Welcome to the Supply Center


Design Essentials


The Beginning

Cost considerations:

  • Design: Design materials yourself on a computer or have materials professionally designed?
  • Color: Will you print materials on your own printer or have them printed in quantity at a printer? If you have a good color printer, use four-color in your work. If you have materials printed, get quotes for four, PMS, or one color printing.

Time considerations:

  • Do you have the computer equipment and skills to design your materials?
  • Do you have the time? Or do you have the time to learn a program?
  • Will it take less time and hassle to have materials designed professionally?

Tips for Getting Started

  • Have an idea of what you want. Sketch out ideas and concepts – decide on the feeling of your image and message.
  • Write preliminary copy as a starting point.
  • Pick a format. For example, will your business card be horizontal or vertical?
  • Will your brochure be a 2-fold, 3-fold, or accordion fold? Will it be a self-mailer, or need to fit in #10 envelope?
  • Start with a focal point. Decide what is most important first. Develop a grid. Break page up logically. Plan for margins bleeds.
  • Remember that white space is good.
  • Say more with less. Good design doesn’t need to be flashy. It’s better to have a well-thought-out design printed in one color than a die-cut, embossed, 27-color piece that says nothing, or worse, says you don’t know how to spend your money.

Working with Type (Fonts)

  • There are literally hundreds of typefaces to choose from. Rule of thumb: Choose only 2 fonts– 3 maximum.
  • Do a test page of sample fonts and sizes.
  • For contrast, use San Serif and Serif families. You can use bold or italic of those families for variety.
  • Choose classic, easy to read typefaces.

San Serif Fonts:

  • San Serif is most commonly used in short copy situations such as headlines, subheads, pull quotes, brochures, ads, and business cards.
  • To improve readability when using san serif in longer blocks of text, use more leading, or space between the lines.
  • Most common san serifs: Helvetica, Univers, Stone Sans, Optima, Formata, Gill Sans, Franklin Gothic, Futura, Avant Guarde

Serif Fonts:

  • Serif fonts are generally used for longer blocks of copy as it is easily readable.
  • Most common serifs: Times, Garamond, Palatino, Goudy, Baskerville, New Century Schoolbook, Bodoni

Important Considerations with Type

  • With point sizes, consistency is very important. Pick a headline point size and body point size and keep them the same throughout the piece.
  • A good point size for address information is between 7 and 10 points, depending on the font. Anything larger may look unprofessional.
  • Leading is the space between lines. Rule of thumb is a 2 point minimum leading (or line spacing) to point size. For example, if you have 9 point type, there should be 12 point leading. The more leading or line spacing, the easier it is to read. But remember to keep common elements grouped.


Working with Color

  • The colors used on your materials should reflect the nature of your business.
  • Color is a cost consideration before designing because it will affect printing costs.
  • Types of color: 4/C (CMYK), PMS (solid inks) or Black and White.
  • With PMS, you can use screen values to give appearance of different colors.


Working with Artwork

  • This is a cost consideration before designing because it will affect printing costs.
  • Art can be 4/C, Duotones of PMS colors, B&W halftones.
  • Sources of art: CD ROM’s stock art, original art or photos.
  • Scan in low-resolution for comps.
  • Final art must be scanned in high-resolution.



  • Paper gives a piece a particular feel. There are many types: Glossy, matte, recycled for instance.
  • Whites, creams and beige’s are most popular choices for cards and brochures.
  • Paper weight: Text 24 to 28 pounds is best for letterhead. You can also use 70 lb. that gives a heavier feel.
  • Brochures and business cards: 80 to 100 lb text or cover stock.
  • Make sure your stock runs through a laser printer. Test samples.
  • Choosing paper: get samples from printers, designers, paper houses, art stores.



  • Final mechanical must be put onto a disk.
  • All elements must be on disk, including final layout, artwork, and fonts.
  • Bluelines and matchprints are provided from printers to check final layouts and color approval.



  • Printers must be chosen based on size of the job. Their estimates are usually based on their equipment.
  • Smaller print shops are best for cards, brochures, and flyers with small runs– 500 to 2,500.
  • Medium printers are best for larger runs and 4/C- 1,000 to 10,000.
  • High-end printers are used for large, 4/C, multipage runs.
  • Quantity- the more you print the less per unit cost.
  • Get at least three estimates from different printers.


