Posted December 20, 2013

Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of doing some work with the prison ministry team from Crossroads Bible Institute in Canada. The team I’ve been working with provides a positive outlet for inmates across southwestern Ontario in more ways than just handing out Bibles. Not only do they take the time to share their message with inmates, but they also print a collection of artwork from the inmates as well. Everything is opt-in, so nothing is getting forced down anybody’s throat, and they have an incredible track record with affecting real positive change with the people around them.

So when they asked if I could help rebrand and redesign a series of newsletters over the next several months, I couldn’t help but immediately say yes. Supporting actual rehabilitation — and not just confinement — is important to me, but working with a place that also helps affect positive change in the overall community with things like a quarterly art publication is the icing on the cake.

The first assignment was to quickly (and I mean quickly) redesign the donors’ newsletter. I had one week to do this, and the only guideline I had was that the old design felt out of date. Within a week, I’d selected the typefaces for the overall brand,” searched for ways to improve existing content, and tried to reduce the design language to one that was obviously unique but also focused squarely on the content of the publications themselves. (Please note I’ve had to censor sensitive information to protect the identity of the inmates.)

A picture of a Crossroads newsletter

Production was so rushed, in fact, that we didn’t have time to do a trial print run. The initial goal was to try and find a design that could be considered for first newsletter of 2014, but CBI was happy enough with my original design that they took it to print immediately. There are some print errors that need to be fixed in the next newsletter, specifically with the margins. I also have some graphic design flourishes that I’d like to add next time, but one week simply wasn’t long enough to lend the newsletter any illustrative qualities.

The front and back of the newsletter side by side

Printing errors aside, hopefully you can see that the design focuses on bringing clarity to what’s important. Instead of placing emphasis on side notes and donor thank you’s, the emphasis with the new design is place on high-contrast tones that draw the eye towards the real meat of the newsletter — the inmates’ testimonies. My redesign also reduces unnecessary clutter (like the large repeating header) and brings a sense of continuity and grounded stability to what was before a shaky foundation.

Considering the rushed schedule, I’m very proud of what I was able to accomplish in just one week’s time and look forward to continued development on this design in the New Year. I’d like to take this time to thank Crossroads Bible Institute for the opportunity, and I look forward to a long and fruitful working relationship.