Choosing the right format for your publication will increase its chances of reaching and influencing the target audience.


Print is a commonly used format and is still often the most popular with many target audiences despite the rapid development of electronic communication.

Think creatively about the format of your printed material, but ensure your ideas are practical. It may look good but is it a practical size/shape to be photocopied, filed on a shelf, carried in a briefcase, read on a train?

With print you also need to think about how many copies you will need and how they will be distributed – for further advice see the sections on quantity and distribution.


Electronic publishing is becoming increasingly popular; particularly email bulletins and newsletters and PDFs. Electronic publishing is relatively cheap and has many advantages such as ease of production and distribution.

Once again, it is important to decide if an electronic format is the right one for your target audience.

Don't confuse ease of distribution with appropriateness of medium. It is easy to send out emails in bulk, but if the email is irrelevant or goes to the wrong people, it is just more junk mail.

When using electronic formats, bear the following points in mind:

  • Cater for the lowest common denominator in terms of technology – some users may have older browsers or slower broadband connections
  • Avoid sending large files of information or pictures in electronic format – it is better to send a short email with a link to your website so users can download the information if and when they need it.