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Our 6 Best Booklet & Magazine Design Tips

05 November 2018
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Our 6 Best Booklet & Magazine Design Tips

In some respects, booklet and magazine design is very similar to other print design; you need strong preparation and a creative flair. We can’t help with the creative part – that’s on you – but we can definitely help with the planning.

Whether you’re designing a sleek, corporate brochure or an edgy magazine, there are a few guidelines worth following. So, we’ve gathered up our best layout tips and brought you some stunning examples to help you build a standout product for your clients.

1.    Think in Spreads

As you’ll know from your own experience with books and magazines in life, your eyes don’t block out half of a double page spread just because it’s on another page. When you open up a booklet, you see both pages at once and you will be looking for a cohesive design across both.

It makes sense then, to bear this in mind when you’re designing a booklet. Don’t think of each page as an individual unit. Instead, have your design programme of choice set up so that you can see both pages in a spread at once.

You can see in this example from Graphic Design Junction that it’s okay to let your artwork cross the spine sometimes. In fact, doing so creates a better sense of flow throughout your booklet.

2.    Use Grids

Grids really are wonderful things. Throughout design, grids act as building blocks to give your artwork a solid foundation.

After all, the basic ‘rule of thirds’ is founded in grid logic; you divide your canvas into a 3x3 grid and place key design elements where the lines intersect. However, grids can mean any number of rows and columns, if you like, and they don’t all have to be even in size.

This Annual Report template from Temply shows how grids can also contribute to a sense of hierarchy. The page header and introductory text cross three columns and the header image takes up 6 cells to show that these are important elements.

3.    Have Some Consistency

Consistency is vital in a multipage document. Every time the reader turns a page, they need to see that everything is part of one unit.

There are lots of ways to create consistency but, generally, there are certain design elements that you should focus on in your booklets. These include your colours scheme, typographical hierarchy, and page numbering style. Pretty much everything else can be experimented with to make your design more interesting. Remember, grids help build consistent structures!

A very definite colour scheme has been created in this corporate brochure template, as has the typography and the page numbering style. The image style, however, ranges from photography to hand-drawn elements, to infographics, and the designer has played around with different layouts. Yet, it all works together because of that base consistency.

4.    Match the Tone of the Document

'Booklets and magazines’ covers a broad spectrum of work, from very serious scientific studies to light-hearted, teenage gossip. No one design is going to suit all these different writing styles.

So, it’s important that you take the time to read over the document you’re designing and figure out what kind of tone you need to be presenting. Does it need a sleek, modern feel? Or more of a homely, handicraft quality?

This award winning magazine concept from designer, Matt Chase, shows how you don’t have to follow a straight, corporate style by any means.

5.    Leave Some White Space

97% of designers that we asked think that white space in a design makes it more effective. This is according to a survey we conducted for our eBook, What Makes a Successful Designer? As you can see, white space is clearly considered an important aspect of design.

Leaving some white space gives your design some breathing space. A lot of people may be intimidated to read an article if the page is crammed full of writing. So, find a way to break the piece up and make it less daunting.

White space isn’t just about breaking up large chunks of text, though. As we’ve said, it is also part of creating an effective, stylish design and you can see a great example of this in the Akershus Eiendom Annual Report

6.    Keep ‘em Keen

Finally, it’s important to recognise that the design is what makes a booklet engaging. Without good design, a booklet is just a very long passage of text. It’s your job to make that text interesting and to draw readers in.

So, mix things up enough to create an exciting look that draws people in. Make use of white space, let your images interact with the text, use infographics to present data in a fun way.

Our final example shows you how pull quotes can build intrigue in the reader so they go on to read the full article. The writer may not provide you with pull quotes but don’t be afraid to find your own.

Now you know what it takes to design a booklet, why not check out how we take it from there. Read how we produce high quality booklets on our fabulous Truepress Jet520HD.