View Full Version : April Newsletter

April 15th, 2012, 05:54 PM
Yet again thanks are due to Garza for producing another quality newsletter. It can be downloaded from:

April Newsletter (http://www.writingforums.com/newsletter/23.pdf)

April 15th, 2012, 08:04 PM
Thank you garza! Baron is right, you do quality work. :)

April 16th, 2012, 09:23 AM
Another great one you have made here, garza! :thumbr:

April 20th, 2012, 10:11 PM
Thank you very much, Gumby, and TheFuhrer02

Your comments are fully appreciated, but I wish there were some specific comments.

The man who taught me page make-up almost 60 years ago was as old then as I am now. He had started as a copy boy when he was about 12, which means that much of what he taught was what he had learned in the 1890s. There was an update for me, mostly in magazine layout, in the late '70s, early '80s in New York, but now that 'update' is over 30 years old.

Is the Newsletter layout boring, and if it is what can I do to make it more interesting?

That's why I would appreciate some specific comments. I would like people to say what they like, what they don't like, what they believe should be changed, and what should be left as it is. An occasional critique in detail would help me know if there are changes that need to be made.

April 21st, 2012, 01:56 AM
Just off the top of my head:

1. I like that the layout looks very neat and clean

2.Your pictures are wonderful

3. They give it a certain charm and character that is personal and professional at the same time.

April 21st, 2012, 03:27 AM
Thanks very much, Gumby. The pictures are very personal. I don't have time to do as much drawing and painting as I'd like, but a camera is always with me. All the photos, by the way, are taken in Belize, these days mostly around Corozal, but the April issue has a couple of my favourites shot from the roof of the Central Market in Belize City. I'm planning road trips soon through the country to do some research, so future issues of the Newsletter will have a bit more variety.

April 23rd, 2012, 03:37 PM
Hiya Garza,

I think the content in the newsletters is always great (even though April's Spring theme is somewhat anti-antipodean :)) and I'm sure it must take a decent amount of time to roll out.

In terms of the layout, and only since you asked, I'm going to make some recommendations based on what I see our designers doing in-studio all day for screen-based stuff such as the newsletter. Served with ample pinches of salt as always :)

1. Consistency in fonts, text blocks and icons (cat fish soup, editor's choice, other arts, etc.) I think you can lose all colour from everything (except your beautiful photographs, of course). Choose a single font and use it throughout, using bold, itallics and size to make things stand out. I recommend Arial, Helvetica, Tahoma or my personal favourite, Century Gothic. Do not use Comic Sans, unless you're using it to tell people not to use Comic Sans. It is the pariah of modern typography.

2. I don't think you need to worry about using the icons at all- pure text headings should be enough (give size preference to headings that separate the main sections and then smaller for sub-sections, etc.) The icons make the layout quite cluttered. They are also low-res and quite outdated, unless someone has the time and effort to create consistent icons across all sections (something more like these: http://bit.ly/JzUDPH (http://www.google.co.za/imgres?um=1&hl=en&sa=N&authuser=0&biw=1280&bih=685&tbm=isch&tbnid=zgula7jFPXjv3M:&imgrefurl=http://www.123rf.com/photo_10415669_simple-line-icon-series--office-icon.html&docid=5ORofZMvi2-V2M&itg=1&imgurl=http://us.123rf.com/400wm/400/400/qiun/qiun1108/qiun110800019/10415669-simple-line-icon-series--office-icon.jpg&w=401&h=311&ei=DWSVT9LHLYuHhQfUuqCbBA&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=185&vpy=325&dur=363&hovh=198&hovw=255&tx=166&ty=68&sig=106724474771025680216&page=1&tbnh=143&tbnw=185&start=0&ndsp=18&ved=1t:429,r:6,s:0,i:79)), I'm sure you can lose them?

3. Lots more white space in between features and images- I think this is the main difference between doing something for web and doing it for print. In print, you want to maximise your space, in web, you need to give everything room to breathe and make it very easily navigable for a scrolling screen layout. I would say try to use this theme for inspiration: The Twenty Eleven Theme | Just another WordPress.com site (http://twentyelevendemo.wordpress.com/) it's clean, simple, black text on lots of white and a 'hero' image to punctuate each chunk of text. I know you're doing a newsletter, not a blog, but there are some good, basic design principles for read-ability that you can copy from there.

4. No more fuzzy edges on your photos- leave them straight edged and give them room to live. They're great pictures and I think you can play them up as much as possible.

Okay, hope that was what you were looking for in terms of feedback.

If not, then, here is a picture of a monkey instead: Google Image Result for http://www.furrytalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/19.jpg (http://bit.ly/JjOh7K)

April 23rd, 2012, 03:44 PM
Yeah, font face and font size consistency (no comic sans).

I would love to have columns in there for many of the longer words. I don't like reading things that are presented on full 8.5x11 sheets of paper -- two columns for such stories would help break things up visually and increase my subconscious desire to read the works.

Not sure how I feel about the shaded boxes that different things are in.

Love the content! And I completely respect the work that goes into it. Well done.

April 23rd, 2012, 05:12 PM
BabaYaga - Yes. That is exactly what I'm looking for. Thank you. I'm going to study all you say, study the examples you mention, and make some changes. Probably not all at once, but over a few issues. And please, any other comments or suggestions you have, pass them along. You have made me feel much better and I appreciate it. Of course you break my heart with your comments about the icons, but the terrible truth is, you are correct. Most of what I'm doing in the layout is what I learned anywhere from 30 to 50 years ago. Also, I continue to think print. I have managed to break myself of using wingdings everywhere. The times, they are a changing.

j.w. - Also thank you for you comments. The layout is made to fit A4, not 8.5x11, and this makes two-column layout difficult unless I use a smaller typface. If I were setting real type and able to properly justify, a two-column layout would be easy. I've been using Word to set up the pages, and Word does not have a good justification routine. I may switch to Pagemaker and see if that works better.

