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VanCity Business First wins with simplicity and consistency.

Judges in the 28th annual Newsletter Awards Competition gave a first place Gold Award, in the corporate-external category, to VanCity Business First because of its careful use of white space, its restrained use of color, and its distinctive typography.

It is an excellent example of a "transparent" newsletter that communicates a lot of information without presenting a "lot of work to read" image. In other words, it's highly accessible.

Business First is based on a seven-column grid. Pages consist of three double-wide columns of text flanked on the left by a narrow column of mostly white space which contains short text and elements like a table of contents, the firm's logo and website address and eye-catching department heads and article summaries.

One of the reasons for Business First's easy-to-read image is its dividing the body text into numerous bite-size chunks. Many subheads add white space within each article and permit readers to skim article content for topics of interest.

Another reason for Business First's readability is the lack of article jumps. Articles are self-contained on each page. If an article ends short, as on p. 3, extra white space appears at the bottom of the columns.

Light color tints add visual interest without distraction to the pages. A colored tint behind the "Coming Events" on p. 3 separates the feature from the primary article on the page.

Business First also wins because of consistency. Headlines are the same typeface and type size throughout, as are the body text typeface and size. Visual interest is added, however, by the way the "Strategy Review" ("5 tips for managing credit") span two of the columns on p. 2 and the way a three-column grid is used for variety to emphasize the "Business Solutions Centre" piece on p. 3.

Further contributing to the newsletter's ease of reading is the way that only the first letter of the first word, and proper nouns, are capitalized in the headlines.

Note the synergy reflected by the "Bookmark it!" element at the lower right of p. 1. Rather than trying to communicate everything, it provides website URLs to direct readers to further information resources.

In short, Business First illustrates, once again, that simplicity and consistency continue to be the key elements of newsletter design success.

Roger C. Parker is a noted author, consultant and speaker. His www.newentrepreneur website contains numerous resources to help organizations improve the quality of their print and online communications.
COPYRIGHT 2001 The Newsletter on Newsletters LLC
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Parker, Roger C.
Publication:The Newsletter on Newsletters
Date:Jan 31, 2001
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