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How to design newsletters for teens

As part of its effort to help people live healthier lives, UnitedHealthcare publishes a newsletter for teens. Written by teen health experts at the Family Planning Council, the articles talk to teens in a friendly way about fitness, nutrition and grooming, as well as more difficult topics like sexuality, drugs, alcohol, depression and anxiety.

The challenge presented to Hollister Creative was to design the newsletter in a way that would grab and hold the attention of an audience that is bombarded by media and easily distracted. We started with the idea of movement, because the teenage years are a time of rapid physical and emotional change. The movement became circular when we thought of the many issues and concerns swirling through teens’ minds.

While swirls are only one concept among many that could work for a teen newsletter, the design also uses these techniques to inject energy in a print newsletter:

  1. Choose several strong color palettes and rotate them throughout the year, so that each issue looks new when it arrives in the mail.
  2. Ditch the grid for text columns. Let the artwork on each page dictate the column widths so that they vary from page to page.
  3. Use lots of lively photos showing people in the target demographic and vary framed shots with silhouettes.