Making Print Come Alive

multi-dimensional printed material

Despite predictions of print media’s demise due to the ready availability of online content, print is doing well. Readers love it because it feels familiar, credible, easy to navigate, relaxing, understandable, and sharable (and 19 other attributes listed in our post “Print Or Perish—Why Printed Material Still Matters.” If you and your readers agree, now is the time to make your printed content even more alive. Here is how.

Pay close attention to function. Conveying quarterly information to your shareholders will require different printed collateral than engaging the casual reader who picks up your product review at a trade show. Both, however, need good branding.

Start with a template or form that contains your company branding. If possible, also include all the components of your company’s typical written piece. For an article, I would suggest placeholders for title, subtitle, author byline and/or biographical blurb, headings, text, illustration blocks, captions, and a call to action. For a blog post, I would also add space for reading recommendations and suggested categories and tags. All of these should already be spelled out in the desired font and in the layout you choose (see Flow below), locking it into your form with text boxes.

Remember that, for those who read from left to right, our eyes travel in an F or Z pattern most often for print. Use text, illustrations, and white space to establish a similar pattern on your page.

The font you choose can add or detract from the story you are trying to tell in print. If it is too difficult to read, your audience may give up after a couple of paragraphs. If you choose a somber font for a lighthearted piece or comic font for a heartbreaking tale, readers will be confused by your message.

Facts and opinions make up the majority of text, and this can be quite dry and boring. You can make your facts come alive by adding infographics, photos, quotes, statistics, survey results, and clever captioning for all them. Double check your facts unless your intent is to create a firestorm of feedback about shoddy journalism.

Images of any kind—behind-the-scene or before-and-after photos, charts, diagrams, doodles, graphs, maps, quotes on a scenic background, sketches, and links to breaking news or how-to videos—can add valuable information and increase reader enjoyment and engagement. However, they can also detract from your message and cause your reader to get sidetracked so place them strategically throughout your text.

Let us at Tate Design work out the graphic design and the logistics—function, form, flow, fonts, facts, and photos—for your next print campaign so that your text and images come alive for your audience. Get started with a call to Tate Design at 610.725.0702 or e-mail to

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