The Parts of a Newsletter

How to put together your newsletter layout using these parts

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A newsletter can be constructed of many or just a few parts. 1933 newsletter from born1945 CC by 2.0 license

All newsletter layouts have at least three elements: a nameplate, body text and headlines. Typically newsletters use many more of the parts of a newsletter layout listed here to attract readership and communicate information. After a layout is established, each issue of the newsletter has the same parts as every other issue for consistency.

As a designer or newsletter editor, if you find that you want to add or subtract some elements after the newsletter is launched, it is best to introduce just one change at a time rather than completely overhauling the layout every few issues.

Familiarity with the parts of a newspaper may give you some guidance as to which changes would benefit your readers.

Nameplate

The banner on the front of a newsletter that identifies the publication is its nameplate. The nameplate usually contains the name of the newsletter, possibly graphics or a logo, and perhaps a subtitle, motto, and publication information including volume number and issue or date.

Body

The body of the newsletter is the bulk of the text excluding the headlines and decorative text elements. It's the articles that make up the newsletter content.

Table of Contents

Usually appearing on the front page, the table of contents briefly lists articles and special sections of the newsletter and the page number for those items.

Masthead

The masthead is that section of a newsletter layout—typically found on the second page but could be on any page—that lists the name of the publisher and other pertinent data.

It may include staff names, contributors, subscription information, addresses, logo and contact information.

Heads and Titles

Heads and titles create a hierarchy that leads the reader into the newsletter content.

  • Headline. After the nameplate, the main headline identifying each article in a newsletter is the most prominent text element.
  • Kicker. Often seen in newsletter design, the kicker is a short phrase set in small type above the headline. The kicker can serve as an introduction or section heading to identify a regular column.
  • Deck. The newsletter deck is one or more lines of text found between the headline and the body of the article. The deck elaborates or expands on the headline and topic of the accompanying text. 
  • Subhead. Appearing within the body of articles, subheads divide the article into smaller sections.
  • Running Head. More familiarly known as a header, a running headline is repeating text that appears on every page. Often the title of the publication appears at the top of each page. The page number is sometimes incorporated with the running head.
  • Continuation Heads. Small headlines that appear at the top of an article that has been continued from a previous page.

Page Numbers

Page numbers can appear at the top, bottom or sides of pages. Usually page one is not numbered in a newsletter.

Bylines

The byline is a short phrase or paragraph that indicates the name of the author of an article in a newsletter. The byline commonly appears between the headline and start of the article, prefaced by the word "By" although it could also appear at the end of the article.

If the entire newsletter is authored by a single person, individual articles do not include bylines.

Continuation Lines

When articles span two or more pages, a newsletter editor uses continuation lines to help readers find the rest of the article.

  • Jumplines. Also called continuation lines, jumplines typically appear at the end of a column, as in "continued on page 45." Jumplines at the top of a column indicate where the article is continued from, as in "continued from page 16."
  • Continuation Heads. When articles jump from one page to another, continuation heads identify the continued portion of the articles. The continuation headlines, along with jumplines, provide continuity and cue the reader as to where to pick up reading.

End Signs

A dingbat or printer's ornament used to mark the end of a story in a newsletter is an end sign.

It signals to the readers that they have reached the end of the article.

Pull Quotes

Used to attract attention, especially in long articles, a pull quote is a small selection of text "pulled out and quoted" in a larger typeface.

Photos and Illustrations

A newsletter layout may contain photographs, drawings, charts, graphs or clip art.

  • Headshot. The most typical photograph of a person in newsletter design is the headshot—a head-and-shoulders picture of a person looking straight into the camera. 
  • Caption.The caption is a phrase, sentence or paragraph describing the contents of an illustration such as a photograph or chart. The caption is usually placed directly above, below or to the side of the picture it describes.
  • Photo Credit Line. Similar to the byline for an article, the photo credit identifies the photographer or source of the image. It may appear with the photo or be placed elsewhere on the page, such as at the end of an article.

Mailing Panel

Newsletters created as self-mailers (no envelope) need a mailing panel. This is the portion of the newsletter design that contains the return address, mailing address of the recipient and postage. The mailing panel typically appears on one-half or one-third of the back page so that it faces out when folded.