Marketing Materials are More Effective When you “Paint” with Your Content

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

This week I met an interesting landscape designer who creates drought-tolerant gardens with a wilder more natural feeling. While we were discussing a new garden at my home, she made a very interesting point. She arranges plants or as she says, “I paint with plants.”  In short, she creates a visual masterpiece by painting with the subject matter.

With respect to corporate communications, we basically paint with a non-paint medium. As designers, we paint with puzzles and pieces and patterns. You can try this by finding a natural resource that is related to the theme of your product or service and then “painting” or designing with it to give a lush feel to your publication.

PAINTING WITH PATTERNSPatternsSMALLER

Here’s some elements that provide great design enhancements:

 

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Flying Off the Web Press with 50,000 Quantity

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

Roll’n, Roll’n Off the Presses We Go

It’s exciting to watch a publication being printed on the web press. Paper is fed from a continuous 2,000 lb. spindle of paper that is fed through what seem like two stories of mechanical gingerbread parts. Around and around it goes, till the publication is magically printed two-sided, folded and then spit out the other end at a rate of 10 pieces per second. In no time, 50,000 or even 100,000 copies are ready to be bound, trimmed, labeled sorted and bundled for distribution or mailing. I am reminded of a  tour that I attended at the Chicago Sun Times while I was in middle school, many a moon ago.

With the web press, the quality is not the same as most sheet-fed presses. Indeed, the web press offers great cost savings for newspapers, news magazines, recreation guides and direct mailers with large print runs. Yet, it is important to allow for some issues such as offsetting, where the ink, since it may not fully dry before folding, actually creates a slight impression onto another page. Another disadvantage is that the Web press can also slightly crease and crinkle pages during the very quick folding process. Nonetheless, these are small trade-offs for the benefits in cost-savings, especially for a quantity of more than 50,000 pieces.

Collage-of-press

1) A publication being printed on the high-speed web press. 2) Pallets of publications are shrink-wrapped for delivery.  3) A recreation guide coming off the press folded and ready for binding with the cover.  4) Huge rolls of paper for the web press. 5) A roll of paper on the web press. 6) The web press machine nearly fills an entire warehouse.

Shoot’n out the press we go.  It’s a – high-speed world!

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If your company needs a recreation guide, a news magazine or a large-run multi-page publication, please contact HWDS at hwdesign@west.netWe make beautiful things happen. To find out more please visit westdesign.com

Harlan West is the author of successfulcorporatecommunications.com and has been working as a creative director and design professional for more than 25 years and has designed and art directed hundred of publications for both print and online purposes.

Refreshing Your Newsletter is Like Getting a Car Wash

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

This may sound crazy, but a simple newsletter refresh can make you feel like you do when you get a car wash.  Your newly-washed car is all shiny and smelling nice and you feel like you just bought a new car.

1) Keep it smelling fresh.  Artwork should not look stale.  People can easily “sniff” out a autolavaggiocompany or organization that has not kept up with the times. Stale artwork quickly makes your company look dated and unsophisticated. That’ why it’s  to keep the information on your company website current and publish regular monthly issues of a newsletter.

2) Keep it clean.  The design should b e clean and uncluttered.  Don’t muddy it up with clutter, clip art or too much text. Proper use of white small and a minimalist approach to the design will allow you to clean up an old newsletter.

3)  Make it easy to create.  Do not publish a newsletter unless you have a plan.  This includes having a design template, photo and graphics library, selected paper stock, a contracted print vendor, an up-to-date distribution list—both for emailing and mailing. These elements should be dealt with before you delve into the world of publishing. Think ahead. Keep a list of ideas for future articles and even have content written ahead of time for quick drop-ins. This will make the job of developing a newsletter much easier.

4) Do it cost-effectively and “on the cheap.” The overhaul does not need to be elaborate, but it should be enough that people notice.  You can use low-cost digital printing, especially if you need a short-run.  Solicit advertisers to run ads in the newsletter to help decrease the cost. If you still don’t have it in the budget, try an online digital solution such as an e-newsletter or interactive iMag publication.

5)  Shine up the details, like detailing your car. It’s in the details.  Don’t overlook the simplest things such as proofreading, page numbers, photo quality, proper folding and the inclusion of a call-to-action with the company’s phone number and website.

Go ahead and make it sparkle.  You’ll have a brand spanking new look for your newsletter.  What are you waiting for?

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If your company needs a newsletter redesign, e-publication, or promotion, please contact HWDS at hwdesign@west.netWe make beautiful things happen. To find out more please visit westdesign.com

Harlan West is the author of successfulcorporatecommunications.com and has been working as a creative director and design professional for more than 25 years and has designed and art directed hundred of publications for both print and online purposes.

Why Doctor Groups and Healthcare Professionals Need Newsletters

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

Have you ever gone into a doctor’s office for a scheduled appointment only to be forced to wait an hour or more?  Yes, we all have had this unfortunate experience. Doctors seem to think that their time is more Doctor's-officephotovaluable than the average person’s. True, emergencies do come up and some patients take much longer to examine and diagnose than others.

