Notes for socialist trade unionists: producing effective printed materials

Planning your publication

Published on: Sun, 06/04/2008 - 13:26

Before you start writing or turn on your computer, you will want to plan your publication. Here are some notes on how to do that. Attached is a shorter version of these notes as a single-A4 PDF.



There are several important questions to work through before you even start putting together your publication. Take time to think about these and discuss them with other union activists; or with fellow Workers’ Liberty members; or with like-minded people who will work on the publication with you. Time spent planning it well will make for a more effective publication; and

Seeking out stories

Published on: Sun, 06/04/2008 - 13:17

Whether you are producing an official union newsletter, or an independent socialist bulletin, here are some ideas about seeking out stories. Below is a long-ish set of tips. Attached is a shorter version as a single-A4 PDF.



What are people talking about at work? What are their complaints about management? About their working conditions? Can they tell you of any incidents or issues in other departments, or which have arisen when you were not at work? Don’t just talk at your workmates: listen to them.

What has happened at work recently? An accident, injury or other

Tips for text

Published on: Sun, 06/04/2008 - 12:24

Want to know how to write effective text for trade union and workplace newsletters? Below is a long-ish set of guidelines; attached is a shorter version of these notes on one page of A4 (PDF).



Be concerned about how your newsletter reads before you worry about how it looks. Relevant and well-written content should be able to stand on its own, even as plain text. Prepare, discuss and edit your text before you lay it out into your design template.



Headlines should attract workers to read your article. Make them descriptive and/or catchy. For main

Socialist workplace bulletins - ideas for content

Published on: Sun, 06/04/2008 - 12:17

If you are producing a socialist bulletin for your workpalce, here are some tips on getting effective content together. The tips are in text from below, and attached as a single-A4 sheet (PDF).



The front page should carry one or two editorial articles. This should include articles about general political issues, as well as about the important issues in the workplace / industry / union.

Write general political articles in a way which addresses your audience ie. your workmates. Make points about how the issue affects them eg. when writing

Producing a socialist workplace bulletin

Published on: Sun, 06/04/2008 - 12:09

Here are some guidlelines from producing a socialist workplace bulletin. The guidelines are in text form below, and attached as a single-A4 sheet (PDF).



Put the bulletin together at a meeting. Have a political discussion about the main article, and talk about any issues of policy or strategy that arise from other stories.

The bulletin meeting should not just be a technical exercise, but a series of political discussions and an organising forum. Invite workmates and contacts: explain to them the role and the importance of the bulletin – if people

Official union newsletters

Published on: Sun, 06/04/2008 - 11:55

If you are union rep of any type, it is important that you produce a regular newsletter for members. Below is a long-ish set of guidelines for effective official union newsletters. Attached is a shorter version of these notes on one page of A4 (PDF).



One of the biggest problems with union bureaucracies is that they do not keep members informed. Yes, there is probably a union journal, but it probably does not cover the nitty-gritty of issues facing members at work, lacks any critical assessment of what the union is doing, promotes the union leadership with all

Design Tips

Published on: Sun, 06/04/2008 - 11:39

Below is a long-ish set of guidelines for effective design of newsletters, leaflets etc. Attached is a shorter version of these notes on one page of A4 (PDF).





  • Build on existing design ideas. Look at other union or socialist newsletters. You could use a template or borrow from an existing layout.
  • Keep it simple. Meaningless graphics, difficult-to-read text, too many fonts and visual elements on a page get between the reader and your message.
  • White space is your friend! Don’t cram too much text or too many pictures into your publication. Use white space as

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