Here’s a glossary of magazine and newspaper layout terms – taken from a variety of sources.
There are some terms that practitioners disagree on – ‘masthead’, for example. So there are two contradicting definitions of this, and one or two other terms. Some contain advice and opinions that you may disagree with. Take your pick.
Alley: the space between columns within a page. Not to be confused with the gutter, which is the combination of the inside margins of two facing pages.
Ascender: in typography, the parts of lowercase letters that rise above the x-height of the font, e.g. b, d, f, h, k, I, and t. See descender for headline implications of these
Angle: The approach or focus of a story. This is sometimes known as the peg.
Banner: The title of a periodical, which appears on the cover of the magazine and on the first page of the newsletter. It contains the name of the publication and serial information, date, volume, number. Bleed: when the image is printed to the very edge of the page.
Block quote: A long quotation - four or more lines - within body text, that is set apart in order to clearly distinguish the author’s words from the words that the author is quoting.
Body or body copy: (typesetting) the main text of the work but not including headlines.
Boost: picture boost (usually front page) pic promoting a feature or story in later pages
Strap boost: as above, but with a strapline, not a picture
Buried lede: when the main point of the story is hidden away deep in the text. It should come first.
Byline: A journalist's name at the beginning of a story.
Callout: An explanatory label for an illustration, often drawn with a leader line pointing to a part of the illustration.
Caption: An identification (title) for an illustration, usually a brief phrase. The caption should also support the other content.
Centre of visual interest (CVI): The prominent item on a page usually a headline, picture or graphic.
Column: A regular feature often on a specific topic, written by the same person who is known as a columnist.
Column gutter: The space between columns of type.
Copy: Main text of a story.
Cropping: the elimination of parts of a photograph or other original that are not required to be printed. Cropping allows the remaining parts of the image to be enlarged to fill the space.
Cross head: a heading set in the body of the text used to break it into easily readable sections.
Cross head: A few words used to break up large amounts of text, normally taken from the main text. Typically used in interviews.
Cutlines: Explanatory text, usually full sentences, that provides information about illustrations. Cutlines are sometimes called captions or legends.
Deck: Part of the headline which summarises the story. Also known as deck copy or bank.
Deck: a headline is made up of decks, each set in the same style and size of type.
A multi deck heading is one with several headings each different from the next and should not be confused with the number of lines a heading has. A four line heading is not the same as a four deck heading.
Descender: letters that descend below a line (q,p,g, j) Ascenders and descenders can create unused space in large headlines.... that is one reason why tabloid front page headlines use capitals... there are no ascenders or descenders in caps, so the lines can be crammed more closely together by adjusting the leading and therefore make better use of the space and add to the impact)
Discretionary hyphen: A hyphen that will occur only if the word appears at the end of a line, not if the word appears in the middle of a line.
Double page spread: magazine design layout that spans across two pages. Usually, the design editor will arrange to spread the layout across the centre pages of the magazine, so as to ensure that the design lines up properly.
Drop cap: a large initial letter at the start of the text that drops into the line or lines of text below.
Drop shadow: Drop shadows are those shadows dropping below text or images which gives the illusion of shadows from lighting and gives a 3D effect to the object.
Editorialise: To write in an opinionated way.
Feature: A longer, more in-depth article.
Facing pages: In a double-sided document, the two pages that appear as a spread when the publication is opened.
Filler: extra material used to complete a column or page, usually of little importance.
Flatplan: A page plan that shows where the articles and adverts are laid out.
Flush left: copy aligned along the left margin.
Flush right: copy aligned along the right margin.
Golden ratio: the rule devised to give proportions of height to width when laying out text and illustrations to produce the most optically pleasing result. Traditionally a ratio of 1 to 1.6.
Grid: A layout grid is the non-printing set of guidlines that designers use to align images and text in a document layout.
Grip-and-grin: A photograph of no inherent interest in which a notable and an obscure person shake hands at an occasion of supposed significance.
Headline: The main title of the article. Should be in present or future tense to add to urgency. Must fit the space provided. If it doesn’t, you are using the wrong words.
House style : A publication's guide to style, spelling and use of grammar, designed to help journalists write and present in a consistent way for their target audience.
Justify: (typesetting) the alignment of text along a margin or both margins. This is achieved by adjusting the spacing between the words and characters as necessary so that each line of text finishes at the same point.
