Monthly Archives: April 2012

Get a life

Get a template. You already use old documents as templates all the time. Make it a little more formal. It isn’t that much more to it. Next time you sit down to do that report, newsletter, letter anything, take a moment and do this: create a labeled document.












By taking the time to do this you are doing a number of things.

  1. You are being consistent in your document
  2. You are creating a style, a consistent look and feel
  3. You are setting the standard for others to follow
  4. You are putting the professional polish on your work
  5. You might even be able to pass this task on to someone else

The long and short of it

How long, how short should copy be? You either get too much copy or not enough; never ever just right. How large do you dare make type, how small? Can you fluctuate type size between panels on a two-fold (3 panel) brochure? Please don’t. Some one has actually given you an item for the newsletter. Do you devote the whole thing to some one’s passion for winemaking? Maybe, if samples are provided, but never mind, not the point. After examining, many (1) of my own brochures and newsletters (also 1) I had figured out a general guideline for copy for a basic brochure and newsletter.

Three panel brochure inside page, with two medium images: approximately 850 words
Three-column newsletter page with one image and one pull quote: approximately 650 words

Now obviously this is just a guide. Both counts are using Times at 12 point. Different type and type size will have different a word count, still, this will give you a ballpark figure to work with.

The outlaw outline

Remember when you were being taught how to translate an idea into a comprehensible written expression? You only just mastered cursive and now they want you to marshal your thoughts into a cohesive string of complete sentences. Do you remember the day you were first introduced to the outline? Did not the clouds part? Were you not transported into the world of linear process? Were you not led out of the dark of unorganized rumination? You weren’t? Really? That’s just the saddest thing I’ve ever heard. Listen, the outline is a thing of beauty. It does it all. It is exactly what it portends to be, an outline of your message. It has a beginning a middle and end. It helps you organize your thoughts, state your facts or arguments and helps you sound like that smart, beautiful person your mother always said you were. So for mom, let’s go over the structure of an outline and at the very least try it once.

We aren’t in school so no one is going to grade you for not following the form exactly but here it is. Actually, here’s how I use it, it is not textbook, but it works for me. Here’s how I use it and using an old posting as an example.

I. Main topic or title
A.  Here’s where I start my list of points I want to make
1.  If there are asides or points to the larger point or above I make it here. I
only use one or two words at first.
II.  As I go on making the next section, I tend to get into the groove and start coming up with sentences and phrases that I may want to use in the text. I write them right into the outline.
A.  Sometimes I get up to five (V) sections. I don’t type these, I write them out
by hand. If I had an old one lying around I would scan it.
1.  You would see a hot mess of crossing outs, overwritten script, arrows
moving things from one section to another. Truth is once I get going I
kind of have to stick with it because I would never be able to decipher it

Real world example:

I.  Be timeless …

 A. logo needs updating
B. don’t design your own logo

II.  Process

A.  time
B.  questionnaire

III.  Components

A.  size
B.  unique, you can’t write out cake in Coke™ script
C.  color and black and white
D.  T–shirts, binders, cards, signs, etc.

Here’s the final post:

So it comes to this, you need a logo. Your old logo needs updating. Great news! You’ve expanded and now it’s time for that revamp starting with–a new logo! Whatever the reason there are a few things to consider when designing a new logo. First, don’t design your own logo unless you’re a designer or your cousin’s kid is a designer (a real one–schooled and experienced and all that), otherwise hire one. It will be well worth the money. Here’s a few things to consider to make sure you and your new identity will be a match made in heaven.

Designing a logo takes time. Your designer should ask you a whole pile of questions. In a later entry I will provide a questionnaire that can be filled out and given to your designated design professional.

Be certain your logo can be enlarged and reduced in size and still be readable and printable.

Make sure it is unique, you can’t write out cake in Coke™ script.

Your logo should work in color and black and white.

Keep it simple enough that it can be used in different ways, T–shirts, binders, cards, signs, etc.

If you use art, keep it simple so it is recognizable.