Paper & Pixels: Collateral


graphics, communication, education, community engagement


Brittany Coyle


Andrew Dobshinsky

You’ve created a web site and maintain a full-fledged social media campaign. What’s next for successful public engagement? Printed collateral.

Printed collateral can take many forms: mailers, handouts, brochures, postcards, surveys, fact sheets, and posters are a
few examples. Strong graphics and design play a major role in the effective use of these pieces.

While content is certainly important, the layout and supporting graphics of these pieces can make or break your message. The printed collateral should carry the same message, look, and feel of your web site, social media and other tools. Brand these elements by selecting a color palette and font to use on all pieces

One of the most important elements of any material, print or web, is white space. It allows the eye to quickly scan the piece and digest the information. As with web sites, heavy, cluttered layouts confuse and frustrate the audience and dilute the effectiveness of these tools. Create a clear hierarchy of information for your readers, and use imagery in a meaningful way.

Select content based on the piece itself. For instance, when creating a poster series, use high-resolution images that lend themselves to a large format and limit your content to short bullets or sentences. Additionally, each piece should have a specific purpose and not simply present the same information in different sizes and formats. Well-designed collateral will educate your audience, spread your message, and serve as an effective public engagement tool.