Events Newsletter Re-Design

“Weekends at Pacific” had been a tradition at my university for many years. Every weekend a digital newsletter was emailed to all students with the event schedule for on and off campus events. They hoped this would increase attendance at several school-sponsored events, but also give students plenty of ideas for what they can do over their weekends. For years, the newsletter was produced by university staff, but not the university designers, so the layout was inconsistent and the information was jumbled. Images were almost always too low resolution and the newsletter was assembled in Microsoft Publisher.

The first project I received when working at ASuop was to redesign the “Weekends at Pacific” newsletter. Having done layout for the school’s newspaper for two years prior, I understood the necessity of having a flexible layout to encompassdifferent amounts of information and imagery. Thetemplate was built on a strong grid, where each event was enclosed in a box that fit the grid. The grid was based on the leading of the text and was applied both vertically and horizontally. The look of the newsletter was a blend of the University’s and ASuop’s identity standards, using the typeface from ASuop and the University’s Pantone Colors. Icons were developed to be placed inside a semi-circle in the bottom right corner.

Since the newsletter had to be produced each week, and many of the events were not submitted until last minute, I tried to automate the process as much as possible. A 5-page template was created that had background, text, and bounding boxesalready in place for information to be added. Paragraph and character styles were utilized. The full icon library was included on the side of the page for easy placement. Recurring events were placed on the pasteboard of the document, as well, so to prevent doing work twice. A checklist was also listed in the document space to make sure everything was checked in the hurried process.

The finished product was a polished, standardized newsletter emailed to the whole student body every Wednesday. It was much more cohesive than its predecessor, and simplified the delivery of information so that it was easy to read.

Despite a complete overhaul in the fall, we as a team were not satisfied with the outcome. We were afraid that because of the digital format, the newsletter really only interested new students. We wanted to do a better job of reaching the whole student body, but needed a more convenient or attention grabbing way to do so. The several-page newsletter also took several hours of limited designers’ time each week and covered a lot of off-campus events that students never really attended.

The new concept became “This Week @ Pacific”. The newsletter had never previously covered events all-week long despite several requests to have Monday events advertised. So, the newsletter was expanded to be a week-long newsletter. This newsletter was to be a single 11” x 17” page so it could both be emailed and printed to post in the University center eating areas and rest rooms. We believed this would allow every student to still have access to it with their email, but would also expand the reach by attracting students who were waiting in line for food or washing their hands in the rest rooms. The newsletter was also to have a different monthly color scheme unrelated to university colors so as to stand out from the abundance of other orange and black printed posters.

Garnering a lot of good responses from university officials and staff, the new newsletter was a fresh look at events at Pacific. You could immediately see more students paying attention to the newsletters and many said they enjoyed the new look for being more fun and more current.

The newsletter still followed a strict grid, but this time had more fluidity in width and height. The images were removed for space-constraints, but also simplification of the look. The icons however, were inverted in color and then included to fill space and give the mass of text some visuals to decipher different event types.