Institute of Commercial Management | Qualification Subject

Sub-editing & Design

ICM Professional Diploma Unit

Traditional approaches

  • The development of newspapers and the role of the designer and sub-editor
  • Importance of design and page layout – and the main stages of development

The Digital Revolution

  • Phase 1 – the arrival of computers in newspapers – the non-manual typewriter era
  • Phase 2 – the pagination era
  • The main players in the digital revolution – Aldus Pagemaker, Quark Xpress, InDesign – and their main features, foibles and failures

Editorial Production

  • The structure of the newsroom
  • The traditional roles – copytaster and sub editor
  • Core skills for the sub-editor

Text and Text Editing

  • Basic parts of speech – referring back to English for journalists unit – essential sub-editing
  • Sticking to the facts
  • producing effective copy

Publication Style

  • Defining audiences and audience needs
  • Usage
  • Paper
  • Colour
  • Page structure
  • House styles
  • Typefaces
  • Graphics

Design and Typography

  • Typefaces
  • Fonts and font styles
  • Layout variations, including justification and hyphenation
  • Spacing and shaping
  • Column widths
  • Kerning
  • Headlines
  • Cross heads
  • Sidebars and textboxes

Dealing with pictures and other graphic materials

  • Photos and photo sources
  • Cropping and sizing
  • Other visual elements – graphics, diagrams cartoons etc
  • Using visuals to simplify complex detail
  • Commercial software packages
  • Copyright

Newspaper Design

  • Page layout
  • Marking up
  • Editing symbols
  • Story counts
  • Matching news values to available content

Magazine Design

  • Differences between magazines and newspapers
  • Size and scale
  • Front covers
  • Interior layout
  • Headings as display
  • Photos and other graphic illustrations
  • Running and shaping text

Editing Text for the Web

  • Importance of text online
  • Headlines online
  • Writing online
  • Usability

Designing for the Web

  • Modem faces
  • Typefaces
  • Easing navigation
  • Designing for the screen
  • Designing pages for speed not appearance

Example Candidate Response Booklet

Example Candidate Response (ECR) Booklets are a source of crucial information for Centres and Candidates as they use real candidate responses. We ask Senior Examiners to comment on five or more responses in terms of why the mark was awarded with commentary about how to improve the answer (if necessary).

Recommended Reading

Main Text:

Quinn, Stephen (2002) Digital Sub-Editing and Design (Focal Press)

Frost, Chris (2003) Designing for Newspapers and Magazines (Routledge)

Indicative Text:

Alternative Text and Further Reading:

McLoughlin, Linda (2000) The Language of Magazines (Routledge)

Kipfer, Barbara Ann – editor ( 3rd Edition 2005) Roget’s 21st Century Thesaurus (Dell)

Recommended Websites:

Jakob NielsenUsability –

American Newspaper Publishing -

Newspaper Association of America -