Parkinson Foundation of Western PA Newsletter

front cover of the torch parkinson foundation newsletter

The Torch, newsletter for the Parkinson Foundation of Western Pennsylvania

I’m very pleased to have begun working with this organization at the beginning of 2011, like a gift for the new year.

They’ve been producing a newsletter for some years, so for this, my first newsletter designed for the organization, I used elements from the existing newsletter along with the basic specifications such as size and paper stock then added a few new elements and my own design touch.

inside page of the torch newsletter

Inside spread with color and art.

The newsletter ended up at 16 pages because there was so much news and information to offer about opportunities around Pittsburgh for those diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and their loved ones and caretakers, plus information that would be generally helpful for Parkinson’s patients anywhere.

I design four newsletters, each of them on different paper with different ink combinations and amounts of art and text, and I adjust my design accordingly.

This newsletter is printed on 80# coated text stock, so the paper is quite opaque and even with heavy coverage on a page very little shows through to the page behind. As a designer I can use large photos, heavy ink coverage and unusual design elements without worry that they’ll interfere when someone reads the page behind. The gloss coat makes bright colors really pop off the page and allows subtle colors, ghosted images and gradations to blend smoothly on the page without losing detail.

page from  the torch newsletter

New design for a feature page on nutrition.

I liked the newsletter’s open feel, the largely white background and use of a rich deep red throughout; it felt open and clean, and the occasional page that did have a lot of artwork or a full background image would command attention among the other pages as it did with the article on the Parkinson’s Retreat. But keeping in mind that many of the readers are older and diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, keeping the text readable is the most important element of the design, enhanced by art and colors that help guide the reader through the pages, such as the colorful little clips on the standing feature page about nutrition, trying to keep it from looking like a cookbook page.

inside page of the torch newsletter

Making a page with a lot of text just a little more interesting.

And on an inevitably page of heavy text such as “What Works for Us”, just adding the different images of notebook paper in the background help to sort out the tips sent in by readers and just make the page more interesting.

This customer provides the text plus photos of their events and interests, I provide background or stock photos, clip art and elements.

I have a personal reason for being pleased to work with this organization, as I do with many of the organizations I regularly design for.

My father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease 30 years ago, and we knew very little about it at the time; he passed away largely from the effects of it 20 years ago. One of his brothers was also diagnosed with it years later as well. And a good friend’s husband was recently diagnosed with it and is working to find support and ideas for staying healthy and keeping the effects of the disease at bay for as long as possible.

You can download and read the entire newsletter and read more about the Parkinson Foundation of Western Pennsylvania on their website.


  1. Susan Brunner

    As the caregiver to a newly diagnosed PD patient, the information provided is immensely beneficial. I love the clean lines and format, as it is easy on the eyes and visually gripping where necessary. Your ability to create such a beautiful newsletter for The Torch is, I am sure, much appreciated. Great job!

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