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February 14, 2014 - Comments Off on President, AIGA Colorado

President, AIGA Colorado

Aiga president Colorado Helen Young

Last summer, I accepted the role of President for the Colorado Chapter of AIGA, the professional association for design. AIGA is a national organization with 25,000 members and 67 chapters. The AIGA is committed to advancing design as a professional craft, strategic advantage and vital cultural force.

Founded in 1914, AIGA celebrates 100 years this year. The Denver Art Museum is keeper of the AIGA National Archives, a collection of more than 6,000 of the physical artifacts representing decades of the best in design and communication. Their new exhibit pulled from the Archives, Drawn to Action, is up throughout 2014.

AIGA Colorado consists of 550 members and 2,500 friends. Each year, AIGA CO hosts 35 local events and initiatives relevant to designers and industry friends. Starting in May 2014 through June 2015, the chapter will celebrate 25 years serving the local design community.

This volunteer position involves guiding a dynamic board of directors, along side President Emeritus Elysia Syriac, and representing the organization within the local community. My love of AIGA began in the mid 1990s when I served on the Board as Communications Chair, producing the quarterly newsletter. My membership has never lapsed and my involvement with AIGA has continued throughout my career via attending local speaker events and national conferences.

When asked to take a leadership role, I viewed it as an opportunity to expand my knowledge of the myriad design disciplines that have arisen since founding EnZed Design 17 years ago. So much has changed since “print” was king. Teams of specialists now work seamlessly together to communicate within diverse media. Being part of AIGA helps me keep on top of trends and best practices. A true passion for design craft and design thinking—that together create strategic communications—is what really fires my caldron. AIGA offers an outlet for both. Read my post on AIGA CO’s website for more thoughts on why AIGA is still relevant to designers, after all these years.

As President, I’m in a unique position to see the organization in a national scope. It’s been a privilege to get to know presidents from other chapters, national board members, and the national staff who are the wind beneath the sails of the organization. And it’s been a delight to get to know an enthusiastic local team of go-getters in the design industry making waves in the community.

And it’s only just begun. I’ll be sharing more of AIGA Colorado’s plans for the coming two years of my term, including highlights from the National Leadership Conference hosted right here in Denver in May 2014. Stay tuned.

Photos taken at the National Design Conference and at AIGA Colorado Gala (by Jason Hayes).

 

October 23, 2012 - 1 comment.

New and Improved: C3 Magazine

Over the years, EnZed has been asked to redesign a wide range of publications. Some simply have been tired—dated in appearance. Others have looked for a new face to improve readership by communicating more clearly.

C3 Magazine is a strong case of the second.

In its original format, C3 Magazine—The University of Colorado Cancer Center’s donor publication—felt a little heavy. There were many colored backgrounds and solid copy columns dominated. The Cancer Center clearly had  great stories to share, but  they needed to work harder if they were to captivate additional donors.

When analyzing the existing design, we began by first focused on how to improve the way readers navigated the information. One of the parameters set was to keep the current amount of content within the same page count and size. So we became the “What Not To Wear” style experts—hiding bulges and enhancing best attributes. Let the make over begin!

 

C3 Magazine EnZed Design Denver Colorado

 

OUR STATED OBJECTIVES:

1. Increase reader interest

  • Capture the SKIMMER. Short subheads and easy-to-read sidebars communicate more messages than headlines alone, enticing them in.
  • Convert the SELECTIVE READER. The speed reader will have time to read more articles if they are “blocked” into chunks that are quickly absorbed.
  • Activate the ABSORBER. Your biggest fan, the Absorber, is rewarded with visual cues that indicate sections more clearly, so they can go to their favorite areas first. They love links too. Perhaps a primary link plus two or three related topic links for bigger articles would give the absorber more to share with colleagues.

C3 Magazine EnZed Design Denver Colorado

 

2. Lighten the load

  • Reduce the appearance of copy by 20%. This might mean reducing word count. It can also be done by arranging content to be easily “blocked” into sidebars. Keeping subheads short and replacing line breaks with indents for new paragraphs can make room for white space without compromising content.
  • Increase white space with small layout changes. Icons or type-cons help with navigation and differentiate sections to add visual interest within a small space. A “bouncing bottom” can reduce a wall-to-wall copy appearance and is very effective at creating white space within a three column grid.

3. Expand the brand

  • Add variety to visuals. Rectangular photos of people are currently the main visual. While this can make the document feel friendly, it can also become repetitive. Add variety by changing sizes more, adding icons, type-cons, softer shapes, gradating color blocks, and stock illustration for broader concepts. Uniquely cropped head shots add variety too.
  • Use color to help guide the reader and differentiate sections. A primary color palette plus the addition of a color that is dedicated to a feature or regular section can create a unified appearance while keeping things interesting.
  • Headlines don’t have to be at the top. They can be in the middle of the page if there’s a strong introduction and a clear design to guide the reader’s eye. Chunk smaller stories together on a page with varying column spans.

C3 Magazine Redesign EnZed Design Denver Colorado

 

The results were immediate. Right after C3 hit mailboxes, positive feedback from readers came streaming in. The CUCC communications team received many compliments on and no disconnect with the new design.

We are currently working on the third issue. The Fall 2011 and Spring 2012 issues can be viewed in their entirety online.