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Panpa Bulletin : November December 2006
Use pluggers to help your designer A portfolio of plugger ads can make life a whole lot easier for a designer with space to ll at the eleventh hour. The key is to design them from scratch to t any hole, writes Ed Henninger. There it is -- that one silly little hole on your inside news page. The ad stack just doesn't quite square off and you've got a package to place on the page that really requires a modular look. All is not lost -- as long as your newspaper allows the use of plugger ads. A plugger is sometimes called a "house ad" or a "filler ad." It's usually a small ad-like element designed specifically to help you fill awkward holes on inside pages. I don't confuse pluggers with house ads that may be placed throughout the news- paper to promote an upcoming series or a special offer on classifieds. Those house ads usually are much larger and contain a short-term message. Pluggers are developed primarily to help make the page easier to work with for the designer, easier to follow for the reader Here are some tips: • Prepare plugger ads in a variety of sizes. You may need one today that's only 2 columns wide by 1 inch deep. And tomorrow you'll need another that's 3 columns wide by 4 inches deep. Have a good selection at the ready in your software library. • Pluggers should contain a brief message. A smaller version of your nameplate, your slogan and a phone number and/or web address are sufficient. • Design them so they're versatile. You may need to change that plugger from 3 inches deep to 3.75 inches on deadline. And, no, stretching a pdf file vertically won't do the trick because it would require vertically stretching the nameplate---a move we want to avoid. Instead of pdf or tiff files, consider keeping the plugger in your pagi- nation software format so you can make needed changes quickly. • Keep their design simple. Clean typog- raphy. Lots of negative space. Single-rule borders. The last thing you want to have to do on deadline is adjust a plugger ad that contains too many elements. • Follow the theme throughout. If you're us- ing your nameplate without a drop shadow in the smaller ads, continue to do so as you increase the size of the ad. All your pluggers should look like siblings. • Use a fair amount of negative space to make sure the plugger is soft and airy. We don't want the plugger to be so compact that it tends to draw attention to itself. Open it up. Let it breathe. Let's not have it fight for attention with the ads and news packages around it. • Keep them up to date. If you've changed your slogan or added your web address, make sure all the old pluggers are killed from your library and replaced with the new look. Pluggers aren't the most important items in your design toolbox. But like that pair of needle-nose pliers at the bottom of the box, they're just what you need in a pinch. More Examples For a look at other options for plugger ads, check www.henningerconsulting.com and leave a request with an email address. We'll send out a pdf file right away. ED HENNINGER is an independent newspaper consultant and the Director of Henninger Consulting, an independent consultancy o ering comprehensive newspaper design services including redesigns, workshops, training and evaluations.. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org On the web: www.henningerconsulting.com DESIGN Prepare your plugger ads in a variety of sizes. Keep them brief and simple. Use plenty of negative space to keep them soft and airy. And keep them up to date November--December 2006 PANPA BULLETIN | 37 Seeking fresh ideas in advertising, classifieds and circulation? Women in Newspapers Lunch March 21, 2007 No longer the realm of advertising only Marketing, classi eds and circulation teams will nd the 2007 PANPA Advertising Forum 2-day conference invaluable. • Who s selling what, and how? • Why did that work? • How can we do that here? No matter how small or large your regional, metropolitan or community newspaper is, the 2007 Ad Forum is designed to appeal to and challenge you all. Put these dates in your diary now. For more information contact; email@example.com www.panpa.org.au & Advertising Forum 2007 PANPA Newspaper Advertising Awards March 19-20, Sydney