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

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.

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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 hwdesign@west.net.

A Great Masthead Can Make All the Difference

Let’s face it; a masthead is the first thing we see when we pick up a newsletter.  It generally tells, who, what and when.  It’s like taping a sign to your forehead and shouting, “look at me.”  A great masthead can help determine whether a publication will be successful.

An interesting masthead can make or break a newsletter.  It can get people to read further and it puts a company’s “best foot” forward.  It is often the first thing that people see in terms of a company’s image on page.  So it better be good.

Here’s some samples of mastheads that HWDS has helped design for our clients.

MTINewsbytes CommuterConnections1

HarborToHillHRESummer MMatters NorwalkTransitNewsmasthead OrangePealApril2013masthead

KPBPReflections

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An effective masthead requires six main traits.  1) it should be memorable; 2) it should show strength; 3) it should convey a positive image; 4) it should embody a distinct elegance in design; 5) it should contain a catchy name and 6) it should contain the company’s name and/or logo. Yes, it is a tall order to cram all this into 2 or 3 inches of vertical space.

A masthead should be branded.  It needs to compliment other company publications and be consistent with the approved the brand.  A masthead should also be easily discernible as representing the topic it stands for. For example, a railroad newsletter should have a masthead which quickly tells the reader that it is a publication about trains.

Choosing the right typeface can make a world of difference. We work closely with the client to select a typeface that is strong, powerful and aesthetically pleasing and yet works with the topic.  Selecting the most appropriate typestyle for the topic can set the tone for the entire publication.  We often go through many iterations of a masthead before a final design is approved.

The color of the masthead can say a great deal about who you are as a company. Certain colors can show strength.  Other colors convey warmth or personalization.  We work with the client to develop the most effective color combination.  Sometimes, the masthead colors change from month to month. This provides freshness and variety and makes it easy for the reader to see that the issue is “new.”

Images included in a masthead can also define your company. We select images which best represent a company’s mission or vision for the future. The images should be positive and forward-looking and should represent the them of the newsletter.

Having the right graphic design for the masthead is critical.  So give your newsletter a makeover.  Start with the masthead and work down. To find out more about how we can help create an effective masthead for a newsletter or e-publication for your firm or organization, contact HWDS at hwdesign@west.net.

Go ahead and top-off your newsletter with the right message.  It’s like icing on a cake.

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Please note: All projects displayed on this blog are meant for educational and instructional rather than promotional purposes. We respect our clients’ brand integrity.

Pixels Made Perfect

Many of our readers sent us e-mails giving us a thumbs-up on our last blog post, Jumping Off the Edge. As a result, we have decided to create another blog post about unusual border treatments. This time, we used pixels as our special effect.

A pixelated border treatment is a great special effect for newsletters on communication, technology, the Web, and electronics. It can also be used for other topics such as automobiles, sports, transportation and corporate communications. Used in the right combination, these graphics can help create successful corporate communications.  Take a look at our masthead. It employs a pixel treatment.

The newsletter below uses a unique pixelated reverse fill. Digital-Newsletter

Here’s some examples of different pixelated border effects.

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Ipadandiphonepsd

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cardigitized face-digitzedTo find out more about how we can help create an interesting edge effect for your company’s newsletter, collateral or e-publication, contact HWDS at hwdesign@west.net.

After all, we live in a digital world.  Why not make your newsletter pixel perfect?

On the Lighter Side—Pets as Mascots

On-the-LigherSide

Pets can lighten up an employee newsletter.

Let’s try something new…Try drawing a cartoon character from your pet. It’s easy—just draw a quick sketch, add some bright color, exaggerate a feature, and add motion or gesture. You don’t have to be an animator to try this.

Have fun animating your dog, cat, pet turtle, hamster or pot belly pig. The character you create can be the new mascot for your animation project or a way to add a character to otherwise drab content. Then bring them to life with some gestures, thoughts and words. Add speech and thought bubbles to allow the animal to comment on the article or topic. Who knows? Your readers may even want to adopt your animated character as the new company mascot.

Then add the character to your corporate communication for a lighter feel. Of course, don’t try this on an annual report or a letter to the Board of Directors. An employee newsletter might be a great place to start.

In the sample above, I created these characters from two of my former dogs, Shoogie and Cotton, an akita-chow mix and a pure breed samoyad.

Lighten up and so will your audience!

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If you’d like to talk about an animated character illustration for a newsletter, poster, website or other communication, please drop an e-mail to hwdesign@west.net.