Starting or Strengthening a Drug Bulletin - A Practical Manual
(2005; 165 pages) View the PDF document
Table of Contents
View the documentPreface
View the documentHow the manual was produced
View the documentAbout ISDB
View the documentExecutive summary
Open this folder and view contents1. Introduction
Open this folder and view contents2. Rational use of medicines
Open this folder and view contents3. What are drug bulletins?
Open this folder and view contents4. Defining aims, target and type of bulletin
Open this folder and view contents5. Planning resources
Open this folder and view contents6. Planning bulletin production: schedules and timing
Open this folder and view contents7. The editorial process
Open this folder and view contents8. Reviewing a new drug: is it a therapeutic advance?
Open this folder and view contentsAnnexe to Chapter 8: Evaluating harm
Close this folder9. Design and production
View the document9.1 Elements of good design
View the document9.2 Creating the design
View the document9.3 Using images
View the document9.4 The production process
View the document9.5 Developing a house style
View the document9.6 Ensuring accuracy - proof reading
View the document9.7 Printing
View the document9.8 Electronic publishing
View the document9.9 Further reading
Open this folder and view contents10. Dissemination
Open this folder and view contents11. Organizational and legal issues
Open this folder and view contents12. Evaluating quality and usefulness
Open this folder and view contents13. Partnership and collaboration
Open this folder and view contents14. Keeping records and creating a memory
Open this folder and view contentsAppendix: Electronic sources of information

9.2 Creating the design

Several things must be decided when designing a bulletin:

Page size. The size most commonly used by drug bulletins is A4, but a few use other sizes (e.g. the pocket-sized Drugs Bulletin from Chandigarh, India);

Number of pages. This will depend on the type of information in the bulletin and the frequency of publication. Many independent bulletins have 2 or 4 pages and contain perhaps 2 to 4 articles, while some are around 80 pages long, and are divided into several different sections (e.g. la revue Prescrire, France:; Dialogo sui Farmaci, Italy:;

Choice of paper, including colour and weight (thickness); new or recycled paper. This affects the cost of producing the bulletin;

Use of colour printing. Colour can be used in many different ways. A single colour can be used to highlight boxes or headings, or to give a tinted background. Adding a single colour will probably not add much to the cost of printing. The choice of colour may be important. For example, yellow is used to colour headings in Spain’s adverse drug reaction bulletin, Butlleti Groc (“Yellow Bulletin”):

All these features when combined and applied in a publication create its identity. Unless you have the necessary knowledge and experience to design a bulletin, it is best to work with a designer. The designer can create a template for the bulletin, defining the number of columns, the width of the columns and page margins. The designer can also develop the style and position of the permanent features, such as the name of the bulletin (the masthead), the date, issue number, page numbers, and contents list, and define the size and type of font to use for the text and for headings. A template makes it possible to know how many words fit into a page, so that the text can be edited to the right length.

There is value in reviewing the style and format of other bulletins before meeting with the designer. This helps you to communicate what you like and do not like in different designs. Readers will become familiar with the bulletin’s appearance and layout, so do not be tempted to change these too often and without good reason.

Case study: Drug Bulletin, Eritrea

Our Drug Bulletin started as a 4-page publication and soon grew to 6 and then 8 pages. Until recently it was produced as a camera-ready print using Microsoft-Word. The logo was drawn using Paintbrush in an old version of Microsoft-Word, while most drawings in the subsequent bulletins were drawn using CorelDraw. The one-colour final camera-ready product was taken to the printing press on an A4 page for conversion into an A3 film. The printers were instructed to print one of the A3 faces in two colours with the remaining faces in one colour. The coloured face when folded gave the first and the last pages two colours. This minimised the production cost while giving the bulletin a better look. We always try to keep the layout of our bulletin simple and consistent in terms or fonts (types and sizes) and in two columns. We use some photos, tables and text boxes to highlight messages.

Recently we have moved to full colour using Adobe PageMaker (and InDesign), Photoshop, Illustrator for our layout. The final product is sent to printing press by CD. We use Microsoft- Word for all editing and proof reading purposes. We still believe that word processors, such as Microsoft-Word alone, can be used successfully for designing and producing a bulletin.

Contributed by Embaye Andom, Drug Bulletin, Eritrea.

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