GDMA 2200 – Week 1, Project 1: Briefing & Research

Richmond Public Library

The Richmond Public Library (RPL) system was established in 1976. In total RPL has 4 branches and has evolved with the times to include an intricate online library cataloguing system, ebooks, free wireless internet, self checkout, DVD rentals and much more. The demographic of Richmond is unique from the rest of Vancouver Lower Mainland by which according to 2006 consensus, 57% of the population Richmond is foreign-born (majority of the popular speaks either Cantonese or Mandarin). RPL has a strong emphasis on multiculturalism; it offers library materials in multiple languages and assists Richmond residents in adapting to Canadian life with programs such as weekly New Immigrant Orientation seminars and Canadian Citizenship Practice Tests.

As typical with public libraries, RPL is a community hub and offers many events and programs. RPL appears to have two monthly e-newsletters: one for children and the other for adults. The kids e-newsletter is archived on the RPL website.

Children’s e-Newsletter
example: January 2014
example: December 2013 

The target audience of the Richmond Public Library’s Kids’ e-Newsletter are the parents of young children. At first glance, the newsletters is divided into a 2 column grid system; the smaller (right) of the two is used for navigation and recommended books, and the main column (left) is for articles. The newsletter is very copy heavy; children would not likely look at the newsletter themselves. However, the text is not comfortable for adults to read either; the right column is very tight (margins and gutters), font size is tiny, type is aligned center, and copy is done in reverse text.

The newsletter does incorporate some visuals but not in a way that is attention grabbing. The photo of the happy family is part of the newsletter’s layout and it does not change. The other images are stock photography, clip art, logos or book covers which are all small and negligible. The newsletter also has a strange colour palette of orange and grey in monochrome tones. It does not match the RPL logo colours either, so it is inexplicable why those colours were chosen (the orange, however, is used on the website). Thick rules in those colours are used to differentiate between sections and topics.

For my redesign, I would likely change everything about the current newsletter. I would change the colour scheme, and depending on whether the audience will remain the parents or appeal more to children, I would likely like to incorporate more colour. I would definitely get rid of the two column grid, or at the very least change it so the type inside is not so tight and difficult to read. There are some aspects of the current design that I like; I like that there is a table of contents which I find many newsletters are missing causing the viewer to scroll until they find what they are looking for. Most importantly I would like to make the newsletter appealing in a way that perhaps the audience would not be children, but the children would be curious about what their parents are looking are; the newsletter after all was made for the kids benefits after all.

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