In this post: approaching redesign of an older brand piece, walking through the details of my approach to this phase of the process. This is not a final piece of work, meaning the language and layout are not final.
On this small project I’ve been tasked with overhauling a two-year old design from a previous designer, into something that feels in-line with the visual trajectory of the brand.
Large departures can often be hard sells: changing minds of colleagues who may be accustomed to a visual tradition can be seen as risky. If those coworkers don’t consider themselves to be “visual” people they can feel incapable of articulating what they like and dislike. I believe that sharing process can almost always meet those fears with principles, best practices, and solutions from a visual design perspective. Sharing process invites feedback around a shared understanding with non-designers; it’s a mutual learning experience if the stakeholders are also conceptualized as an audience that the work needs convince.
This method of process sharing occurred to me after generating various rapid iterations, comparing it to the original, and coming back to the same idea: break down the component parts to see this clearly. Here goes~
Original document
Original document I had to work from.
To engage with the hierarchy I drew boxes around similar content to flatten existing hierarchy. I came up with a simple key to classify information types.
Purple: header/footer
Blue: general text about organization, program
Red: key points; resources, schools, stats
Green: quotes; personal accounts telling the story
Yellow: the call-to-action
Visualization of information clusters to more easily collaborate with stakeholders and engage with the content structure.
With this breakdown, the information structure reveals itself almost as a mosaic: there’s no real pattern or relationship with information types; it feels unintentional.
Font: Open Sans
Colors: 3
Purple, headers: the two headers are duplicative with no real purpose, they take up some valuable space, and make a front or back ambiguous. The logos on both are far too proportionately dominant for this space.
Blue, general text: Information describing the program on the left page is minimized. For someone who may know nothing of this program (as the CTA seems to suggest) the information about what the program is, is likely more important. I’m not as bothered by the treatment on the right hand side, but the use of solid backgrounds doesn’t seem consistent in application. 
Red, resources + data: starting with the first page, the substance of this amazing project is buried within a long column. The large image of what I assume is China (no caption, can’t be sure) isn’t the strongest connection to the new resource being promoted here — why not actually see the resource cover? Both the stats and the partnership schools don’t use the space economically with small icons that are barely visible on the stats, and a wealth of underutilized negative space the ragged right edges.
Green, quotes: quotes; educators telling the story vs. us telling our story. The condensed type and orange color shifts the tone to something more urgent.
Yellow, call-to-action: the primary call to action is buried — you’d need to read through that column to get to the ask (“visit facinghistory.org is also a CTA).
Over all this two-column with minimal negative space and dense paragraphs bury the content. Unresolved hierarchies in color application and typography compete for the reader’s focus.
Redesign
Draft 1 redesign
This form is horizontal, with a lot more negative space, with and equal number of content types on both sides. Employing 2 and 3 columns in a nested structure reinforces the horizontal emphasis, creating cohesive units.
Font: Univers
Colors: 2 (excluding tints)
Purple, header/footer: the footprints of both have been reduced. I’ve used paragraph 1 from the left column “general program” text (blue) and made it function as a header ; it’s to-the-point and inspires curiosity. The footer contains a simple CTA in full bleed.
Blue, general text: using the 2nd and 3rd paragraphs from the “general program” text (blue) and creating sections clustered with the information/stats most closely related to the copy (red). This creates a stronger relationship with the information.
Red, resources + data: directly follow the general text that sets context.
Green, quotes: cutting the second quote from the original may come back as an edit — we do want educators to tell our story for us. I’m not sure what would need to be cut to make that happen, but I feel the layout is currently balanced…
Yellow, call-to-action: the call-to-action on the original felt premature on the front page of the document; I wanted to place it after the story was told
Negative space helps to focus the reader on the content, minimizing contextual noise, and competition among hierarchies. Restraining the palette to 2 colors and using tints and shades versus the introduction of a 3rd color helps to limit hierarchy, creating a smooth relationship between levels of emphasis. The narrative is split across the two pages which makes the second page more useful than the original version.

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