The Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia (Legal Aid) is D.C.’s oldest and largest general civil legal services organization—and one of GRAPHEK’s longest-standing clients. Since 1932, Legal Aid lawyers have provided life-changing legal services to D.C. residents living in poverty, and, every year, the organization produces a cost-effective annual report to bring attention to their important work and encourage donations—an important consideration for this non-profit without paying members.
Stunning professional photographs of clients and Legal Aid-provided client stories and testimonials form the base of every report, and GRAPHEK’s job is to tie it all together, with clean design, typography and a signature accent color that accentuates the photographs and conveys a deep-rooted emotion that appeal to Legal Aid’s audience. The reports are widely anticipated every year and have consistently been Legal Aid’s most successful vehicle for fundraising. Legal Aid has also found great success in using the reports as a leave-behind for prospective supporters.
The reports’ photography sets the stage, so once our team receives the year’s gallery, we begin the hours-long process of testing out different typefaces and design elements, seeking the perfect balance to best accentuate the cover’s photo and tagline. Once the cover design is set, we carry those same elements to each interior spread, as well as to the envelope, letterhead and digital campaign for an effective and cohesive package. Our commitment to producing complementary materials that strengthen a brand is strong: The easier it is for a reader to focus on the message, the more likely they’ll feel the impact—and, in the case of Legal Aid, the more likely they’ll feel inspired to make critical donations that support the organization’s causes and cases.
With any long-time client, the challenge for any designer is keeping a recurring, annual project fresh—current projects demand and deserve different typographic treatments and styles to make it unique, but they must reflect and retain the integrity of prior projects to build on the brand. Black and white photography, a strong accent color and powerful graphic elements all work to spotlight Legal Aid’s clients and their personal successes.