There are different ways in which a well-designed publication can use indexing:
• through promotional units for main stories to the inside
• through a specific summary of highlights (the news that the reader MUST not miss inside)
• through a directory of sections, i.e. sports, classified advertising, opinion, etc.
Readers appreciate a newspaper, magazine or newsletter that is easy to navigate; pure design takes this into account as a top priority.
It is with indexes and promotional units that color can be used most effectively, to color key sections, or to guide the reader from one section to the next.
However, editorial hierarchy plays a role here; do not create indexes to decorate a cover or page one, to show off good photos or visuals.
Good indexes give the front of the publication a sense of hierarchy. What do editors think the reader should read first, second and third? If the reader only has 10minutes, what is MUST reading in this edition? If five more minutes become available, what should be next? Good indexing prioritizes content for the busy reader. Pure design packages such priority attractively.
All or a portion of this column was originally published in the IFRA newsletter.