15 December 2013

Promotional Design for Library Fundraising

Our Library Foundation and Friends of the Library organizations are incredibly generous groups of people who provide considerable financial assistance to the library district. So whenever I hear that they are in need help developing marketing materials that in turn benefit the library, I always encourage them to first ask if I can provide them with creative services before they entertain the thought of looking elsewhere. Having them work with me not only saves the Foundation and library district money, but it also allows me the opportunity to monitor and maintain a certain level of quality control while seeking to provide continuity in their communication collaterals.

Updated brochure design exterior (top)
and interior (above).
In the past I've had the pleasure to design fundraising brochures and flyers for the Foundation which you can see here http://librarygraphicdesign.blogspot.com /2012/07/library-foundation-brochure.html. Later, when they wanted to create additional fundraising collaterals to promote its donor program which features a large etched glass pane called the "Katherine's Tree" at our Headquarters Library, I suggested for  purposes of reinforcing their brand recognition that they continue using the design sensibility already established in the other recent fundraising materials I created.

Views of an older brochure exterior
(above) and interior (below) that
predated my redesign.
For this project, the Foundation wanted to create an 8.5x11 inch page and a 20x30 inch poster to illustrate the Katherine's Tree glass etching. An initial idea by the client was to have a photo shoot of the 20 foot high etching which would involve an elaborate set-up to hang large fabric behind the etching, shoot without any additional lighting, and hope that there would be no flash hot spots or glare to contend with. The fall back would be that extensive Photoshop work could save the day. All this and before I forget to mention they were mildly in a hurry for it too.

I could see that such a photo shoot plan would require such a considerable amount of logistics, manpower and production time that I suggested instead to use the photo I had already shot and used in the existing brochure, remove the etching portion of the photograph and replace it with a vector redraw of it using Adobe Illustrator. To demonstrate how much easier and less time consuming it would be, I spent about 15 minutes of time to do exactly that and showed my Foundation contact that I'd already finished about 10% of the etching with very little effort and without all the complicated and non-guaranteed photo shoot results. Not only that, but by creating the graphic portion of the tree using Adobe Illustrator, it ensured that the line work in the image would be pristinely sharp and clear—even modifiable at a later date if needed—at any size big or small that they would want to use it in the future, unlike the pixel format of a photographic image. 

Sales job done, it was agreed upon and I went to work. I had a proof for the Foundation to review in less than three days to check for counting the tree leaves which needed to be numbered and approved for the order in which they would be viewed. The initial request was to number all the leaves from top to bottom, right to left, but due to the uneven, non-uniform arrangement of the leaves, I chose to utilize a sweeping path that attempted to keep every leaf butting up against the numbered one preceding it—or as close to it as possible. This way, leaves in groups of 10s might appear in clumps together, rather than in unevenly spaced, bumpy lines that attempted to force readers to try to read it like a book.

With the number grouping strategy approved, I cleaned up the design and saved the image in three different ways for using: 1) a straight black and white etching image framed by the colour photo, good for reproducing at a small scale as a graphic that individual leaves could be identified later by hand with highlighter markers; 2) colour-coding leaves in groups of 10s to assist in locating numbered groups faster and more conveniently; and 3) the straight black/ white graphic tree laid overtop of a ghosted back image of the original background. This would help communicate that the Katherine's Tree is a see-through glass etching and it would also give the illustration a little more sophistication. It could be used at a larger presentation scale and look better than the straight black/white or colour-coded graphic versions that were intended to be more utilitarian for reference and marking on.

Delivery of the project only took a couple of weeks. A single 20x30 inch poster was printed using my large format printer and them mounted to foam core board. They would display the poster at events where they would have multiple person audiences. For their 8.5x11 inch pages they would use as handouts and mailable inserts, all they needed were the three digital images; they would place those images onto Microsoft Word or Publisher pages they would create language content for and maintain themselves.