Page layout for marketers: Three examples

In previous posts in this series, I present page grid theory; design concepts like balance, symmetry, and hierarchy; and show you the features in PowerPoint that allow you to design pages for publication.

Here I’m going to show three page layouts found in a single issue of Travel & Leisure. I flipped through this issue recently while waiting for a haircut. I often look through magazines not to read the text but to observe the photography and to study the page layouts.

The layouts presented here won’t win awards for Travel & Leisure. They’re simply solid, professional magazine layouts. My point is that we don’t often see this approach to design in the public sector. Giving you the tools and knowledge to accomplish magazine-style layouts will get you noticed and read more in the public sector.

Layout Example 1

Example one is the simplest of the three. Notice the very columnar layout, four columns in all. The page is weighted toward the left-hand side, in part because this was a left-hand page in the issue. The weighting and vertical symmetry also helps to tell you that most of the page is a single Q&A article. The right-hand column and the graphic at the bottom of column three are subordinate to the article.

There’s nothing to this page, design-wise, that you can’t do in PowerPoint. The photo and illustrations are probably easily located on the internet for free or low cost.

Layout Example 2

Example two adds some complexity to example one. The page is divided horizontally and weighted towards the top of the page. The top section is three columns, while the smaller bottom section is five columns. The photo montage at the top of the page breaks the column boundaries a little, to add some variety.

Except for a couple items, you can replicate this layout cheaply in PowerPoint. The transparent letters of the “Local Take” headline might not be easy to do in PowerPoint. The hand drawn portraits are costly to commission, though they contrast and lighten up the angular look. Maybe there’s a Photoshop filter that achieves this illustration effect.

Layout Example 3

Example three adds more complexity. It’s built on a five-column grid. Count across the lower half of the page from left to right: earrings, caption, hand written quote, caption, body text. It breaks columns for the caption on the photo in the upper left, and spans columns for the text in the center of the page.

This page, too, can be mostly replicated in PowerPoint. The exception would be how some items layer or wrap. For instance, the way the photo in the upper left wraps around text, and then the necklace overlays the photo. This layout would not be suitable for all public sector documents. However, I could see it working in an annual report for a children’s health agency, for instance.

Those more knowledgeable than I about PowerPoint and design are certainly welcome to comment on this post about the feasible of doing these layouts, or others like them, in PowerPoint.

I hope I’ve given you a glimpse into how to evaluate page layouts and combine that evaluation with PowerPoint features to lend some of your documents a higher level of appeal and readability for your audiences.

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