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Dear College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Faculty and Staff:
Publications are often the first line of communication for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences with prospective students, alumni, donors and decision makers in business and government. The perception of these brochures, newsletters and magazines is crucial to the College's image.
A comprehensive review of the College's publications performed by professionals from the Department of Communications and Office of College Relations has identified trends or common tendencies, including areas that are commendable and those that need improvement.
Some 74 College publications were reviewed for their overall effectiveness, College and University identity, design, writing, editing, printing and marketing presentation. The selected pieces were diverse and included everything from the College magazine and key brochures to departmental newsletters and Cooperative Extension publications.
The conclusions (listed below) present opportunities that will enable us to develop guidelines that will ensure quality control, better communication and name recognition for the University and the College. Our reviewers concluded that, considering budget and audience, most publications were adequate or better. An encouraging number of publication were considered to be excellent.
We were encouraged to learn that the University is readily identified on most publications (thanks in most cases to the University graphic identity logo). However the College identity is not as prominent as it could or should be. Many publications lend themselves to the addition of the College's new "Tomorrow's Science and Technology...Today!" slogan, as well.
After reviewing these conclusions the Directors and I would recommend that we place the University and College name prominently (first glance recognition) on all publications. We encourage you to place the College's "Tomorrow's Science and Technology...Today!" slogan on all publications when appropriate, perhaps as a tag line at the close of a publication, or in proximity of the College name. To better address marketing issues we have asked Bob Cairns, Director for College Relations, to join professionals from Communication Services in publication workshops and presentations.
At a future date, when Perspectives has had more time to evolve, we will test it with our readership for audience preferences and general reactions. We will also review other key College publications as well as College marketing initiatives through a similar process.
My hope is that we will not only use the above guidelines, but also begin to look at our publications with the following questions in mind: Does it appropriately represent the Department, College and University? Are we conveying our desired message? Do the writing, photography, design and printing command attention? These are very basic questions but ones that will help us ensure that perceptions regarding the College are the reality.
James L. Oblinger