Project 1 – Newsletter


Newsletters are about keeping your audience up to date with the latest developments in your company, school, or organization. They are sent on a predictable schedule to inform readers of sales, promotions, new features, reunions, events, etc. Some newsletters—for instance, those aimed at an alumni group—list personal updates, highlight school events, and showcase new buildings or donations.

Having a strong nameplate unites the document and makes your newsletter look professional. Aim to strike a balance between text and images in your newsletter. Images should contribute to your message, not just clutter the page. Breaking up your text into columns can make it more legible. For a letter-size newsletter, three columns is a good choice.

Creating a newsletter presents a good opportunity to cement your brand. By incorporating your company’s, school’s, or organization’s colors, logo, and typeface, you can increase brand recognition and improve the likelihood that your newsletter gets read. Your newsletter should be instructive without being heavy-handed. Don’t treat the content as an afterthought: if your newsletter doesn’t inform your audience or provide useful updates, you will generate more bad feelings than good. Make sure your text is copy edited and that your articles are succinct and easy to read. Event calendars are expected components of a newsletter. Articles on a given page of a newsletter should have a unified theme. That way, readers can tell at a glance if it will interest them.

Many editorial teams struggle with creating a strong editorial philosophy. They either don’t have an editorial philosophy or don’t see the importance of having one. Some have a philosophy that communicates nothing about why they publish or how their product is different from all the others. The editorial philosophy for your product is critical to keeping the editorial strategy and design on track, and properly focused on your target reader. Another very important goal of the editorial philosophy is defining your competition. By doing so, you can strategically differentiate your product so it’s always at the top of the pile.

The process of developing your editorial philosophy will get your editorial and design teams on the same page by setting goals. In some cases, it’s a great tool to use to resolve disagreements. If something doesn’t fit the mission, it doesn’t belong in the product. Redesign time is also a terrific opportunity to write or rewrite your editorial philosophy. Setting a designer loose on a redesign project without an effective editorial philosophy can almost guarantee that the project will go over budget, miss the mark, or just flat-out fail, wasting everyone’s time. You need to know who you are before anyone else can begin to understand you. Your editorial philosophy can be a measurement tool to use to help evaluate design concepts or a new editorial strategy.

Don’t be generic. Distinguish your brand in the editorial philosophy, whether it’s by geography, industry, niche, etc. (And if you can’t craft a unique editorial philosophy, it may signal a need to revisit your overall marketing strategy.) Always include the purpose of your content in your editorial philosophy. How should it motivate the readers or viewers? What do you want them to know, think, or do? Remember, your content can’t be everything to everybody. Pick a niche audience and ensure that your content is loyal to it.


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Design a four-page 8.5 inches by 11 inches newsletter focusing on some topic related to print journalism, public relations, advertising, electronic journalism, or a Texas State student organization. If you are away from campus, and are unable to connect with an organization, you may select an organization off campus. Just let me know ahead of time what the organization is. You will need to write the articles, edit your writing, and work with the layout of the newsletter, including graphics and photography. Any photographs or graphics you receive from the group or organization should be released to you with written permission to use them in your newsletter. You must title your newsletter appropriately. You may create a two or three column newsletter. You must include an index.

It can be titled:
“In this Issue”
“What’s in Store?”
“This Month’s Happenings”
Or whatever you feel is appropriate.

Remember to use discretion in your choice of graphics. Be sure to give credit where credit is due. 

Key Elements Required:

– Folio
– Nameplate
– Headlines
– Index
– Issue Info / Date
– Photos
– Photo Credit
– Cutlines / Captions

Why are we doing this project? I get this question a lot and it’s a good one to address at this point in the course. Most of you will never design a print or digital newsletter after this class. But designing newsletters is not the point of this assignment. It’s about understanding how elements across multiple pages work in concert with one-another. How you make well balanced typographic choices. How your decisions concerning color affect the look and feel of your overall design. How actual content, in this case the stories you wrote and the images you obtained, works to inform your audience. It’s harder to design with real content because it forces you to make some hard decisions. Design is sometimes about making difficult choices.

Remember that first and foremost, a good newsletter needs good content that meets the expectations of the reader. If your content isn’t valuable to the reader, no amount of design skill helps. However, once you have good content, a successful newsletter design generates interest and maintains readability through consistency and contrast.

You will be evaluated according to:

(1) selection/use of type and image
(2) use of a page grid
(3) use of design elements
(4) overall creative ability
(5) effectiveness in attracting and maintaining attention
(6) readability and legibility of both text and images
(7) craft and technique
(8) required items (folio, nameplate, headlines, etc)

Note: You could also lose points for poor design skills, for typographic, spelling, grammar, and/or spacing errors, for not following instructions, and particularly, for not meeting deadlines

TOTAL: 100 points

Once you’re satisfied with your layout and design, create a PDF of your newsletter. Export the finished page into a PDF document. The file name should be LastName_Newsletter.pdf

Then submit the file through the Assignments tab on TRACS. Also upload an electronic copy of your photograph and graphic permissions.