Now, we all know how doctors tend to fill their waiting rooms with stacks of dated magazines that often contain technical content or  boring articles about such unexciting topics as a golf stroke. C’mon, let’s get with the times!

In this world of constantly evolving healthcare procedures,  policies and regulations, doctors, more than ever, need to better communicate with their patients.

Below is a sample newsletter design we created to be used in a doctor’s office waiting room.

Making-Your-Life-Healthier-NewsletterThere are several important reasons why a newsletter can be beneficial to a physician or a medical group:

1) As mentioned above, it’s a great way to connect with patients and staff. These new letters are a great way to introduce new associate doctors, office staff or clinicians to the patient.

2) Newsletters placed in the waiting room will most likely have a very high readership rate. Similar to onboard rail newsletters that I discuss in previous posts, physician newsletters can be strategically placed in the waiting room to take advantage of a captive audience. Indeed, patients are sitting waiting and watching the clock with nothing to do. They are just trying to l time until they are called to come back into the examination room. They are very likely to pick up any attractive and interesting reading material in front of them. Try a more “home-baked” yet at the same time professional approach to the newsletter.  With such an approach, patients may feel more relaxed.

3) Newsletters can help take away some of the depersonalization of today’s healthcare. Too often we feel like just a number in a heard of cattle. This is especially true where doctors groups, medical groups or HMOs are involved. Stories about doctors, their staff, new services, billing policies, new procedures or medical innovations can help put patient’s fears at ease. Articles about patient success stories can also increase the comfort level.  But, be careful not to divulge patient information without their prior consent.  Due to privacy concerns, it is essential to leave out names and actual photos.

4)  Newsletters can also be a great medium for building awareness on the importance of fitness, exercise and healthy eating.  Try including stretching exercises that can be done at home or in the office.  Generic photos of active “boomers” living a healthy lifestyle are great additions to help perk up the newsletter. With a regular newsletter, healthcare practitioners can more easily “preach” to their patients about such hard-to-discuss topics as weight loss, proper hygiene, cancers and sexually transmitted diseases.

5) A regular monthly newsletter can allow a doctor to show a more compassionate side even if he or she does not have a great “bedside manner.”  Articles about the  physician and how he or she is helping patients receive the best care can go along way to bridging this gap. In other words, a physician newsletter can show a new side of the doctor, even, if in person, he is not a very compassionate individual.

6) Providing a newsletter keeps the dialogue focused on the patient rather than just the doctor. Patient-centered is the essential to succeeding in today’s healthcare maze. Knowing as much as possible about the patient will allow doctors to share valuable information can really add to the success of the care experience and treatment. In a newsletter, patients can find valuable resources and web links to the doctor’s website, other practitioners, pharmacies and such preventative care as flu vaccines, nutritional guidelines and fitness regimens. Newsletters are also a way that patients can learn about other ways to stay connected with the doctor’s office.  Other useful resources including e-mail contacts, online e-newsletters, the office website and social media could be easily included in the regular newsletter

A physician newsletter can make for a healthy patient doctor care experience!

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If your company needs an innovative physician, healthcare, fitness or nutritional newsletter, e-publication, or promotion, please contact HWDS at hwdesign@west.netWe make beautiful things happen. To find out more please visit westdesign.com

Harlan West is the author of successfulcorporatecommunications.com and has been working as a creative director and design professional for more than 25 years and has designed and art directed hundred of publications for both print and online purposes.

The Value of Transit Industry Newsletters

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


Let’s get moving!

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Let’s face it, transit projects can fuel an economic engine by bringing new jobs, ameniites, business and impetus to otherwise depressed areas. Transit newsletters are a great forums for discussing the great public benefits of new transit projects. Indeed, transit newsletters serve many valuable purposes and help transit agencies, bus companies and rail authorities to:

1) connect with riders. On buses and trains, there’s a captive audience with little more to do than to look out the window or to send texts or emails. Onboard newsletters tend to have a very high readership rate. For 17 years, we designed Metrolink Matters, the onboard passenger rail newsletter for the Southern California Regional Rail Authority. It has a very high readership rate, largely due to the fact that passengers like to read what is in front of them. It’s similar to reading the magazine in the seat pocket of the airliner.

2) keep riders informed. This is a great way to keep passengers up on the latest developments which may include updates to passenger rules, bus fares, safety standards, park and ride lots, transit schedules, as well as upcoming events along the lines.

3) inform employees. They, like riders, need to be up on what’s “shake’n.” New regulations, laws, company policies, and fare restructures are great tidbits of information to include in a newsletter.

4) build morale. Featuring articles on exemplary employees can be quite a morale builder. Try including photos of staff at company events or busy at work. This sends a positive ripple effect through the entire company.

5) provide important information on connecting transit.  This might include new construction, line extensions, fare restructuring and transfers. Newsletters are a great way to connect with riders and to allow them to connect along the line with other modes of transportation as well as other service providers.

6) offer incentives. Special promotions such as coupons, contests, and advertisements can be easily publicized through a transit newsletter. Advertisers can also help subsidize the cost of the newsletter.

