Newsletter Analysis

A simple document, this newsletter provides numerous opportunities to refine and redesign.

A simple document, this newsletter provides numerous opportunities to refine and redesign.

Project one of the semester begins.

For my Publication Design 2200 course, we’re starting the year off with an analysis and redesign of a local organization newsletter. I chose a  local heritage society responsible for the conservation of numerous historical sites. Although I’m already handing the analysis in, I’ll place a variation of it below with a screenshot of the first page of the current newsletter. (Sorry– I pixelate out information indicating locations)

With very little government funding and numerous developments encroaching upon historic land, the Society has a need to increase awareness of their cause and inform their members of current events.  Although an official newsletter does exist, its publication is sporadic. There are only three issues in existence, with one in May 2013, another in September 2013, and the third in October 2013. The newsletter would benefit first and foremost from consistent distribution among the Society’s members.

Overall, the design could benefit from refinement and changes. The current layout is extremely boxy, as though simply typed up on Microsoft Word. Besides the first and last pages, which at least break the text into two columns, all of the pages contain wide, single columns of text with no grid. The margins are very small, and cause the folios to feel tight and cramped. Photos are simply inserted haphazardly, and there are no photos on the first or last pages to entice readers to open the document or investigate the upcoming events. This provides an opportunity to incorporate a strong vertical and horizontal grid, in order to break up the text and increase legibility and interest, as well as to increase the amount of photography.

The photos themselves are not terrible, but they could improve as well. For the majority, they document the Society’s events and award ceremonies, and show old photos of the town that are relevant to topics within the newsletter.  While this is necessary, more photos of the sites themselves could be incorporated in order to strengthen awareness of the current work in progress as well as to establish the flavor of the town and the identity of the Society.

In terms of branding within the publication, there could also be some improvements.  There is a pixelated logo on the first page, which could be updated. A brown-peach-tan coloured box and a teal rectangle are found on the first and last pages. However, more could be done to use colour for the hierarchy and branding of the publication in a more refined and charming way. The newsletter ought to reflect the charm and historic value of the town as much as possible.

The typefaces used throughout the newsletter are fairly consistent, although there is a lot of potential to strengthen the typography. There is an extended Didot typeface for the headers, which feels very angular for the topic, with a serif font for the body copy. The typeface size does appear to be somewhat large; however, when considering that there are many senior members within the Society, it is understandable.  In terms of typesetting, many rivers appear within the paragraphs, which are center justified, along with the occasional widow. I would suggest that the kerning and the tracking ought to be greatly adjusted. The leading is also inconsistent in a few areas.

As a whole, the newsletter could benefit from some well thought-out redesign choices.  The Society does a lot of positive work in the area, and it would be wise to have a newsletter that reflected their dedication and hard work. From the implementation of a grid, to the type and photos found throughout, there is a real opportunity to create a more legible and appealing newsletter document for members of this heritage society.

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