Create a Name,
a Defining Phrase,
and a Nameplate
Your newsletters nameplate is a statement,
a standard, and a brand. It’s a statement of
purpose, a standard that reflects or
establishes the visual style of the
publication, and a visual brand that readers
will grow to recognize.
The first stage of creating a
nameplate is to develop a name. In the
case of a newsletter the name incorporates
information from any of five different
categories—the newsletter’s publisher,
audience, subject matter, primary reader
benefit, or a modifier. Generally speaking, it
is to your advantage to create a name that
says what it means, or you will forever be
explaining its meaning via your advertising
and marketing efforts.
Begin by compiling a brainstorming
list. Divide a sheet into several
sections—the publisher, audience,
reader benefit, and a modifier—as
shown below, and list as many relevant
terms as you can conjure up. For
example, the list for a newsletter that
teaches builders how to sell homes
might look like this:
Publisher Sampler Group
Audience Builders
Subject Marketing homes
Benefit 1 Selling success
Benefit 2 Profits
Benefit 3 Marketing strategy
Modifier How-to
The modifier is a generic term for
the many ways you can describe
intent, frequency, importance, and so
on. Some examples: advisor, alert,
bulletin, currents, digest, forum, hotline,
how-to, letter, monitor, monthly, news,
newsletter, outlook, quarterly, report,
review, talk, trends, update, and weekly.
Use your brainstorming list to
experiment with combinations. The
goal is to create a name that states the
benefit of the newsletter to the reader
and then fills in as many of the who,
what, where, when, and why blanks as
possible. Even the short list above
presents many possibilities.
Samplers Home Seller Strategies
Samplers Builder Profits
Samplers How-To Market Homes
Samplers Builder Marketing
Samplers Home Marketing Forum
Samplers Successful Builder
Once you have a name and before
you invest any more time and money,
do a preliminary trademark check to
determine if the name you are
pursuing can be protected. Without a
trademark, you could spend a signifi-
cant amount of money and energy
building a brand that belongs to
Develop a name
Create a defining phrase
Design the nameplate
Test your message
someone else. At a minimum, do a search
for the word or phrase on an Internet
search engine and search the Trademark
Electronic Search System (TESS) at
The next stage is to create a
five- to fifteen-word defining phrase
(fig. A, below) that lays out the full scope
of the newsletter. Not an attention-
getting slogan or advertising tagline, but a
clear statement of purpose. A slogan such
as All the News That’s Fit to Print” may be
appropriate for The New York Times, but a
small enterprise that doesn’t get that kind
of exposure is better off getting right to
the point with a defining phrase such as
“News, events, opinion, and resources for
New Yorkers.” Clever is only good if it
doesn’t get in the way of communicating
the message.
Include as much information as
possible—the publisher, audience,
subject, reader benefit, and a modifier. For
the builder marketing publication above,
the tagline might be The builder’s guide
to home-selling success.”
An example of how to design a new nameplate
(left) from an existing design recipe (right).
See Style 4: Icons, page 228, for recipe details.
Use the name and defining
phrase to design the nameplate (fig. B,
below)—the logo-like banner that typically
appears at the top of page one. Since you
have already chosen a newsletter style
from Part 2 of this book, designing yours
should be easy. You have only to translate
your words into nameplate form.
Youll find many nameplate examples
and much discussion about them in Part 2
of this book, beginning on page 201.
Finally, test your message.
The true test of whether your name,
defining phrase, nameplate, or for that
matter any other type of communication,
works is to present it to someone who
doesn’t know anything about your organi-
zation, and see if that person can tell what
you are trying to accomplish. Does your
material communicate its intended mes-
sage to that stranger? One complication of
writing and designing is that you are very
close to the action—at times, too close to
gauge its effect clearly. Find people whose
opinion you respect and invite their reac-
tions and suggestions.
Job: E02-44372 Title: DIY: Newsletter
175# Dtp: 88 Page: 28-179

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