Select a format

Once you have a clear idea of what your goals are, and of what sort of message best communicates them, you are ready to select a format or formats: brochure, newsletter, magazine or Zine, book, poster, t-shirt, sticker?

How to decide? Think about your goals, capacity and audience. Are you trying to get people to act fast on an issue, or do you have a message that makes sense on its own and will not date quickly? Simple messages can go into smaller, one-off publications like posters, stickers, t-shirts, booklets or pamphlets, which can include a link to more frequent updates on your website. Posters or stickers can be put up by volunteers, and fliers can be handed out at demonstrations.

If you want to engage people over the longer term, by giving them an in-depth understanding of the issues involved in your cause, or if your messages are evolving all the time, and are related to other developments, then a newsletter, 'zine or newspaper is best.

To highlight a particular subject you could issue a one-off publication such as a briefing paper or communiqué – but don’t suggest it will form part of a series unless you are committed to producing further issues.

A longer text might need to be published as a report or even as a book. If your budget is smaller, it could become an e-book for downloading. Remember that anything published online can be updated more regularly, cheaply and easily.

Using a combination of formats is the best way to reach all your goals and audiences in the short and long term.  









Provide in-depth coverage

They may give a voice to the grass roots

Can include text and graphics

Can be distributed on the internet

Can encourage long-term engagement

They can be shared 

These formats are costly; they demand skills, time and a good team 

These formats need to be sustained over time

You will need to prepare good-quality content

Delegating, co-ordinating, team work and distribution are crucial

Watch size, design 



Fast, simple, catchy and durable 

Costly, not in-depth, can’t be updated or easily shared 

You'll need a good idea and design. One colour is fine, but ensure high contrast. Include a link to your website if there is space. 


Fast, simple, catchy, inexpensive, durable; online distribution is possible 

Not in-depth, potential legal and security issues for people distributing, can’t be updated 

As above 


Fast, simple, catchy, durable. High impact. Online distribution possible 

Can be costly, potential legal/security issues for people distributing, can’t be updated 

You need a good idea and possibly a designer. Guerrilla postering (at any size) in the right places can have big impact. Consider including a link to your website. 


Fairly quick and easy

More in-depth. Online distribution is easy


Demands some skills  

Ensure you include a link to your website. Clear, concise writing and layout are essential 


Quick and easy Inexpensive

Online distribution is easy


One colour is usually fine

Your flier needs a striking design to stand out. Include a link to your website

Fact or information sheet

Fairly quick and easy, relatively inexpensive

More in-depth. Online distribution is easy


Demands research, fact-checking and clear writing 




Very in-depth

Can be self-funding through sales

Online distribution is possible

Can be heavy. Expensive to print and distribute; sales systems required 

Carefully weigh up whether you want to give your book away or sell it; whether to make an e-book or a printed book.