Kerning: Adjustment of horizontal space between two written characters.
Kicker: The first sentence or first few words of a story's lead, set in a font size larger than the body text of the story.
Lead or Leading: (typesetting) Space added between lines of type to space out text and provide visual separation of the lines. Measured in points or fractions thereof. Named after the strips of lead that used to be inserted between lines of metal type.
Leader: An article that shows the opinion of a newspaper.
Leader: A line of dots or dashes to lead the eye across the page to separated copy.
Leading: Adjustment of vertical space between two lines.
Lede: The phonetic spelling of lead, the beginning, usually the first paragraph, of an article. The importance of getting the main point of the story in the first sentence is regularly stressed to young journalists by editors. Don’t bury the lede. When we were taught to write stories at school we were urged to save the best for the climax. In journalism, get the climax in first, then give the context.
Masthead: Main title section and name at the front of a publication.
Masthead: Magazine term referring to the printed list, usually on the editorial page of a newspaper or magazine, that lists the contributors. Typically this would include the owners, publishers, editors, designers and production team. The masthead is often mistakenly used in reference to the flag or nameplate, which actually refers to the designed logo of the publication.
Negative space (or white space): the area of page without text, image or other elements
Noise: A noisy image or noisy scan is one where there are random or extra pixels that have degraded the image quality. Noise in a graphics image can be generated at the scanning stage, by artificially enlarging an image by interpolating the pixels, or by over-sharpening a digital photograph. Noise can sometimes also be found in photographs taken by some cheaper digital cameras.
Orphan: First line of a paragraph appearing on the last line of a column of text. Normally avoided.
Overline: introductory headline in smaller text size above the main headline
Pull quote: A brief phrase (not necessarily an actual quotation) from the body text, enlarged and set off from the text with rules, a box, and/or a screen. It is from a part of the text set previously, and is set in the middle of a paragraph, to add emphasis and interest.
A quote or exerpt from an article that is used as display text on the same page to entice the reader, highlight a topic or break up linearity
Pull-out quote: Selected quote from a story highlighted next to the main text. Often used in interviews.
Puff piece: A news story with editorialised, complimentary statements.
Recto: Right-hand page.
Rivers: a river is a typographic term for the ugly white gaps that can occur in justified columns of type, when there is too much space between words on concurrent lines of text. Rivers are especially common in narrow columns of text, where the type size is relatively large. Rivers are best avoided by either setting the type as ragged, increasing the width of the columns, decreasing the point size of the text, or by using a condensed typeface. An often overlooked method of avoiding rivers, is the careful use of hyphenation and justification settings in page layout programs such as QuarkXpress or InDesign.
Running head: A title or heading that runs along the top of a printed publication, usually a magazine.
Sell: Short sentence promoting an article, often pulling out a quote or a interesting sentence.
Serif and Sans serif: Plain font type with or without (sans) lines perpendicular to the ends of characters.
Set flush: text set at the full width of the column with no indentation
Splash: Main front page story.
Standfirst: Lines of text after the headline that gives more information about the article, or about the author.
Standfirst: will usually be written by the sub-editor and is normally around 40-50 words in length. Any longer and it defeats its purpose, any shorter and it becomes difficult to get the necessary information in. Its purpose is to give some background information about the writer of the article, or to give some context to the contents of the article. Usually, it is presented in typesize larger than the story text, but much smaller than the headline.
Strapline: Similar to a subhead or standfirst, but used more as a marketing term.
Subhead: A smaller one-line headline for a story.
Subhead: A secondary phrase usually following a headline. Display line(s) of lesser size and importance than the main headline(s).
Talkie headline: a quote from one of the people in the story used as a headline
Tag line: a short memorable line of cover text that sums up the tone of the publication (Loaded Mag has :For men who should know better)
Tombstoning: In page layout, to put articles side by side so that the headlines are adjacent. The phenomenon is also referred to as bumping heads.
Top heads: Headlines at the top of a column.
Widow: Last line of paragraph appearing on the first line of a column of text.
Widow: In a page layout, short last lines of paragraphs - usually unacceptable when separated from the rest of the paragraph by a column break, and always unacceptable when separated by a page break.
Wob: White text on a black or other coloured background