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

Make Your Newsletter Soar to New Heights

Have you ever tried adding architecture to your newsletter? Architectural elements such as columns, archways, gables, pedestals and vaults, can be great additions to any publication.

We created three samples of newsletters that use architecture for graphical treatments.

In the first sample below, we combined renderings of two downtown skyscrapers with actual photos.


In the second example below, we used closeups of the structural beams together with a transparent boxes to create a more dramatic eye-catching effect.


In the final sample, we used our type treatment as a graphic shape for our our skyline.  This is a special effect, whereby, a photo takes on and fills the shape of a type treatment, otherwise known as a mask.


This approach works well for newsletters about architecture, interior design, conventions, tourism, corporate leasing, corporate real estate, travel, city living, construction, and business news.  Sleek clean lines and dramatic curves can make for an elegant publication.  Your clients will love it.  Even if the newsletter does not involve real estate or construction, these angled lines, perspective views and window panes can be screened back as visual enhancements.  Indeed these elements can help to promote an image of stability, strength and resiliency and are great graphics to use when creating publications for stockholders.

Go ahead build your newsletter with buildings! What a great way to enrich your corporate newsletter.

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

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.


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

A Silhouette Can Shape Your Newsletter

A silhouette is a single color image that is featureless in the center but which has the outline of a person, place or thing being depicted. Indeed, the dark silhouette of a building in a city skyline can stand out boldly against the early morning sunrise or afternoon sunset.

Silhouettes used in publications make great elements for wrapping text around.  We add color and texture to give these graphical elements extra character and to go one-step beyond being clip-art. Here’s some examples of effective newsletter designs that use silhouetted images.

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Here’s some examples of silhouettes that we have used in our client projects.

The first is a county bikeways map we designed and printed for the Ventura County Transportation Commission (VCTC). HWDS created these silhouetted illustrations of cyclists and landmarks for the Ventura County Bikeways Map. The distinctive landmarks can be seen throughout the county while riding on the bike paths. This map was printed using a series of fluorescent inks.



The second is a promotion for the Library Foundation of Los Angeles. HWDS created the illustrations and layouts of newspaper ads, brochures, posters, banners and premium items as part of a campaign to promote teen filmmaking and reading through the Los Angeles Library.  In this case, we created silhouetted illustrations but then went a step further and added back in some minimal elements to help provide definition and to add depth.


So go ahead and shape up!  You’ll be glad you did. After all, silhouettes can draw the reader’s eye to your publication and can shape up a newsletter or other publication, either online or for print.


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

Have You Seen Your Shadow Lately?

Shadows make beautiful patterns and graphics.  Shadows have truly interesting shapes and make great silhouettes for wrapping text around and can really spice up the graphic design of a newsletter, collateral or event promotion. Just head outside on a sunny day and snap away.

Here’s three examples of shadows that we used to create interesting patterns for newsletters, either online or for print. In all cases, we colorized the images and did some quick manipulations using our image-editing software.

Jumpstart-your-summer1) Flower treatment—these are the shadows of the  Lily of the Nile, summer flowering perennials. This is a great effect for newsletters or publications dealing with gardening, planting, spring and summer and outdoor living.

Out-in-the-Wild2) The Scary animal—this is actually the shadow of my Alaskan Husky on his daily walk.  Pretty scary huh? I can see why a groundhog may be scared of his shadow but this one takes the cake.  This is a great effect for newsletters or publications dealing with Halloween, scary movies, wolves or wild dogs or life in the wild.


3) Palm Trees blowing in the wind—These are shadows created from the leaves of the palm tree. This is a great effect for newsletters or publications dealing with recreation, the outdoors, summer fun, travel or leisure.

OriginalsAbove you will see the original photos that we used in our designs.

Come out from the shadows and see how beautiful life can be!  Add some shadows to your newsletter, e-publication or invitation.

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

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.

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HarborToHillHRESummer MMatters NorwalkTransitNewsmasthead OrangePealApril2013masthead



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

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


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

Head to the Salad Bar

Well, it’s time to make headlines that are not only good for your newsletter but are also good for your health!

Indeed, we had lots of delicious fun with the headline below and all we had to do is to take a trip to the salad bar. We combined various fruits and vegetables and created a headline or a masthead that really speaks to the topic. By using fruit and veggies, we not only grabbed your attention but we instantly conveyed to readers that this is a publication about healthy eating.


We looked for shapes and colors that help define letters in the headline. Finding sahpes that work can involve some experimentation. Achieving the right mix will result in a successful design for your newsletter, magazine or e-publication.

These headlines and masthead treatments are great for newsletters on gardening, fitness, health, grocery shopping, dining, healthy eating, cooking, active lifestyles, foodies and agriculture.

To find out more about how we can help create an effective type treatment or masthead for a newsletter or e-publication for your firm or organization, contact HWDS at

Go ahead and grow healthy headlines!  These will help sprout new successful corporate communications.

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.





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

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

Jumping Off the Edge

At HWDS, we often like to break out of the box. Recently, we have been adding unique edge treatments to photos.  These border effects can spice up any publication. Our goal is always to remain fresh, especially when creating monthly newsletters.

Too often we see photos with the standard rectangular or square shape.  As a result, we started jumping beyond the edge and adding an unusual graphical element as a border.

Here’s some examples of special effects that we created for the edges of photos.

1) The Curve Effect.  Here a curved band of color defines the bottom edge of the photo.  This is a great technique for newsletters on tropical vacations, beaches or summer fun.


2) The Bubble Effect. These bubble shapes define the edge of photos.  This is a great technique for newsletters or publications on water issues.


3) The Star Effect.  These star shapes create an interesting edge for any photo.  Stars are wonderful elements to use for newsletters or articles that require a celebratory theme.


4) The Type Effect. Here, the type is filled with the image and is actually an extension of the scene.  This is a great technique for newsletters on travel, tourism or special events.


For the newsletter below, we used the bubble effect. This effect works well when the newsletter has lots of white space.  A fun type treatment that works well with the waves in the water was also used for this design.

We believe that it is best not to mix to many special effects in the same publication. Consistency and simplicity of design is critical to creating a successful corporate communication. In fact, we adhere to this approach with all the designs we create for our clients.

Newsletter sample using the bubble effect

Newsletter sample using the bubble effect

To 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

Go ahead take a risk and straddle the edge!  You’ll be glad that you did.

Print Budget On the Line? Hang Up and Switch to an Online Newsletter

Has your print budget virtually disappeared in this age of digital media?  Don’t despair.  Online e-newsletters and e-publications are here to help. Join the trend and you will see how quickly you become a believer in online media.

Indeed, by switching to an e-newsletter you will have the ability to:

1) save money.  No longer do you have to worry about print, mailing and distribution costs. Yes, there are programming costs but these are usually quite a bit less than printing, postage and fulfillment.

2) have the world as your audience. Your newsletter has the potential to reach people around the world. No longer do you have to confine your readership to just your mailing list.

3) publish content that is up-to-date and current. You can get the information out quickly and keep it current with regular updates or supplemental articles. No longer do you have to wait for the printer and “snail mail” to distribute content that in many cases is weeks old. Continue reading