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

Healthy Designs for Healthcare Marketing

harlanwestblogphotoBy Harlan West, Design and Marketing Professional with 25 years of experience designing materials for major healthcare organizations, hospitals, medical centers and outpatient facilities.

Caring for patients also includes caring for the type and quality of the communications they receive. The healthcare industry uses lots of collaterals and informational pieces to communicate with patients, members, physicians, staff, agencies and suppliers.mortar-and-psel Marketing firms that specialize in healthcare publications are often called in to create external and internal communications for larger organizations. As one of these marketing firms, HWDS Creative has developed hundreds of effective print and online e-publications for the healthcare industry.

There are several important elements that we look for when creating a healthcare publication. These include the following:

1) The intended audience—The design firm must make sure that the publication, whether it be a poster, newsletter, report or collateral is geared to the intended audience.  The audience might be patients, members of the healthcare plan or group, physicians, clinicians, administrative staff, suppliers or insurance representatives—all have very specific and differing needs. Continue reading

Why Corporations Should Outsource Their Marketing Campaigns

harlanwestblogphotoBy Harlan West, Design and Marketing Professional

I am speaking from experience, not just because we provide outsourced graphics projects for big corporations. When I write, the word “outsource,”  I am referring to local creative firms, not offshore agencies. Here’s 10 ways that outsourcing the marketing effort will create positive results.

By outsourcing your marketing effort you will…

Mixed up graphic designer struggling with client1) Bring in a fresh outsider perspective.  Looking in from the outside in will provide for more creativity outside of what could be a stale corporate culture. The outside creative agency will undoubtedly bring in new ideas and ways of thinking that would probably even never cross your mind.

2) Be able to meet unreasonable deadlines. Outside agencies have the flexibility to work odd hours to meet deadlines for that special event happening in less than 24 hours. Most design and creative shops are not 9 to 5 operations. They often work late at night long after you have left the office. Our firm, for example, often works weekends and evenings to meet all client deadlines. The creative juices never stop flowing.

3) Save costs on employee salaries, benefits, insurance and pensions.  While this is an obvious advantage, the extreme cost may not be as evident as one would think. In addition, you don’t have to worry about administering these human resource issues. 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

Landing Your First Graphic Design Job

Young man with tabletSome of our readers have asked, “How do I go about getting my first design job?”

Here’s some advice from a seasoned pro:

  1. Find an industry sector where you would like to work. Do your research about this sector and find companies where you would like to work. Offer to do an internship.
  2. Collect a body of work.  Every time you work on a project, try to get samples of the printed piece from the client or the printer.  If you are not able to get samples, take lots of photos with your camera as well as screen grabs of the final project.
  3. Develop a log of contacts.  Keep track of everyone you contact.  Get their business cards.  Save phone numbers and call them again every few months after you have acquired more skills. 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.

Moving-Up-newslettrer

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.

Big-Events-newsletter

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.

Skylinesnewsletter

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 hwdesign@west.net.

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.

authioor-notes-1

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.

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.

Ferns

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 hwdesign@west.net.

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