SUA 2011 Alumni Newsletter Redesign

Digital Newsletter (iPad PDF)

Art/Creative Direction, Illustration, Graphic Design, Typography


A redesign of the digital newsletter for Soka University of America's Class of 2011



In Fall of 2015, Soka University of America's Class of 2011 had two newly nominated Class Representatives. As Class Representatives it is their responsible "to connect to classmates, strengthen class network, and be the voice of their class." 

As a part of the Class of 2011, I was approached by the newly elected Class Representatives to help redesign the quarterly newsletter that started in 2011. However, due to limited budget and resources, the newsletter was never professionally designed and issues had not been consistently released over the past year. Hence, the newly nominated Class Representatives wanted to revive the newsletter with a fresh new design.

Sample of previous editions of the newsletter

Sample of previous editions of the newsletter


For the revival of the newsletter, I was given full creative control by the Class Representatives as the new Creative/Art Director. The last issue was released over a year ago and the Class Representatives wanted a mini newsletter as a way of introducing themselves, their goals, and any important announcement. For this mini issue, I decided on a more playful and refreshing concept but still keeping it simple without being too overwhelming for the reader.

In the previous issues typography, graphics, and colors lacked a sense of cohesion and visual hierarchy. Readability was also a major problem that had to be addressed. Hence my first task was use a more readable typeface and since most people view on a smartphone and tablet I thought it would be more suitable to design it based on an iPad size. Second, I create a new set of illustrations (using the school's color) to create a more friendly and welcoming style since the first issue was really a platform for the Class Representatives to introduce themselves. 

Caricature of the Class Representatives

Custom icons to summarize the Class Representative Goals


The Revival issue got a lot of positive responses with about a 30% of alumni members giving a "like" in the Facebook alumni group. This issue helped inspire and motivate more submissions for the official release with submissions ranging from updates, travel tips, and recipes.  

For the first official release, I wanted the reader to experience the newsletter like a storybook rather than treating it simply as a "newsletter". Hence I designed a variety of mid-century inspired illustration and did an elegant typographic treatment to give it a classic and sophisticated feel to the overall newsletter.  

The goal is to do a quarterly release for each issue depending on the amount of submission. However, May is considered to be a very important month for the SUA alumni because graduation and alumni events are always scheduled during May. Hence a miniature issue of the newsletter was released in honor of graduation month. 


The feedback from the alumni has been wonderful but it has its challenges being the sole designer on the project. At the moment, the Class Representatives and I are still trying to find the best solution and approach in making it work remotely (two of us are in the West Coast and one is based in the East Coast) but more importantly gathering content. We're still in the exploration phase, so the layout and visual direction has yet to be fully defined. 

Next steps is to start creating a more consistent layout/visual look to the newsletter and possibly in a way that can translated to a template for future reps to use.