Lights, Camera…Newsletter! - The Making of Press Start Chronicles

Sanjaya Bharti
Sanjaya Bharti

Where do you begin designing a newsletter?

I’m not asking you this, so worry not, but this was the question I had in mind a year and a half back, when we decided that Press Start should have a newsletter, too.

At the risk of sounding like every other marketing student ever, the initial idea for our newsletter began with thinking about our target audience. Then: “What exactly should we put out that retains the essence of Press Start Academy?” Cue the Ludenverse aesthetic (our own fictional universe… watch our trailer here). It seemed to be a good representation, and the content would match our focus on learning trends, curriculum design, teaching and learning. 

A few months ago, our Digital Experience Lead Zahra walked up to me and said “Hey Sanjaya, do you think this visual design may be a bit outdated?” I thought, “Oh s***, she’s right” And I soon realized why: The Ludenverse aesthetic, while amazing, has an old-time feel to it, and seems a bit odd when you’re talking about stuff like AI and the future of learning. It didn’t feel fun. It didn’t feel exciting. It didn’t feel… PSA.

From then on began a series of reiterations of the visual design - now the blues, with the revamped fonts and the pixelated backdrops - as well as the content design - which, if you’ve been here since October or before, hopefully you’ll have seen the difference. Articles that showcase the team’s expertise in a way that whoever is reading them can gain something, and where the personality of the writer shines through. 

In anticipation of our brand refresh, we launched the new Press Start Chronicles in November 2023. I’m excited to share that it’s been a successful experiment: Our open rate exceeds the industry average by a whooping 22%.

I’ll wrap up this journey - of our newsletter’s conception, to launch, to a year’s worth of issues - with three main takeaways - 

1. Running a newsletter is a collective effort. Always ask for feedback from your team first - if they won’t read your newsletter, nobody else will either. So throw your ego out the window.

2. Inspiration can strike from the most unexpected corners. Subscribed to a newsletter whose writing style is poles apart from your brand personality and possibly won’t give you any ideas? Doesn’t matter, read it. 

3. Experiment. Changing direction is better than content that nobody likes to read.