Color Defines Your Brand and Shapes Your Newsletter

 harlanwestblogphotoBy Harlan West, Design and Marketing Professional with 25 years of experience designing materials for major healthcare organizations, municipalities and large corporations.


Abstract colorful rounded squares background. Vector, EPS10Color says a lot about mood and often conveys emotion, power and strength. That is why it is so important to be decisive in your color selection and how it is used.

Failure to maintain a consistent corporate color actually acts to weaken your brand.


Indeed brand marketing requires the selection of a distinctive color scheme to help differentiate your company. A firm that seeks brand identification should be adamant in enforcing its brand standards and paying special attention to color.  There should be a distinct PMS color(s) associated with the brand. PMS refers to the Pantone® Matching System. These are ink color color call-outs which relate to a specific color swatch. Continue reading

The Importance of Having a Corporate Newsletter

harlanwestblogphotoBy Harlan West, Design and Marketing Professional with 25 years of experience designing newsletters for major corporate clients including Kaiser Permanente, Metrolink, Metro, Time Warner Cable and the Cities of Norwalk, Orange and Santa Monica.

Don’t underestimate the importance of newsletters! A regular monthly newsletter has many outstanding benefits. It is a great way to…

  • communicate with clients, employees, vendors using a very effective medium that contains information which is usually very timely and up-to-date.
  • keep the audience up-to-date on current events, news and what’s happening in your company and in the industry. Your company will not only appear contemporary but also state-of-the art.
  • reach a broad spectrum of people, especially if the publication is delivered electronically as an online publication. This saves expensive print costs. Our innovative “iMags”  with flipping-page technology, can help your company save costs while still providing a highly interactive and technologically-advanced publication. Continue reading

Charting a New Course for Your Publication

Why not add credibility to your publication with some great visuals?  Indeed, charts and graphs offer great ways to increase the effectiveness of your publications. Through the use of data, charts and graphs support the arguments or positions that you are advancing. These graphic enhancements are commonly used in corporate annual reports for the financial section or to illustrate services, accomplishments or goals.

Infographics are graphical representations that are used to make complex data easy to understand. The idea here is to make the data user-friendly by distilling it down though the use of simple graphical symbols rather than lengthy technical texts.

Here are four ways to make effective charts and graphs:

1) Build elegant charts and graphs. Go beyond the usual.  Add depth, color and shape to your charts and use colors consistent with the rest of your design.  The three samples below shows a very cleanly designed chart that we created for the State of Commute Report for the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.  We created nearly 150 charts and tables for this lengthy report.  All these graphics had the same font, same color scheme and same dimensions.  This definitely makes for a more harmonious design and hence a successful corporate communication. Continue reading

Make Your Newsletter Soar to New Heights

Have you ever tried adding architecture to your newsletter? Architectural elements such as columns, archways, gables, pedestals and vaults, can be great additions to any publication.

We created three samples of newsletters that use architecture for graphical treatments.

In the first sample below, we combined renderings of two downtown skyscrapers with actual photos.


In the second example below, we used closeups of the structural beams together with a transparent boxes to create a more dramatic eye-catching effect.


In the final sample, we used our type treatment as a graphic shape for our our skyline.  This is a special effect, whereby, a photo takes on and fills the shape of a type treatment, otherwise known as a mask.


This approach works well for newsletters about architecture, interior design, conventions, tourism, corporate leasing, corporate real estate, travel, city living, construction, and business news.  Sleek clean lines and dramatic curves can make for an elegant publication.  Your clients will love it.  Even if the newsletter does not involve real estate or construction, these angled lines, perspective views and window panes can be screened back as visual enhancements.  Indeed these elements can help to promote an image of stability, strength and resiliency and are great graphics to use when creating publications for stockholders.

Go ahead build your newsletter with buildings! What a great way to enrich your corporate newsletter.

To find out more about how we can help create an effective newsletter, e-publication, or invitation for your firm or organization, contact HWDS at

A Few Shades of Grey: Adding Graphical Portraits to a Publication

boomer-living-1 Creating an effective corporate communication involves lots of creative experimentation to make your publication fresh and inviting. The graphics play an important part in making the publication visually intriguing. Adding special visual effects can make the publication more exciting to read and to follow.

We developed a special effect that involves converting portraiture to just a few shades of grey or gradations of one or two colors. It get away from the standard photo treatment and takes your publication one step further into the creative realm.  But it needs to be the right audience for a slightly more creative approach.

We used close-up portraits, especially of people with lots of character lines or distinctive features. This effect works great for newsletters about people, healthcare, living styles, baby boomers, seniors, authors, artists, and performers, to name a few.  It also works great for biographies.

Pictured above and below are some samples of newsletters using this effect.


To find out more about how we can help create an effective newsletter, e-publication, or invitation for your firm or organization, contact HWDS at

A Silhouette Can Shape Your Newsletter

A silhouette is a single color image that is featureless in the center but which has the outline of a person, place or thing being depicted. Indeed, the dark silhouette of a building in a city skyline can stand out boldly against the early morning sunrise or afternoon sunset.

Silhouettes used in publications make great elements for wrapping text around.  We add color and texture to give these graphical elements extra character and to go one-step beyond being clip-art. Here’s some examples of effective newsletter designs that use silhouetted images.

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Here’s some examples of silhouettes that we have used in our client projects.

The first is a county bikeways map we designed and printed for the Ventura County Transportation Commission (VCTC). HWDS created these silhouetted illustrations of cyclists and landmarks for the Ventura County Bikeways Map. The distinctive landmarks can be seen throughout the county while riding on the bike paths. This map was printed using a series of fluorescent inks.



The second is a promotion for the Library Foundation of Los Angeles. HWDS created the illustrations and layouts of newspaper ads, brochures, posters, banners and premium items as part of a campaign to promote teen filmmaking and reading through the Los Angeles Library.  In this case, we created silhouetted illustrations but then went a step further and added back in some minimal elements to help provide definition and to add depth.


So go ahead and shape up!  You’ll be glad you did. After all, silhouettes can draw the reader’s eye to your publication and can shape up a newsletter or other publication, either online or for print.


To find out more about how we can help create an effective newsletter, e-publication, or invitation for your firm or organization, contact HWDS at