Designing Your Newsletter For Readability by Bret Ridgway

When you're laying out a newsletter one of your key considerations must be the concept of designing for readability. Whether you're working with an outside graphics person or doing the layout yourself, there are things you need to avoid in your layout in order to improve the readability of your newsletter.

One of the first things you want to make sure of is the way the fonts look for people. Typically, the main font types used are Serif and San Serif. The Serif fonts are fonts with little feet like Times New Roman, and Garamond. San Serif fonts are straight without feet such as Helvetica, Arial and other fonts like that.

Knowing how to use these properly is very important.

When doing headlines for your newsletter the best type font to use are San Serif. They're bold, bigger types that are much easier to read for small amounts of text.

However, when it comes to the body of copy it's actually easier to read a Serif font such as Times, because those feet actually allow the readers eye to flow from one letter and one word to another naturally and without them even realizing it. Therefore, you should be using a San Serif font for your headlines, sub-heads and other text that you want to stand out. Then use Serif fonts for body text, which simply helps to keep it readable.

Another thing you want to do is break up the newsletter with graphics, and callouts, some people call them pull quotes. These help to break up the readers eye and gives them something graphically appealing that will keep them interested in the stories you're sharing and also provide visual queues to enhance what they're reading.

However, it's important to not over use color and graphics to the point where it distracts people as they're reading. One thing, especially when it comes to readability, is that you don't want to use too much color in your text. It's important to keep the text readable so it's recommended any body text remain black so it's crisp and clear to a reader's eye.

When it comes to headlines, sub-heads and other things like that, you may want to pull the color in for your text. Just don't over do it and make it difficult for people to read.

With pictures, make sure your resolution for a print newsletter is at least 300 dpi. Less then that is acceptable for web usage, but try and use lower than 300 dpi in print and you'll really be disappointed with how it looks.

That means you can't go grab your logo from your website and just slap it into your newsletter and expect it to look good because it won't when you print it out.

Readability is critical to the success of your newsletter. If your newsletter is perceived as too difficult to read it doesn't matter how great your content might be. People will be put off and you run the risk of them unsubscribing from your newsletter sooner rather than later.

So be cognizant of this concept of readability whenever you're laying out your newsletter.

Bret Ridgway is co-founder of the Newsletter Formula along with Heather Seitz. For your copy of their free report "7 Ways to Make Money with Newsletters and Continuity Programs" visit