• Part of a roofline shows from one building. Trees with fall color leaves on them fill most of the photo. A lamp-post is near center of the photo.

    Harpers Ferry Center


Clear, well organized writing and the orderly sequencing of information is essential to the system. But it is the contrast between titles and text that give layouts their simple directness.


Two typefaces, or fonts, are used. NPS Rawlinson, designed specially for the National Park Service, is a "serif" typeface with small strokes that appear at the end of the main letter stroke. It is designed for long passages of text and is easy for the eye to follow. It is simple and pleasing, but does not attract attention to itself. Frutiger is a "sans-serif" typeface. It works well in shorter line lengths and is used for titles. Guidelines for using NPS Typefaces PDF

Both NPS Rawlinson and Adobe Frutiger typefaces can be downloaded from the NPS Graphic Identity Program website. Learn more about the NPS Graphic Identity Program

For the vertical format, text can be placed in both the middle and right columns, or extend all the way across both columns, leaving the left column open for illustrations and white space. Be consistent throughout a single publication. The use of white space, along with the flush left, ragged right text alignment, aids in creating the informal, open appearance as opposed to a heavy, dense look. Hyphenation should be used freely. With computer type it's no longer necessary to leave two spaces between sentences. Computers allow a wide range of styles within one typeface—regular, bold, italic, underlined. These options should be used with restraint. Too much use of bolding to highlight important words or ideas, for instance, may become confusing to the point of distraction.

Type is described by font name, style ("bold," "italics," or nothing for regular style), and size (in points), with the leading—the space between lines of type (also in points)—shown after a slash. Page layout programs usually have an "automatic" default setting for leading. However, it can be changed in the type menu. A general rule for text legibility is to use leading that is slightly larger than the type size. Caps/lower case (abbreviated "clc") refers to the use of capital and lower case letters, as opposed to all capitals. The site bulletin system incorporates type so well into its overall design that all caps are not needed to highlight titles and subtitles. Titles are highlighted by using Frutiger and with bolding, and by their placement on the page.

Park Title: 29/29 Frutiger 45 light, bold, reversed to white, caps/lower case. (The name of this font is actually Frutiger 65—don't let the number or phrase "light" distract you.) Placement is flush left with the left grid line, and even with the top grid line. The alternative for reproduction by office copier without pre-printed site bulletin title sheets is to use black type. The scaled down type size for use on the rack card is 22/22 Frutiger 45 light, bold.

Agency, Department, and Park Designations: 8/10 Frutiger 45 light, bold, reversed to white, caps/lower case. Placement is flush left with the left side of the right column, and even with the top grid line. Again, the alternative for reproduction by office copier without pre-printed site bulletin title sheets is to use black type. The scaled-down type size for use on the rack card, is 8/9.5.

Title: 20/20 Frutiger 45 light, bold, caps/lower case. Placement is flush left with the left grid line and is pre-positioned on the templates. There should be only one title per brochure and it should be short and to the point. Longer titles can be placed on two lines with the indicated leading, but should not extend too far across the page. The type size is scaled up for use on the rack card to 22/22 Frutiger 45 light, bold. In some cases the 22-point leading may be too tight, so 24-point can be used instead.

Subtitles: 11/13 Frutiger 45 light, bold. Placement is flush left with the left grid line and spaced below the 3-point rule using the non-printing spacers provided in the template. The subtitle is always used in conjunction with the 3-point rule to give order to the information, telling the reader about the content that follows. It is a visual clue to help the reader understand the organization of the brochure.

Introductory Text: A site bulletin can have a short introductory text that stands out from the rest of the text. 11/15 NPS Rawlinson or 11/15 NPS Rawlinson, bold can be used. All text is placed flush left, ragged right to create an open, informal look with lots of white space. Hyphenation is used freely. Use standard hyphenation rules (see The Desktop Style Guide, James Felici). It can be placed flush left with the middle column and run all the way across the right column to make it stand out even more from the main text. It can be reversed to white inside an image if the image is dark enough. In this case it would almost always be bold.
Text: The template calls for text to be 9/12 NPS Rawlinson flush left, ragged right. Some parks have discovered that 10/12 NPS Rawlinson is easier for many people to read and so are using the larger size. Text is placed flush left, ragged right in both the middle and right columns. The ends of each column do not have to match; in fact, more white space is created by making them uneven. Text size is the same for the rack card.

Captions: 8/10 Frutiger 55 Roman. Captions can be placed outside the image, or reversed and placed inside if they remain legible. Captions should be .025 inches from the edge of the image.

Administrative Information: 5/7 Frutiger 55 Roman. This includes such things as date, brochure number, and recycled message. Placement is in a cluster with the recycled logo at the bottom of the back page, flush left in the right column, aligned with the "Experience Your America" phrase. Here it will not be intrusive to the reader. This feature allows the park staff to quickly see which edition or printing of the site bulletin is being distributed.

Credits: 5/7 Frutiger 55 Roman. This includes the name of the photographer or artist, whether the work was donated or purchased. It should be visible but not stand out as a main message. It can be horizontal below the image or vertical along the lower edge. National Park Service photographs need not be credited in our own publications but other agencies should be given credit for their images.

Bullets: A round or square mark used to highlight short lists, such as equipment to carry on a hike. They are usually found in the "dingbats" menu of the fonts section of your page layout program. Their size should be scaled to the type size; it's easy to make them too big and overpowering. They should be aligned flush left with the grid and, following the lines of text, should continue flush left with no indentation.

Alignment: The site bulletin system uses a strong flush left alignment with placement of all typography. It's one of its distinctive features. Paragraphs are separated by one line space and are not indented. A centered alignment is never used.

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