Magazines, brochures, periodicals. What do all these have in common? Editorial design. And what’s editorial design? In essence, it’s the graphical style and layout of the publication. From image placement to choice and size of font to margin width. Editorial design is the visual soul of the project, which is why it’s such a big job. 

Whether you’re a designer, marketer, or a business owner looking to put together a substantial publication, this is the guide for you. So read on and become a master of the editorial!

Choose an editorial style

Essentially there are two style options available. We’ll call them mono-style and multi-style. Mono-style is when you maintain the same style throughout the document. So the typeface, font size, headings, etc, would display a page-to-page consistency. This means that if it’s Times New Roman on the first page, it will be Times New Roman on the last page. Multi-style, on the other hand, is a more flexible approach in which the editorial form may change from article to article, or section to section. This means it could be Times New Roman on one page, Helvetica on the next, and a different font altogether on the page after that.

Mono-style is best suited to brochures and other similar publications. A company brochure (B2B; formal), for example, would likely benefit more from maintaining a single, consistent style throughout. Whereas a magazine (B2C; informal) could afford to take a few risks in terms of its aesthetic. It really comes down to a matter of tone. Editorials which are undeviating in tone versus those in which the tone is constantly changing and guided by the article. A simple rule: consistent tone = mono-style; varying tone = multi-style. 

To say a little bit on fonts: the typeface can really make or break the quality of your editorial design. It not only needs to be the right font for the style, but also for your audience. And whilst choosing a font can be a little daunting, there’s one consideration that will make it much easier. That is: serif or sans serif (you’ll find more information on these two styles here). Simply put: if you’re targeting a younger, more modern, or alternative audience, choose sans serif. For a more traditional demographic, stick with serif. 

Use the right layout 

There’s a big difference between how a block of text looks on a sheet of A5 as opposed to A4. And what’s important to remember, especially when using anything larger than A5, is to split the text into columns. Maybe it’s because most of us are accustomed to reading from tablets, phones, and books. But the human eye just doesn’t enjoy long, uninterrupted lines of text. There’s something very intimidating about a string of 10pt words running all the way along a wide page. This is where columns come in. By cutting up the text into columns you could be lowering the word count of each line from 21 down to 7. Much easier on the eyes and much easier on the attention span. A word of caution, however: try not to exceed three columns, otherwise the page could become too cut up. 

There are other ways to split up your text and make the layout more accessible, too. You can try using images. Also, sub-headings are great for spreading out content and making it easier to digest. Another nice (and good-looking) technique is to use pull-quotes. Pull-quotes are bits of text that are particularly relevant or interesting, which are copied and strategically placed in a larger, headline font (which can also be in a highlight colour) somewhere on the page. They’re great for capturing the mood or theme of an article in just a few words. And they’ll also add an aesthetic charm to your content. A quick side note on pull-quotes: try not to use more than one per page. 

Are you looking for some editorial design for your next publication? Get in touch today for a free consultation to see how Red Square Design can help. You can also find examples of editorial design produced by Red Square design here and here.