Saturday, November 11, 2000

Family Newsletters: Expert Advice on How to Create a Unique Holiday Statement

(ARA) - Instead of sending the standard holiday card this season, try creating a newsletter that's lively, entertaining and a unique reflection of your family.

Experts from the faculty of The Art Institutes say the two most important things to remember when creating readable and attractive holiday newsletters are to make careful selections about what you include and to stay with a simple, easy-to-read design.

The best way to begin is to head to your local office or computer supply store and look for a simple desktop publishing package. Most are easy to install and use, with prices ranging from $30 to $60.

Next, if you don't already own one, consider purchasing, renting or borrowing a digital camera. According to David Lissy, a Desktop Publishing instructor with The Art Institute of Colorado, a digital camera is the easiest way of getting your favorite images onto your holiday newsletter. For a basic digital camera, prices start about $300; if you'd rather not purchase one, see if you can rent one locally from a camera store, or better yet, borrow one from a friend.

A simple way to enhance the look of your newsletter, says Steve Butler, a graphic design instructor at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, is to purchase a basic clip art package. For as little as $20 you can have loads of graphics at your fingertips, many of which will be holiday-themed.

To add family photographs, children's artwork or newspaper clippings to your newsletter, consider purchasing a basic flat-bed scanner. Prices can start as low as $60 and range up to $300, depending on the quality of resolution. If you'd rather not buy one, Butler suggests taking your material for scanning to your local copy center to have them do it for you. Call ahead for prices.

When you begin writing, keep these tips in mind for selecting typefaces. Pick no more than three; one for the body copy, one for headlines and one for decorative uses. Also, keep in mind who's reading your newsletter; if you have older relatives, be sure your font size is not too small (nothing below 14 point).

When it comes time to print out your newsletter, remember not to go too dark for a background color. Text printing on dark backgrounds is difficult to read, says Susanne Manheimer, Academic Director of the Design Department of The Art Institute of Los Angeles. Instead, she says to consider selecting a light background and using holiday colors as highlights for headlines or clip art.

Perhaps most important of all, she suggests, make sure your newsletter is simply laid out and easy to read; don't try to cram too much into it. Remember that half the fun of your holiday newsletter is the enjoyment you and your family will have in creating it and remembering the special times you want to share with others.

For more information on the Graphic Arts, Multimedia or Desktop Publishing programs of The Art Institutes, call 1-888-328-7900 or visit The Art Institutes Web site at

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