One of the primary reasons clients seek out my services is that I approach design from a content and usership standpoint. Trained as a journalist, and having spent many years working closely with newspaper and magazine clients, I understand clearly that every client has a good story to tell – whether this is an annual report, a brochure, an advertising campaign, a conference program, a CD or book cover. Though the bulk of my work has been with news publications, I have designed all of these materials, and in each case, the client responded with the same feedback: “this is the approach we need – storytelling, not window dressing.”
Understanding your story, and the audience that receives it, is my primary goal as a consultant. Depending on my arrangement with the client, this may translate to writing headlines and text, selection of fonts and other design elements, page design for print or web, logo design, photo editing, photo assignment, or actually taking the photographs, and working with your staff to project your mission via these storytelling devices as clearly and powerfully as possible.
For more information on how I can help get your message across, email me at ron (at) ronreason.com
Below are some examples of how I have used the storytelling approach for graphic design assignments from various clients:
AN ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN for The Standard Media Group in Nairobi, Kenya, touts the media company’s concern for investment in Kenya’s children as the hope for the country’s future. My work involved headline writing, copywriting, and documentary style photojournalism, including this image of a resident of the nation’s largest slum looking (we believed) hopefully into the future – and directly at the viewer to make the appeal more personal.
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THESE DIRECT-MAIL PIECES for The Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, IL, promoted the effectiveness of using the newspaper’s classified advertising products. I realized that the best way to get that message across was to tell real-life success stories of ad buyers who had found a new hire, sold a boat, found a lost pet, whatever. The campaign was based on interviewing recent happy advertisers and sharing those successes with potential new clients.
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A SERIES OF BILLBOARDS for the revamp of the San Francisco Examiner was based on a theme of running: the launch of the new look and format of the paper coincided with the paper’s sponsorship of a major cross-town marathon that would bring 30,000 runners to the city. Active, dynamic, athletic and young, striking black-and-white images of runners (and in this case a business person on the move) were selected to uphold the notion of a company on the move.
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DATA CAN BE GOOD LOOKING, as shown by this media kit for Negocios Now publishing group. Included were basic information such as the company’s mission, why potential partners should be interested in joining forces, and rates and deadlines for advertising with the various publications. A bold color scheme, consistent layout, and contrasting typography were selected to present this information clearly and boldly. Pages were designed to be inserted into a folder or deleted based on the needs of the potential clients to which it would be sent; the color-coded bars at the top were meant to allow easy navigation as well as reinforce brand colors present within the various publications.