The Definition and Location of the 'Deck' in Page Layout

Newspaper headlines in a row

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The deck is a newspaper term for a short article summary that accompanies the headline of an article. The deck is also known as "deck copy," "bank" or "dek."

Traditional Decks

Often seen in newsletters and magazines, the deck is one or more lines of text found between the headline and the body of the article. The deck elaborates or expands on the headline and topic of the accompanying text. Decks are set in a typeface that is sized somewhere between the headline and body text to provide contrast.

Writing a deck is a skill in itself. The intent is to provide enough information to tantalize the reader to read the entire article, without giving away too much information. It is an elaboration on the title and serves much the same purpose as the title—to convince the reader to read the article.

One key aspect of print design is providing visual signposts or visual cues that let readers know where they are and where they are going. Signposting breaks up text and images into readable, easy-to-follow blocks or panels of information. A deck is a form of visual signpost that helps a reader assess an article before committing to reading the whole thing.

The Deck Online

Decks aren't relegated solely to the world of print publications. Online, they frequently appear—under the headline—to give readers a gist of the content, even if they don't click through to read the whole article.

On the web, a deck still summarizes the article but it also may incorporate SEO and indicate whether the article is a review, Q&A, analysis or other types of articles. It is concise, uses active language and colorful verbs, and foreshadows the text without giving away critical details.

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