Styleguide for print media

The brand appearance provides a multitude of design options and the prerequisite for all individual elements to form a coherent whole. In the following, you will find the basic guidelines for the design of brochures, leaflets, etc. and a number of successful examples for inspiration.

Publication samples for inspiration

Print Beispiel Innenseiten 01
[DE Copy] Print Beispiel Innenseiten 02

Sample pages for DIN A4 and DIN Long publications

Background Principle

To structure content clearly, the layout is divided into background areas in which typography, buttons, icons, patterns, images, etc. can be placed.

How the background principle works

Formats may be filled completely or with margins. Publications may be text- or image-heavy. Layouts may be very simple or complex, with different column widths. All publications are based on a background principle, which is applied as follows.

[DE Copy] Flächenprinzip Sechserteilung

Dividing a format into six areas

[DE Copy] Stege und Ränder

Calculation of the white-space between areas, as well as the optional side margin.

[DE Copy] RBSG Flächenprinzip Ausnahmen

For extreme portrait and landscape formats as well as for double-sided media, the margins can be multiplied by a factor of 1.5 or 2.

To structure content clearly, the layout is divided into areas. The basis is always a division into six areas. For extreme portrait or landscape formats such as DIN Long flyers, the short side can be divided into three areas.

Note: For media with complex content (e.g. image brochure), the grid can be finer, for example with 12 columns instead of six.

The background areas are separated from each other by a small white-space. The size of the white-space and margins depends on the size of the overall format.

To determine the distance between the background areas:
Narrow side of a unit divided by 15 = distance between the background areas.

To determine the page margin:
Narrow side of a unit divided by 3 = distance to the side margin.

With double-sided print media such as brochures and magazines, the inside margin can be multiplied by a factor of 1.5 or 2, depending on the number of pages. This compensates for the gutter.

Example for DIN A4 format
Outside side margin: 12 mm
Inside side margin: 12 mm x 1.5 = 18 mm

Step-by-step calculation (example)

See here for a sample calculation for the common DIN A4 format. The background principle is always calculated in the same way.

Gestaltungsprinzip Schritt 1
Gestaltungsprinzip Schritt 2

Select a format (here: DIN A4) and use the narrow side (210 mm) as the starting point for calculating the background sizes.

Calculate the width of a unit: 210 mm: 6 is 35 mm per unit.

Note: The narrow side is ALWAYS divided by 6 to standardize white-space and margins in all formats.

1 unit: 15 = white-space
1 unit: 3 = page margin

Note: Always round up odd numbers.

Important: To avoid overly narrow margins in extreme portrait and landscape formats, the page margin should be extended 1.5 or 2 times, depending on the media format.

To determine the print space, the white-space and margins must be subtracted from the narrow side of the format.

Print space without margins: 210 - 2*12 = 186 mm

Print space without white-space: 186 - 5*3 = 171 mm

The print space is 171 mm.

The calculated print space is divided by the number of planned columns.
171 mm: 6 = 28.5 mm

The column height is calculated the same way:
297 - 2*12 - 5*3 = 258 mm 258 mm: 6 = 43 mm

Note: If you need 3 or 12 columns, adjust the number of white-spaces and divide the print space by the corresponding number of columns.

Overview of common DIN formats

Format: 148 x 210 mm
Number of columns: 6
Page margins: 9 mm
White-space width: 2 mm
Column width: 20 mm
Column height: 30.34 mm

Format: 210 x 297 mm
Number of columns: 12
Page margins: 12 mm
White-space width: 3 mm
Column width: 12.75 mm
Column height: 20 mm

Format: 297 x 420 mm
Number of columns: 12
Page margins: 17 mm
White-space width: 4 mm
Column width: 18.25 mm
Column height: 28.5 mm

Format: 420 x 594 mm
Number of columns: 12
Page margins: 24 mm
White-space width: 5 mm
Column width: 26.42 mm
Column height: 40.92 mm

Format: 105 x 148 mm
Number of columns: 6
Page margins: 6 mm
White-space width: 2 mm
Column width: 13.84 mm
Column height: 21 mm

Format: 105 x 210 mm
Number of columns: width: 6, height: 12
Page margins: 9 mm (the margin of 6 mm was multiplied by 1.5!)
White-space width: 2 mm
Column width: 12.83 mm
Column height: 14.17 mm

Flexible Handling of Background Areas

Beispiel Flächenprinzip
[DE Copy] Beispiel Flächenprinzip 3

Background principle (examples): Bleed areas and areas with page margins can be combined.

Hierarchy of print media

With a louder and more emotional design and address, you will reach a younger target group. To reach an older or more distinguished target group, choose a calmer and more fact-based approach. Define the purpose of your medium and design your publications accordingly. The choice of the target group directly impacts the design.

[DE Copy] Hierarchisierung Printmedien

Example: fact-based address (left) versus emotional address (right)


The Robert Bosch Stiftung uses Lessebo Smooth Bright paper with 1.2 times the volume for stationary and publications.

Overview of common grammages for printed matter


  • Envelopes – 300 g/m2
  • Inside pages – 150 g/m2

Leaflets – 170 g/m2

Invitations – 300 g/m2

Postcards – 300 g/m2

Letterhead – 90 g/m2

Business cards – 300 g/m2

Folders – 400 g/m2

Writing pads – 90 g/m2

Message pads – 300 g/m2

Presentation cards – 300 g/m2

Certificates – 300 g/m2

Menu cards – 300 g/m2

Place cards – 150 g/m2

Name tags – 150 g/m2

Handouts – 150 g/m2

Table signs – 150 g/m2