Working With Designers/Agencies

  • Look at their samples of their work.
  • Get an estimate. These are usually bid by the hour or by the project.
  • Estimate should detail what is included in project: number of concepts, copy writing, design, production, artwork, number of revisions, printing estimate or disk mechanical.
  • You need to provide initial copy and direction.
  • They will set a production schedule. You must stick to deadlines.
  • Remember that constant revisions escalate the costs.

What is usually included in design fees:

Art direction, design, layout, production up through disk mechanical, 2 B&W layouts, 1 color layout, 2-3 sets of minor revisions, project coordination/supervision.

  • Extra charges: Original or stock photography, illustrations, logo design, high-res scans, retouching, color proofs, film, messengers, and overnight mail.
  • Terms: It’s common to pay 50% to start job. Balance is due within 30 days of final invoice.



  • Designers Recommendations from printers, friends, phone books
  • Art Schools- Art Center in Pasadena, Cal Arts in Valencia, CSUN, UCLA, Santa Monica College, or your local community college
  • If you see something you like, call and ask who designed it
  • Jean Drummond is available to design your practice brochure, letterhead, business cards, etc. Jean can be reached at (818) 410-1140



  • Yellow pages
  • Referrals from designers or acquaintances
  • Consult your local printers for the best price and quality printing


Creative Resources

  • Graphic Arts Stores
  • Paper: Kirk Paper, XPEDEX, Graphic Arts stores Paper Direct - 800-272-7377
  • Images: PhotoDisc – Images on CD-Rom or download. 800-528-3472, www.photodisc.com
  • Bookstores: Hennessy & Ingalls in Santa Monica 310-458-9074, Barnes & Noble, etc.




  • Consider your budget before designing.
  • Have someone else proofread your materials before printing them.
  • Use two to three fonts maximum.
  • Be consistent with point sizes and leading.
  • Get paper samples.
  • Do a test page of fonts and point sizes before designing.
  • Give direction to a designer. If you only know what you want after you see layouts and then make changes, it’s expensive and time consuming.
  • Increase your visual awareness. Look at materials and notice the design elements and basic principals.
  • Keep a design or idea file. Save things you like or have impressed you– flyers, brochures, cards, type arrangements, colors, and advertising– anything that strikes a chord or feeling with you. Use it for inspiration and ideas.


  • The #1 killer of any marketing piece: typos and grammatical errors!
  • Don’t write too much copy and avoid being redundant. Avoid scattering phrases and graphics all over the place.
  • Don’t use too many separate elements on a page.
  • Don’t stick things in corners and in the middle.
  • Don’t create relationships with elements that don’t belong together.
  • Avoid using more than one text alignment on the page (i.e.: don’t center some text and then flush-right other text.)
  • Avoid repeating elements so much that it becomes overwhelming.
  • When using contrasting elements, do it with strength. That is, avoid contrasting a heavy line with a “sort-of-heavier” line.
  • Avoid heavy decorative fonts and scripts.




This is one of the most important visual attractions on a page. Contrast on a page draws your eyes to it. The idea is to avoid elements on a page that are all similar. This can be done with type, leading, space, color, etc. For instance, you can contrast large type with small type; a horizontal element with a vertical element; a small graphic with a large graphic.


Every element should have some visual connection with another element on a page. Nothing should be placed arbitrarily. When items are aligned on a page, it creates a stronger cohesive unit. Even when elements are physically separated from one another, if they are aligned, there is an invisible line that connects them, both in your eye and in your mind. All text is either flush left, flush right or centered.


This helps organize and strengthen the unity and consistency of a piece. Repeat some elements of the design throughout the piece. For example, you can repeat a bold font, a thick line, a color, shape, texture, spatial relationships– it can be anything that one can visually recognize.


To help with organization, keep related items together. Items relating to one another should be grouped close together as one cohesive group. Be conscious of where your eyes are going. You should be able to follow a logical progression through a piece– from a beginning to an end.


For additional information or to hire Jean Drummond to design your newsletter or brochure, call (661) 297-4572 or e-mail at mountainshen@earthlink.net.

©The Supply Center / KM Enterprises