Laurie Pringle is a woman on a mission. Recently she was hired as Director of Development at Reach for the Rainbow and she has come aboard committed to making a difference within the organization and to their donors. And she asked me to help design their newsletter.
We started by establishing a word count so my colleague Sonya MacDonald (one of the top fundraising writers in Canada) could start to work on the copy. A word count is helpful to the writer and editor as it tells them how much copy they can fit on one page. I usually work with a 50/50 ratio. No more than half the page should be filled with copy, the other half is reserved for images, pull quotes and white space. Having any more copy than that will make the piece look very copy heavy – unless that’s what you are going for of course.
We settled on calling the newsletter: Inside the Rainbow. We felt that the newsletter would be giving donors a look at the going-ons and inside scoop on how donations are being used and making a difference.
I usually begin the design process by setting up my grid which helps to ensure that any element I have on the page will line up with any other element.
In the case of “Inside the Rainbow” I went with a seven column grid. I tend to use an uneven number because although using a even number will always allow me to keep things balanced, an uneven number means a little more design work to balance off elements – but the result is a visually interesting piece. Notice how everything plays off the grid.
Next comes the masthead. The masthead, for me, sets the tone of the piece and therefore I always work on it first. I wanted to it to have some visual impact, be bold and a little fun too. I also wanted to avoid over-doing the whole rainbow thing.
The font I selected is called Bau. Bau is a nice selection because of it’s tiny imperfections and little kicks, like in the “a”.
I tracked in in very tight (decreased the amount of space between each letter) so each character melted into one other – now they belonged and supported each other.
For the body copy I wanted to stay with a typeface that would be appropriate to the audience and selected Adobe Garamond, one of my favourites for body copy.
Once I have the copy typeset and masthead in place, I can start to design by adding images, colours and little touches that bring a newsletter to life.
As I was finishing the first draft I still felt it was missing something – an extra element of child-like fun. As I was preparing dinner the one evening I looked over at my daughters as they happily made a massive mess with paint and their hands. I think I knew what I wanted to add.
What a great way to end each article.
Laurie was a great client to work for and we both look forward to rolling up our sleeves as we get to work on the next project.
“Recently John designed a newsletter for Reach for the Rainbow and the entire organization is overjoyed with the look, feel and effect. With precious little guidance from our overburdened team, John designed a bright, crisp, enticing and effective newsletter that we are proud to send to our constituents. John’s design clearly portrays our organizations’ values with simple, but impactful elegance.
I look forward to enlisting John’s expertise on many future projects. The children and youth who rely upon Reach for the Rainbow’s services will enjoy a happier holiday season as a result of his excellent work.” – Laurie Pringle