletter will likely depend on advertisements for revenue to produce each issue.  This committee does not set limits of the type of advertising that can appear in a newsletter.  However, the United States Postal Service does set limits on the amount of advertising appearing in non-profit bulk mail.  (See US Publication 417 at http://pe.usps.com/text/pub417/welcome.htm)


Ads if used should be in good taste and not in conflict with USPS policies or benefit programs.  Ads should not overpower the content.  They should be prepared so they are clear and legible.  Some other means of generating revenue for publications might include soliciting sponsors or patrons, or having a benefactor of the month who buys the stamps and mails the newsletter.  Another popular fundraiser is selling “boat” or “transom” ads..

 

Newsletter Distribution

Who should receive the newsletter?

Members (including associate and honorary members)

Your assigned Communications Committee Advisor

Your District Publications chair

Friends and advertisers.

You might also want to include:your district bridge, community leaders (as a PR effort), other squadron bridge officers.  Keep in mind the purpose of a squadron or district publication is communication.  You want your members to get, read, share, and keep their newsletters as reference.  Are the members of your squadron or district “paper people” or“ computer people” or a mixture?  To appeal to all, most squadrons that transmit their publications electronically also have available printed editions for those who prefer receiving their newsletters by mail.  To lower the cost, printed newsletters may be produced in black and white only.  If you have tried electronic transmission have you evaluated the effectiveness of the electronic publication?  An active member is an interested member and will take the time to seek out the information he needs or wants.  But, do your dues paying casual members bother to turn on their computers to read about the squadron’s events and accomplishments?

 

 

 

Online Editions

A few simple cautions to take into consideration when preparing a publication to be transmitted electronically are:


Download time should be quick (1 to 3 minutes at DSL speed is enough time for most)

 

File size should be reasonable

 

Format should be generic, eg. PDF, and compatible to most members’ software packages.

 

An email to all recipients should announce each issue if it is just added to your website.