Publication Nameplates

Digital newspaper displayed on tablet, on top of printed newspapers
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A nameplate is a stylized banner on the front of a newsletter or other periodical that identifies the publication. The nameplate usually contains the name of the newsletter, possibly graphics or a logo, and sometimes a subtitle, motto, or other publication information. The nameplate communicates the identity of the publication and makes it easily recognizable.

Although usually found horizontally across the top of the front page, vertical nameplates are not uncommon. The nameplate provides a visual identity for the newsletter and, except for a dateline or issue number, is usually the same from issue to issue. However, variations are not unheard of, such as making color changes or adding graphic embellishments to match the theme of the issue.

The nameplate is not the same as the masthead, but the terms are often used interchangeably. For a newspaper, the masthead may be the equivalent of the nameplate on a newsletter, but the masthead of a newsletter is a different element. It is a section that lists departments, officers or department heads, and address and other contact information. The section appears in the same area of the newsletter in each issue.

Considerations When Designing a Nameplate

A newsletter nameplate is usually located at the top of the first page and takes up a quarter to a third of the page. It should be distinctively designed to attract the eye. In many instances, the nameplate emphasizes the most important word in the newsletter title with supporting words set at a smaller size. The typeface should match the intended audience and editorial focus. A traditional newsletter with a traditional audience might use an Old English style, while a modern newsletter is better off with a sans serif face.

Although the name should have prominence, if you have a logo, use it on the nameplate. Keep the overall design simple and large. If the nameplate reduces clearly, place a smaller version inside the publication, perhaps with the masthead information.

Use color if you can, but use it judiciously. Using a full-color banner on a desktop printer may mean you must avoid bleeds off the paper. Commercial printing companies charge by the number of colors, so you may need to show restraint with colors when contracting a company to print your newsletter for budget reasons. Some publications use the same nameplate for each issue, but change the color it prints in each time. If the newsletter is published on the internet, use color freely to attract the eyes of potential readers.

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Your Citation
Bear, Jacci Howard. "Publication Nameplates." ThoughtCo, Nov. 18, 2021, Bear, Jacci Howard. (2021, November 18). Publication Nameplates. Retrieved from Bear, Jacci Howard. "Publication Nameplates." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 23, 2023).