ORGANIZATION: Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce / Grinnell Convention & Visitors Bureau

DATE: 2015

MY ROLE: Writer, Editor, Graphic Designer, Photographer, Ad Salesperson


Our organization historically published an annual community guide, but it was costly and time-consuming to produce. Because the chamber of commerce created the guide, it had essentially become a business directory that only listed members. This did not give visitors an accurate representation of the community.


My goal was to create a true visitor guide that inspired visitors to explore the community and listed all businesses relevant to travelers. It needed to be financially self-sustaining and have a shelf life of two years.


  • Researched best practices to determine if a print visitor guide was even worthwhile and concluded that print versions still serve an important role to visitors
  • Reviewed dozens of examples from other communities and developed a plan for the format and content of the new Grinnell Visitor Guide
  • Wrote the content and designed the layout using Adobe InDesign
  • Developed several themed itineraries and walking tours to incorporate into each section to better serve visitors
  • Sold advertising and innovative paid content opportunities, implemented a cost-share program


  • The new guide showcases the community and its design complements other tourism branding efforts
  • Changes to the format cut printing costs by 50 percent per guide, and new advertising opportunities increased revenue. We were able to print nearly twice as many copies of the guide and still generate a profit for our organization. This was a vast improvement from past guides that required supplemental funding
  • This new guide was designed to have a longer shelf life, resulting in less staff time since it will only be produced every two to three years.
  • Nearly 15,000 print copies have been distributed, and the digital flipbook has been viewed tens of thousands of times


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