7) provide commute options. Transit newsletters are a wonderful way to disseminate information about various rideshare modes and alternatives to typical drive-alone commuters. Check out CommuteSmart News, a monthly online e-newsletter which we have been designing since 2005.

Get onboard and ride along with a transit newsletter!

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If your company needs an innovative transit newsletter, e-publication, or promotion, please contact HWDS at hwdesign@west.netWe make beautiful things happen. To find out more please visit westdesign.com

Harlan West is the author of successfulcorporatecommunications.com and has been working as a creative director and design professional for more than 25 years and has designed and art directed hundred of publications for both print and online purposes

50 Reasons to Follow the Successful Corporate Communications Blog

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

I am proud to commemorate the publication of 50 blog posts! Celebrate with us by continuing to read our blog and encouraging your friends and colleagues to subscribe as well.

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Since we just completed our 50th blog post, here’s 50 fabulous reasons to keep reading and rereading:

  1. Take advantage of valuable design tips for your newsletter.
  2. Use color to make a more effective publication.
  3. Learn how to create effective mastheads.
  4. Escape the pitfalls of staff meetings.
  5. Learn ways to deal more effectively with your clients.
  6. Discover how to create more effective bilingual publications.
  7. Find valuable tips on advertising.
  8. Learn about effective branding.
  9. Gain valuable information about e-publications.
  10. Increase your knowledge of printing techniques.
  11. Increase your appreciation of elegant paper stocks.
  12. Learn how to create effective event promotions.
  13. Discover ways to include effective infographics, charts and diagrams in your publications.
  14. Learn about ways to find employment as a skilled graphic designer.
  15. Unearth new ways to promote healthcare events.
  16. Invent new ways to illustrate your newsletter with the use of graphical icons.
  17. Find ways to develop an effective logo for your company.
  18. Learn about ways to add a mascot or cartoon character to your newsletter or publication.
  19. Differentiate your company’s product and service from the competition.
  20. Produce beautiful maps that provide more than just directions.
  21. Explore new ways to be more responsive to your clients.
  22. Recognize how to find a quality print vendor.
  23. Realize the beauty that nature can add to a publication.
  24. Originate the use of iMags for your company’s publications.
  25. Learn how to save $1,000’s on publication costs.
  26. Conceive of new ways to use patterns in your publications.
  27. Innovate the use of online publications in your company’s publication requirements.
  28. Discover ways to add navigational elements to a newsletter.
  29. Lean how to use photos for maximum impact.
  30. Make the best use of typestyles to increase the legibility of a publication.
  31. Find new ways to maintain quality control.
  32. Learn how outsourcing the design of your publications can save the company money and can increase the return on investment (ROI).
  33. Find out why it is important to use a marketing firm that specializes in your industry sector.
  34. Learn what makes your client “tick.”
  35. Discover the importance of having a corporate newsletter.
  36. Explore new reasons why corporations should outsource their marketing efforts.
  37. Unearth the ultimate checklist for developing successful marketing materials.
  38. Invent new ways to harness the power of the word of mouth.
  39. Explore how color defines your brand and shapes your newsletter.
  40. Find out how silhouetted graphics can shape your newsletter.
  41. Invent beautiful patterns and graphics through the use of shadows.
  42. Learn how metallic pins can make great promotional items or giveaways to honor anniversaries, celebrations, or facility openings.
  43. Discover how to use fruits and vegetable shapes to craft an unusual masthead or headline.
  44. Learn how to create healthy designs for healthcare marketing.
  45. Pioneer new ways to include graphical portraiture in your publication.
  46. Benefit from testimonials and how they can create great “buzz.”
  47. Discover how to make your newsletter soar to new heights by adding architectural elements.
  48. Find out how to add edgy border treatments that will make your articles jump off the page.
  49. Recognize the importance of type and how it impacts the look, feel and legibility of the publication.
  50. Discover ways to “tune-up” your marketing without ever getting your hands dirty.

These topics and more can be found on our blog.

Happy reading!  But remember to ask yourself the following question: “Why just be a reader when you could also be a leader?”

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If your company needs an innovative newsletter, e-publication, meeting presentation or  advice on communicating, please contact HWDS at hwdesign@west.netWe make beautiful things happen. To find out more please visit westdesign.com.

Harlan West is the author of successfulcorporatecommunications.com and has been working as a creative director and design professional for more than 25 years and has designed and art directed hundreds of publications for both print and online purposes.

How Our Innovative iMags Can Save Your Company Thousands

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

We have developed a service whereby we convert your newsletter into an interactive, flipping page online publication. The ultimate result are iMags,  Below, we have included some demo videos that how iMags work.

iMags are dynamic publications which can save your company thousand of dollars in print, mailing, fulfillment and distribution costs. Here’s how:

Skip the printer.
Fire your printer and save a forest. Let’s face it the average 4-color newsletter, 1,000 copies, 4 pages, 8.5 ×11″ can cost $1,000 – $1,300.

Skip the post office.
Stamp out costly postage charges.  You could be paying $460 to mail 1,000 pieces at a 1st class rate. A bulk rate permit might save 20-30% but why not save the carrier pigeon?

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