OK, so the lowly newsletter is not the most exciting, glamorous piece of collateral – and the title ‘Regulatory Policy Newsletter’ doesn’t evoke cutting edge design – but I secretly rather enjoyed working on the recent re-design of ICMA’s quarterly publication.

The challenges

  • Progress an existing design which had become a bit stale, whilst retaining some of the existing ‘feel’
  • Make the newsletter easier and faster to create
  • Enhance the on-screen readability of the newsletter whilst maintaining a professional look as a printed document
  • Give the newsletter a more authoritative look
  • Make the content look more engaging
  • Incorporate a new document structure
  • Sticking to a tight budget

The thought process
Discussing our initial thoughts about the project with ICMA, it became clear that they were thinking along the same lines as us, and our suggestions received a positive response. Our suggestions were:

  • Go back to the drawing board and create a new grid for the document, which is structured, but more flexible that the existing 3 column layout
  • Stronger use of colour, and the introduction of a grey to the palette
  • Slightly larger body copy, and much stronger headings
  • A simplified folio (the page number, title etc. that appears at the bottom of the page)
  • A little bit more white space (but not too much)

The design
The newsletter is an A4 portrait format, and I created an eight column grid, with a 12.5 point baseline grid.

This is what looks it like:

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class=”alignnone” title=”Grid” src=”http://resources.vgroup.com/newscast/09_08/images/main/regpol_grid.jpg” alt=”" width=”251″ height=”352″ />

We used ICMA’s corporate typeface, Helvetica, in the ‘75 Bold’ weight, for the new, stronger headings and sub-headings, and used thick and thin lines to break up the information and create texture. All the lines and typography aligns neatly to the grids, giving the newsletter a flowing, structured feel. Redesigned folio and section headers follow this convention, along with call-out boxes and styled contact information.

The main body of the newsletter is set in 2 columns, allowing a larger type size, and reducing the amount scrolling required when reading on screen.

Here’s how all that looks, applied to the grid:

We created a new punchier masthead, using the grid & setting the type carefully to fit the words together, a new look ‘In this issue’ contents box, which links to the relevant articles in the PDF version.

The Result

The design was very well received, and has gone on to heavily influence ICMA’s brand update, which we are currently working on. ICMA said that it captures perfectly how they want to be seen in the marketplace; as providers of accurate, no nonsense, up to the minute information; advocates of doing ‘the right thing’; authoritative, but a valuable conduit for debate within an industry in turmoil.


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Posted by Bryan Kidd, Senior Designer, VGroup

This entry was added on Friday, August 28th, 2009 and is filed under Case Studies, Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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