The last word – lessons in editorial print from an environmental giant

WWF’s flagship supporter magazine ‘Action’ is something of a cornerstone of the Neo studio. We’ve worked on the design of ‘Action’ and its sister publication ‘Impact’ for the past four years and covered some incredible subjects. So it’s with some sadness that we say goodbye to our design involvement on these two magazines.

It’s particularly significant to me as ‘Action’ was one of the bigger editorial projects that I worked on. I took over the full design and project management of this high-profile publication a year ago – an exciting but slightly daunting challenge. As with all challenges, I ‘ve learnt a lot along the way. Here are my top take-outs from my time working on WWF’s publications.


The importance of a great brand in editorial design

Freedom and space within a set of parameters is where the good creative stuff happens. WWF have a very succinct and consistent visual and verbal brand, combined with a great supply of assets to play with. There is a great choice of colour combinations, a seemingly never-ending photo library and a few carefully selected typefaces to choose from. The understanding and clarity of who WWF are and what they stand for has allowed me to focus on the best way to tell a story using their visual assets, rather than time spent trying to solve or work around bigger brand problems.

Working Together

Working together

Working with a bigger organisation meant having input from different teams within WWF. The many people involved each had an individual influence over the content and the theme of each issue. Articles were often tweaked, changed or removed, which at times felt like I was working backwards. But when you have a product that’s important to stakeholders across many teams, that’s part of the process. I learnt it was ok to not get the design spot on the first time round and to embrace the more iterative approach.


Less is more

In the third sector there is sometimes an assumption in print that white space, less copy and fewer images means it looks as if your organisation is not doing and showing enough good work. When actually, less is now more important than ever. The reader needs to finish feeling intrigued enough (rather than overwhelmed) to go online to experience the additional content and interact with the brand. Working on ‘Action’ made it even more apparent to me that clear space and big beautiful imagery is vital to creating clarity and bringing stories to life.


Not letting go

When taking on ‘Action’ a year ago the design felt timeless and these were qualities I didn’t want to let go of. Inspiring photography, a clear structure, well-considered and interesting grid layouts and a playful use of typography all defined our approach. I was keen to keep hold of these design elements while allowing the magazine to evolve. Rather then focus on recreating the design of previous issues, I instead focused on working with the same ambition – to capture the feeling and mood in each article and to reflect it beautifully through photography, colour and type. I hope I succeeded,

With the print of the last issue of ‘Action’ underway, we hope that the future brings us new opportunities to still do great work with WWF.

WWF Action Magazine