Notre Dame Kellogg Institute
CREATIVE CHALLENGE: An academic institute wanted its annual report, previously an oversized 10-by-16-inches in print with more than 100 pages, to work both in print and online.
How can a designer simplify the content for a single design for both media while working with a team of clients, including scholars and department managers, with a University’s visual standards?
THE CLIENT: Based at the University of Notre Dame, the Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies creates a space for engagement with international affairs, primarily related to democracy and human development.
THE ASSIGNMENT: The Kellogg Institute chose me to redesign their 2013 and 2014 annual reports, despite having a significant discount by keeping the project in-house with Notre Dame University Marketing. They wanted the annual report to have a unique layout that would look good in print and online.
DESIGN OBSTACLES: The previous annual report used huge, legal size sheets, and was heavy on text. Online, you had to zoom in to read it.
CREATIVE RESULT: I did research and landed on a square shape. We reduced the report to 30 pages – little, teaser stories – and directed people to the Institute’s website, where they could read more. Notre Dame has a great branding package with lots of colors. I let those colors influence my choices. I had to create zones for content: pictures, text and a quote. I worked with writers to eliminate whatever words and text we could. I color-coded the table of contents, picking warm, vibrant colors to be emphasized each section throughout the report. I looked up the country in each article/spread and picked traditional patterns from that country to use as subtle patterns. The Institute works with abstract ideas: “Exploring Democracy and Human Development.” How do you visually communicate this complex tagline on the report cover? Along came this perfect photograph from Associate Director Sharon Schierling. While she was in Sierre Leone in West Africa, she came across a group of fisherman who were coming in for the day and left their tackle on the beach. What a perfect single image to visually represent their tagline. Here we have humans trying to make it in a developing country and what is the name of their boat? Democracy! Although it was the perfect image, it did require some cleaning up. I managed the project from the initial layout all the way through printing. Everybody was so happy with the annual report, they hired me to do a few follow-up pieces for the 2013 annual report and then hired me again to design the 2014 report.