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So Happy Together

Where print meets pixels

Everyone is asking What’s the future of publishing? How will web affect print, and vice versa? And why would you do both? We don’t believe one necessarily cancels out the other. In fact, we think there can be strength in creating a relationship between the two mediums and letting each operate within its strengths.

One of our favorite examples is a dual-medium piece we created for World Vision called Sponsorship by the Numbers.*

We’ve been working with World Vision for more than a decade — on their donor magazine and newsletter, as well as on catalogs and radio shows. We really care about the work they do. This past year, we began experimenting with a series of online magazine features, taking what we were doing in print and giving it a life on the web.

This particular experiment began with an Excel spreadsheet. Excel scares us for many reasons, but in this case we needed to find a way to convey all the information in the spreadsheet in an easy-to-digest manner. We also had to create something that would work — work at its most basic function and even flourish — in both a print and digital form.

Using overlapping circles of color to represent different countries, we created a world mapIn this case, the tie that binds was an intricate infographic. Using overlapping circles of color to represent different countries, we created a world map. The circles kept the rough shape of individual continents, and a more traditional map lay in the background of the illustration so that context, if needed, was there.

We used the print form of the map to convey an overview of information, and then we pointed readers to the web. There, we had created several filtering options so users could sort by the information they were most interested in — completely controlling their own experience.

In print, the map was an easy-to-engage infographic that followed two stories about child sponsorship: one about Burundi and its need for sponsors; another about Rwanda and the difference that sponsorship has made in the last decade. At the heart of the magazine experience were photo-rich stories on sponsorship and the difference it can make. The map, in all its beauty and originality, served to support the message of the stories and provide more detailed information. If you'd like to experience the printed magazine, we're happy to send you a copy. Send us your address

Online, the map became the source of information — both for those familiar with World Vision who had linked to it straight from the magazine, and for those who stumbled on it by accident and were learning of World Vision’s work for the first time.

The online version also gave us the opportunity to put action to information. Users could do something about what they reading. Namely, donate.

When this site went live, social media carried it to an even wider audience via Twitter and Facebook. Users began to interact and share it with their networks. And the map won’t become outdated anytime soon: We built it to have a life beyond the initial launch, with new countries and new data added as information is available.

So why do both? Because both have a place. The magazine is a trusted vehicle of communication between World Vision and its donors. Those stories are carefully crafted, so that the feature well of each issue conveys an angle of the work they do. And then throughout the year, those angles build on each other for an even bigger picture of World Vision’s work.

Digital expressions of World Vision’s work extend the relationship. The web carries that work out into the world and makes sharing/updating easy. It keeps World Vision present, while the magazine takes it deeper.

That is a beautiful relationship and why we believe that digital and print are just better together.

* Apparently we weren’t the only ones who thought Sponsorship By the Numbers was pretty cool. Diane spent a big night in the Big Apple at the Custom Content Council’s annual Pearl Awards where she brought home the top digital feature award for World Vision’s Sponsorship By the Numbers.