Compassion in World Farming - Supporter magazine

In its mission to end factory farming for good, Compassion in World Farming needed to show its supporters why their continued contribution matters so much.

For more than half a century, animal welfare charity Compassion in World Farming has been fighting to stop cruel factory farming practices. 

Its peaceful yet determined campaigning has helped to ban cruel barren battery hen cages across Europe. Its work has also led to the end of horrifically restrictive veal crates. These are among the many landmark achievements made possible thanks to a passionate supporter base.

Farm Animal Voice, Compassion’s supporter magazine, is essential to spreading the word about its latest campaigning actions and successes.

In summer 2019 we created our 20th issue of Farm Animal Voice, celebrating nearly a decade of working with the organisation.

Appealing to compassionate consumers

When we took on the task of redesigning the magazine in 2010, Compassion was growing globally. As well as campaigning, the charity had started to work with food businesses and needed to update supporters on a shift in strategy. 

The team also saw an opportunity to better communicate with supporters. To demonstrate what exactly their support was helping to make possible. This meant taking Farm Animal Voice to another level. 

They wanted the publication to have a more striking look, while offering an intelligent snapshot of the farm animal welfare movement. It had to inspire and empower readers as compassionate consumers.

“We needed an expert in magazine production, who would help us communicate in the most sustainable and effective way,” says Sarah Bryan, Compassion in World Farming’s production manager. “When we met the Neo team, we could see straight away that we shared values and that we all wanted to make a difference in the world.”

Creating a bold and powerful style

A successful magazine is carefully tailored to its audience. So, we started by analysing the target market and then restyling the publication based on our findings.

We developed four distinct sections for the magazine, mapped to the charity’s objectives and campaigning agenda. Update, Action, Insight, and Inspiration. Each section was to include a set of information points and clear calls-to-action. 

With efficient production in mind, we created a set of interchangeable page templates that offered both consistency and flexibility. To these we introduced a palette of bright, motivating colours and contemporary, easy-to-read typography. 

Farm Animal Voice needed a vibrant, high-quality look that would stand out from other magazines on the coffee table. The subject matter could have helped to make that easy. Fill it with pictures of cute animals? 

However, sourcing the right imagery was challenging. We needed truthful, legally shot photos of farm animals (whether in a factory farm or higher welfare context). Compassion had a bank of investigative images. But given the overcrowded conditions in which they were taken they would often end up being too dark or generally unsuitable for print.

Even photos from volunteer campaigners could be subject to usage restrictions. Good-quality stock images were an option — but they needed to be completely accurate. 

“We could find a lovely photo of pigs wandering in a field against a blue sky,” says Sarah. “But when we looked closely we’d see their tails were docked. This would tell us they may be factory farmed pigs that have been photographed outside.

“Our challenge was, and still is, to find striking images that are inspirational but factually correct.”

One supporter said: “I like that Farm Animal Voice counts successes. It’s good to hear and inspires one to give. It’s so much better than to hear bad news all the time, as though every fight were hopeless.”

Inspiring action

Over the past 20 issues, we’ve continued to find creative ways to make sure every piece of content has the strongest possible impact and inspires readers to act. Every issue carefully balances Compassion’s aspirations – animals being treated with compassion and respect – with the reality of factory farming and its dire consequences for animals, people and the planet.

Overall, the look and feel remains bold and challenging, but allows us to be irreverent and fun when it fits the message.

One supporter said: “I like that Farm Animal Voice counts successes. It’s good to hear and inspires one to give. It’s so much better than to hear bad news all the time, as though every fight were hopeless.”

“Our subject matter is niche, difficult and precise,” says Sarah. “But Neo understands. They help us get fantastic, fresh looking layouts despite the constraints. They’re the most patient and flexible team, with such a creative, collaborative approach.

“Now we have an impactful, inspirational magazine that captures Compassion’s identity and helps us achieve great things – like more than one million petition signatures for our European End the Cage Age campaign to stop animals spending their lives confined to tiny cages.”

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