Designing a publication from scratch can be a daunting task, and you may not know where to start. Taking the following factors into consideration can help you create a roadmap for your annual report, policy report or impact statement and can help inform your design choices along the way. PURPOSE Before diving into a new publication, you’ll need to give some thought to the purpose of the finished piece. Is its main purpose to inform members on facts and figures—such as an annual report or policy report—or to convey the mission and backstory of a trusted nonprofit to potential donors? Maybe the publication will accompany the company’s annual fundraising event. Make it clear to everyone on your team what the focus of your publication is. AUDIENCE Going hand in hand with the idea of purpose is the potential audience. Who will consume your publication? Once you’ve determined a purpose, a READ MORE »
Author Archives: Heather Cox
Fresh and modern Branding for the Trade and Sustainable Development Symposium Website and Print Collateral Design Introduction Every two years, trade ministers and other senior officials gather at the World Trade Organization ministerial conference to negotiate details of ongoing multilateral trade agreements. Alongside this ministerial-level meeting, the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) hosts the Trade and Sustainable Development Symposium (TSDS). TSDS is the leading multi-stakeholder platform for intellectual inquiry and dialogue on sustainable development and the global trade and investment system. Over the last decade, it has provided a platform outside of the WTO negotiating setting for sharing ideas, engaging in dialogue, and influencing trade policy negotiations. Our client, the ICTSD wanted to maintain and increase the TSDS’s reputation as the go-to venue for thought leadership, while incorporating fresh and modern branding for the event.
Handsome, clean annual report design
Introduction and The Ask
From 2010 – 2015 MillerCox provided design and print layout services for the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond’s (FRB) year-end annual report. The annual report reviews the Bank’s operations, highlights the Bank’s activities during the year, and presents financial statements. The report is read by leaders of both national and regional financial institutions and must convey permanency, authority, and thought leadership in the national and regional financial communities.
Any pub designer who has worked on a publication for days, weeks or even months knows the sheer terror of worrying that his/her InDesign file has become corrupt. It happened to us this week. Here are the steps we went through to restore the INDD file to better health, and what eventually was the key to saving it. We restarted our Macs and INDD. This is always the best first step. We did another “save as” to clean up the file. We do this throughout any project at least a few times a week, so this didn’t fix the issue. Next we recomposed all of the text using the keyboard shortcut Command-option-/. Sometimes this works, but this time it didn’t fix our super-slow issues. Most senior pub designers cringe when they have to delete their preferences. We do. But we did it because we know sometimes this works. When we started up INDD, READ MORE »
I had the pleasure of attending an AIGA panel discussion on design return-on-investment (ROI) for nonprofits at the offices of the Human Rights Campaign in DC this week. AIGA pulled together a terrific panel to discuss this complex issue. Much of the discussion defaulted to nonprofit design projects (after all, we are designers), yet there were still a few pearls of wisdom in the discussion. While many nonprofits equate ROI with donations, at least two of the panelists work for advocacy organizations, and they mentioned that design is core to their brand and everything they do. ROI is about how they are changing policy, not raising donations. This design team faced a dichotomy of pleasing policy experts while at the same time, their bosses were asking them to make the creative “cool.” In advocacy nonprofits, ROI can be measured by whether they become and remain the go-to authority on a particular issue. This can be accomplished through both outreach and education, and can be READ MORE »
For the second year in a row, I attended the Nten conference put on by the Nonprofit technology network. Once again, I met amazing leaders in the nonprofit sector doing terrific work to solve some of our world’s most difficult challenges. I also had the privilege to serve the attendees by presenting a session entitled “Emerging Trends in Annual Reports”. Presenting with me were Sheri Chaney Jones from Measurement Resources (her new book will be released by Wiley later this year) and Yasmin Nguyen from Vibrance Global. Our session covered three ideas: Stop counting hamburgers! Sheri explained how to implement a measurement culture that emphasizes strong performance and measurable outcomes. Yasmin showed us all a simple way to take and upload video using his iPad, a tripod, and YouTube. I demonstrated simple ways to add interactivity to PDFs, and an easy way to post your annual report content online using a READ MORE »
On the rare occasion that I find a quiet hour at home to relax, I reach for a beautifully designed magazine. Whether it is Mindfulness, Real Simple, or the latest issue of Oprah, they have one thing in common: they are tangible. I know I can view them on my iPad, but ink on paper is much easier on my eyes. If you are wondering whether you should print your next annual report in addition to distributing it digitally, consider that major donors still expect an annual report in their hands. Costs vary, and prices are estimated by considering the following factors: 1. Quantity or print run. (How many will you be printing?) With traditional print methods, the start up costs are great, so incremental quantity increases result in marginal cost increases, so print as many as you think you will need, without skimping on the quantity. 2. Length (number READ MORE »
I’m reading a great book right now on leadership. The author is clearly well-read on the subject, and thoughtful in his writing. I’ve gotten tremendous insight from the book, yet it’s painful to read, because he skipped the design step. The type is too small for my eyes, and in Times New Roman. The text creeps into the middle fold of the paperback, so I have to pull hard at the spine to read the inside edge of the type, and each line is so long that I struggle to figure out where to continue on as I read across the page. After a chapter or so, I set it aside and reach for something easier on my eyes. So, if you are wondering if you should handle the layout of your next annual report, magazine, or newsletter yourself, consider this: beautiful publications rarely spring from non-designers using MS Word. READ MORE »
Over the years, we have found that, especially with clients new to the process, the following tips can save you from additional design charges. I’m sharing these budget-friendly strategies to help you keep your project on track. Try to submit close-to-final text as well as your charts and graphs, when you request a design estimate. Provide plenty of resolution when sending imagery (1mb minimum). Provide the “vector” versions of your logo, typically the .ai or .eps file. Be sure that your text is finalized when sending it for layout. Make sure your publication designer understands how many layers of review necessary so they can budget for every round. Designate only one key contact on your team, to avoid misunderstandings. Provide final data for all tables and charts, as well as excel examples. Try to stay on schedule, especially if you have a hard deadlines. Manage revision cycles carefully, for instance Make READ MORE »
Last weekend I spent the day in Baltimore in a room full of WordPress fans for a fun day of learning and sharing . Two tracks of sessions made it hard for me to choose — every session was terrific. It was a great day and I picked up a few tips to share. 1. George Stephanis, from Automattic, shared that the JetPack plug-in suite includes rich analytics, specific to WordPress, that run side by side with Google Analytics. 2.Akilah Thompkins-Robinson, from Akzmedesigns shared that google doesn’t like when we post links in FaceBook posts, and she recommended that we post links into comments instead, in order to improve our FB visibility 3. Josh Patterson, from Web Mechanix, shared that SEO is not about building back links any longer. It’s about content, and sharing this content across all of your social platforms. Throughout the conference, there was a lot of buzz READ MORE »