Our designing diva, Helen Bradley shows you how to create your own sharp, professional marketing materials using Microsoft Publisher.
Every business, large or small, uses marketing materials from business cards and letterhead to flyers and posters. Typically, a commercial print shop would have designed and printed these materials, but with the advent of desktop publishing software and quality printers you can create good-looking marketing materials.
In-house printing lets you make changes easily, create documents with a quick turnaround time and print the number of documents you actually need because you can print more anytime you like.
Choose a Design
Microsoft Publisher 2003 includes a range of custom-designed publications to quick start your projects. These include business cards, postcards, letterheads and all the ancillary documents that most businesses will need.
Publisher groups the publication types together into sets according to their purpose and their design style. The best approach is to start by selecting a design group that has all the elements you are likely to need.
|Set up a Personal Information set with all your business details, and Publisher can add them to your documents automatically.
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From the New Publication task pane, browse the New from a Design list. Select the Design Sets > Master Sets group and locate a design that you like ignore the actual colors in use for now. Check that the set includes the types of documents you need to create. Use a single design so that all your documents look like they belong to your business, and so that you spend less time deciding how to make a document look good and more time focusing on its content.
Start a Publication
To get started on a publication ‑ such as a business card ‑ click the design set you have decided to use and click Business Card to open the template. If you have previously created personal information sets, one of these will be used to populate the business card with the business and personal information.
|Use the logo wizard to configure a logo for your documents. You can even link it to your Personal Information set.
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To create a business information set, or to or edit one that you've already created, choose Edit > Personal Information. You have four business sets: primary business, secondary business, other organization and home/family. Any one of these can be used for any purpose. To edit a set, select the one you want from the list and type the information required into the various places in the dialog. Click Update to finish.
To add a logo (or make changes) to your business card design, click Include. Select the logo that Publisher has included, and locate the Wizard wand icon below it. Click this to open the Logo Options task pane. From the Logo Designs collection you can choose an alternate logo for your document or, to include your own company logo, click Inserted Picture and click Choose Picture to select one from your disk. Close the task pane when you are done.
When you save your document, you'll be prompted with a message indicating that you have modified the logo and asking you if you want to save it to your currently selected personal information set. Click Yes to do so. The logo will be saved into your personal information set and will be available each time you select that set in future.
To return to configuring your business card, choose Business Card Options from the task pane drop-down list. Select whether to use a portrait or landscape card orientation and whether to print one document per sheet or multiple-per-sheet. In most cases you will want to use the multiple-per-sheet option.
If you're printing on perforated specialty paper, choose File > Page Setup and select the Printer and Paper tab. Check to ensure that the paper size is set to Letter paper. Click the Layout tab and select Change Copies Per Sheet. Configure the side, horizontal gap, top margin and vertical gap measurements so that they match the dimensions of the paper that you are using, and click OK.
Adjust the business card by resizing any elements on the design if needed. Next save and make a test print before printing the document onto your business card stock.
Making More Documents
To create a different type of document using the same design choose File > New, and from the New from a Design list select the same design type you used previously and click the type of publication you want to make.
The information from the personal information set and the color scheme associated with that set will appear in the document already. To use another information set, choose Edit > Personal Information, select a different set and click Update.
Most of Publisher's features will be familiar to you if youre used to using a word processing program. You can select and format text using the tools on the Formatting toolbar and you can insert images by displaying the Objects toolbar and clicking the Picture Frame option. Choose either clipart or picture-from-file, and you can also insert an empty picture frame so you can fill it with an image later on. This is a handy way to mark out space for an image that you dont currently have but which you plan to use.
To insert more text into a Publisher document, draw a text box and type the text into that. Unlike a word processor, you cannot place text just anywhere on the page; it must be located inside a textbox.
Most documents have a number of special options. For example, when you create a brochure you can add forms such as an order form, signup form or response form. Adding these forms saves you from having to design them yourself. A brochure can also have a customer address panel that lets you print, fold and tape the brochure and post it with out having to place it in an envelope.
To create a color scheme that coordinates with your logo and other business documents, choose Color Schemes from the task pane menu and choose Custom Color Scheme. Choose the Standard tab and choose a color scheme from the list that best matches the scheme that you want to create.
Click the Custom tab and customize the colors to suit your needs. When you are done, click Save Scheme and give the color scheme a name. You can associate this color scheme with a Personal Information set so that it's applied to the document by default, and you can use it as you would any Publisher color scheme.
Even if you are not a design professional, the built-in templates in Publisher let you create good-looking documents without a lot of work. Stick to the one basic design, set up the required personal information sets, and you're well on your way to creating your own business marketing documents.
Helen Bradley is a respected international journalist writing regularly for small business and computer publications in the USA, Canada, South Africa, UK and Australia. You can learn more about her at her Web site, HelenBradley.com
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