Flexible design makes first edition a template for new publication
Like most nonprofits, A Better Chance in Lower Merion is financially supported by contributions from the community. So the dedicated staff and board members are always searching for new and better ways to connect with current and potential donors and volunteers.
ABC-LM is the local affiliate of a national organization providing academically talented, economically disadvantaged minority students with the opportunity to attend a highly-ranked suburban high school. Here, six to eight young men attend Lower Merion High while living with a resident director and three tutors in a house in Ardmore. All graduates go on to a four-year college or university.
Hollister Creative adopted ABC-LM as the recipient of pro bono creative services because the agency owner remembers the positive social impact of ABC students on her suburban high school when the first cohort began attending classes there. Her mother served on the founding board of that ABC program in the early 1970s.
This fall, ABC-LM board member Ilene Rosen asked us to design a print newsletter to be mailed out along with the annual appeal letter. She wanted a flexible design that could become a template, making future editions of “House Notes” easier to produce.
One of our content specialists consulted with ABC-LM to develop the content structure. Together they decided to focus on inspiring stories that would appeal to donors and volunteers emotionally as well as intellectually.
ABC scholars are a natural source of such stories because all of them have overcome huge obstacles and are determined to succeed. Accordingly, each edition of the newsletter will include a scholar spotlight feature and an update on a successful graduate. News briefs about the organization will show who is involved with the nonprofit and how it is run. A call to action will ask readers to make a 100% tax-deductible donation online or by mail.
For the newsletter design, we created a bright, inviting look and feel, starting with plenty of white space and the dark and light blue brand colors in the ABC logo. We kept the design clean and simple to showcase the stories and photos, and to provide the flexibility necessary for re-use as a template.
“ABC-LM is a great organization that not enough people know about. Hollister understood our needs and gave us a terrific design for our current newsletter that we can use into the future. Patrick and Georgette were generous with their time and expertise, walking us through the process when we needed it.”
— Ilene Rosen, Board of Directors, A Better Chance in Lower Merion
Three Quick Tips
If you are designing the first edition of a new publication, here’s how to ensure it can be repurposed as a template for future editions.
- Don’t box yourself in. Any text or image box that must be one size or shape is a no-no. A flexible page layout can adjust for various story lengths as well as varying image shapes and sizes. A good way to approach this is to cluster the text and image(s) in the center of a white space. Then you can adjust column width and image size, and add or subtract additional elements such as a pull-quote or second image.
- Set up a style sheet. That will ensure your design stays consistent with the colors, fonts, type sizes and styles of your headlines, subheads and body text — from page to page and edition to edition.
- Set up your template as a new document. After finalizing the first edition of your publication, save a copy, then strip out the text and images so that only the structure and repeating elements remain. That becomes your template. Copy the template to start laying out the next edition.