And just what the heck is wrong with Comic Sans, other than I seem to be the only person on the planet who likes it? I mainly like it because its name, properly pronounced, is the only typeface name that sounds truly sophisticated. I also like its halfway-handdrawn look. It's almost as unsophisticated as I am, despite the sound of its name.

Thank you both, and thank you too, Gumby. If anyone else has a comment or suggestion about the Newsletter, please pass it on.

edit - You probably have not run across my freebie website - writebelize.yolasite.com. Check it out and see if its layout is closer to what you believe the Newsletter should be. A major difference is that my site is set up for screen, so the pages are not formatted for print.

April 23rd, 2012, 05:16 PM
And just what the heck is wrong with Comic Sans, other than I seem to be the only person on the planet who likes it?

The fact that Edna, our resident OX, likes it should tell you all you need to know.

April 23rd, 2012, 05:18 PM
I was going to give my opinion, but I think this sums it up better. It's mostly just the connotations that many people have with it now, so far as I can tell.

BBC News - What's so wrong with Comic Sans? (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-11582548)

April 23rd, 2012, 06:50 PM
Captain - No further questions, m'lud. Defence concedes the point.

J.W. - I think it's the misuse that has made the Comic Sans typeface so unpopular. Used sparingly and appropriately it can be quite effective.

BabaYaga - I've laid out a couple of pages using the ideas you've given me. They are much cleaner and neater. I've kept the basic layout for the back page. Otherwise there is no place to put photographs with this style of layout. I've used the pictures to fill the odd spaces that will always be there when you try to fill a page. With the idea that there's no need to use every bit of space, there is no need for fillers of any sort. Trying to get everything to play together in a nice way is not always easy in Word when you have a lot of elements on a page, and each element has its own rules about positioning. Thus a simpler layout will be easier to work with, though perhaps not as satisfying for me.

April 23rd, 2012, 08:26 PM
A question for everyone, and I would like everyone's opinion on this. How would it look to use Georgia for all the headings, and Tahoma for all the text? Would that look strange?

April 24th, 2012, 07:33 AM
Hi Garza,

I didn't mean to break your heart over the icons :( I think the newsletter is a fabulous read and I don't want you to think your efforts haven't been appreciated.

To answer your questions, I have had a look and I think the main problem with combining Georgia and Tahoma is that they are different font families, as in Georgia is a bit more scripty and Tahoma is a lot more rigid. I tried Georgia (heading) and Garamond (body copy) and that looked okay, Tahoma (heading) and Arial (body) and that also looked okay on the other side of the spectrum.

I had a look at your website and I think you're right about it being closer to web design than print design- with regards to the re-edited newsletter, is it on the same link as above? I'm really very far from an expert in this field- just regurgitating what I hear our designers talking about at work.

April 24th, 2012, 04:19 PM
You've answered my question about mixing families of typefaces, especially when they are as far apart as those two. I'm thinking of going all san serif - Tahoma for headings and Arial for text, as suggested above.

Anyone have any comment on that combination?

Also, dropping the use of bold and using size to differintiate, with occasional use of slantface. (faux Italic)

My website is not formatted for printing, thus has fewer ristrictions.

edit - Former U.S. President Andrew Jackson once commented that a person who knew only one way to spell a word was sadly lacking in imagination. I'm working on improving my imagination, so hush.

bazz cargo
April 26th, 2012, 10:07 PM
Memo to Garza and Blind Pedro:
Try Serif page plus 8. PDF. It's a lot cheaper and a darn sight easier to use.

Loved the latest issue of the newsletter. Excellent philosophizing by Oily Buckle.I don't read enough poetry, so the selection was appreciated. Jon M's photography course was fascinating.

Appearance, mmmm...
I like the slightly 'old fashioned' look. It has a gravitas that these flashy modern upstarts can't hope to match.
Mind you I like comic sans. And the snow capped one as well.

The Times. (Old school).
YOOHOOO!!!! The Times Yo!!! ( I think I'm getting a headache).

April 26th, 2012, 11:45 PM
Truth to tell I'd love to open up to full screen and go all the way back to 1950 newspaper style.

bazz cargo
April 27th, 2012, 10:02 PM
Truth to tell I'd love to open up to full screen and go all the way back to 1950 newspaper style.
Add a few colour pictures and cut back on the ads for vacuum cleaners, you could be onto a winner.

April 28th, 2012, 02:34 AM
But I love ads for vacuum cleaners. The first half-page featuring the Eureka upright was a magical moment in newspaper publishing history.

For now I'll stay with the A4 page format which makes it simple for any who want to print out a hard copy. I do that myself.

May 2nd, 2012, 03:33 PM
A question for everyone, and I would like everyone's opinion on this. How would it look to use Georgia for all the headings, and Tahoma for all the text? Would that look strange?

I always preferred Tahoma for writing. They look neat. Georgia as headers? Its a tricky font. Sometimes, it doesn't work. How about Trebuchet? Tahoma would also work for headers, just have them placed in bold and "small caps" like THIS. This is how I did it in our humble school paper. That was a long time ago.

May 2nd, 2012, 06:28 PM
I've decided on Tahoma for headings and Arial for text. They are similar enough to give a uniform look to the page, but are different enough for the distinction to be made. I've always liked Arial, no matter that it was born out of wedlock.