For Print Media, Size Does Matter

Illustration of How Size Matters with Attractive Woman

Did the title get your attention? Isn’t it amazing what some people will do to get you to read what they write? All kidding aside, in the design world size really does matter. Today we’ll focus on how you can use size to improve use and readership of your printed communications.


Bigger Isn’t Always Better

With regard to print, the objective is generally to get noticed. Whether you’re talking about a single page ad or a full newsletter, you want to grab people’s attention quickly so they’ll take the time to read your message. You also want to make sure that your format fits what they want.

A good way to illustrate this is to consider popular US magazines. Two of the top three US magazines by circulation size are Readers Digest and National Geographic. What do they have in common? Both are published in a less common “digest” size.

While I’m not suggesting they’re really popular just because they’re published in a different size, I do believe the size does contribute to their popularity. In addition to very good content and a long history, the case can be made that the size of these publications contributes to their popularity for a number of reasons. Here are just a few.

  1. They’re very portable. Digest sized magazines work very well for people on the go. You can easily tuck a Readers Digest in a purse or briefcase and take it with you wherever you go. Large format magazines don’t work nearly as well in this regard.
  2. They’re easy to read. The smaller size is much easier to manage on a plane or bus or subway. You can easily open a digest in the limited space of crowded public transportation or even riding in the passenger seat of your car.
  3. They make content seem larger than it is. Think of it like a big fish in a small pond. A small image makes a bigger impression on a 5” x 7” page than an 8” x 11” page. You can put a lot of impact into a pretty small package.

Make It Work For You

The principle of size doesn’t just apply to national publications. You can get the same benefit on brochures or company newsletters. The most important thing to consider is how to use it to your advantage. Remember, you have to get the attention of your audience before you’ll get them to read. Once you have their attention, they’ll read even more if you make it both interesting and convenient.

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Article written by John Howard

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John is the founder and President of Frontera Marketing Group. A graduate of the University of Iowa, John had more than 20 years of professional experience in Sales and Marketing prior to founding FMG. His corporate background included a number of companies, industries and roles including National Account Manager, Product Manager, Brand Manager, Director of Trade Marketing, Director of Marketing and Vice-President of Marketing.

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