Reinvest + Reinvent: A redesigned, content-driven newsletter contributes to the bottom line

I redesigned Hyde Park Art Center’s newsletter to align with the rebranding effort I led. As a 75 year old nonprofit, the organization’s look, feel, and voice needed to mature along with its programming, while still remaining accessible and not taking itself too seriously. Key messaging was the start, but the newsletter was the lynchpin.

Previously, the newsletter and course schedule were combined in one piece, three-fourths of which focused on class descriptions. Content and stories were buried, and as the most expensive piece of collateral for the organization, it wasn’t earning its keep. It was senseless to mail a newsletter that mostly contained hyper-local information about onsite art courses to the organization’s national mailing list. Meanwhile, the organization wasn’t getting stories out to people beyond the greater Chicago area.

I took a two-phased approach to redesigning the piece to acclimate audiences to the change and work within the organization’s budget constraints. The first update kept the format, but elevated the design, reducing clutter, using more white space, and clarifying program areas. The second update reimagined the piece altogether, with a new format, look, feel, voice, and content. The new design turned the newsletter into a content-driven vehicle for engaging the organization’s audiences–and resulted in new donations.

I led creative direction on the new piece; selected images, tone and style; and developed and edited story-based, audience-focused content. In the end, because the content spoke strongly to its constituencies, the newsletter garnered tens of thousands of dollars in new donations.

Here’s a side by side comparison of the newsletter’s evolution.


And here are examples of the new look.

Layout 1

Here are some inside pages:

Layout 1 Layout 1 Layout 1 Layout 1

Take a look inside the different versions to compare.

Old: Winter 2013 and Spring 2013 vs. new: Winter 2014 and Spring / Summer 2014 [PDFs].