– April 27, 2013 – newsletter, editing, design, purpose, communication

Yesterday I spent a couple of hours tinkering with the redesign of a non profit small group newsletter and it certainly passed the time in dialsyis treatment extra quickly….newsletters seem old-fashioned these days, but the membership of this group includes a fair number of seniors and the particular interest seems to have a higher than normal number of technology-averse folk….one improvement of the small kind, is to recognize that by delivering the issues via pdf format as an email attachment, most people are going to view it on their computer screen, some will print it and read it. 

So to address both ways, I have changed to a black and white, greyscaled photographs design in a single column. no colour ink wastage, and no two column layout to force a reader to scroll down and then scroll back up for the top of the right hand column. As is usual with newsletters in my experience, rarely do these publications get comment, but they are still a core benefit of paid membership.

I am thankful that we do not spend the time and money to print it, stuff it in an envelope, buy stamps and hand them over to Canada Post to store then deliver. The other benefit of simplifying the design is to nudge me to spend more time and effort on the content, rewriting, and a little more careful consideration of what to include in this newsletter.

It began in the Spring of 2010 and is a quarterly that we try to send out on the exact day of the seasons’ change. It has been as hefty as 12 pages and as skinny as three, 8.5 by 11 sheet sized. What has been interesting is that although the group is small, maximum one year of 32, copies seem to get forwarded quite far afield. We know this because of email communications that have come our way that reference the newsletter. One such missive asked us to include promotion of an upcoming conference.

Technically, the newsletter is sent only to current paid up members of the group. So it sometimes seems like a lot of effort for such a small readership. The group also has a blog, a sometimes updated website, and a Facebook group. We do try to offer communication in a variety of ways.

Over the past 35 years I have worked on or been the editor of abut ten newsletters. It is always an interesting process.

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