Home Page

The Color Wheel, Reimagined

The Color Wheel, Reimagined

Posted By on Aug 16, 2017

Trying to pick colors for a page layout, or looking for inspiration to freshen your brand hues? Since the 1800s, designers have used color wheels to identify which colors work well together to set a tone or draw attention.

Adobe Color CC takes the color wheel online, offering three ways to find fresh color combinations.

Duy Mai uses Adobe Color CC to help Ruralite members find strong color combinations.

Browse for Bright Ideas

Start at Color.Adobe.com/Explore. You will see sample color mixes from designers around the world. On the top left drop-down menu, select “Most popular” to find current color trends.

Need to evoke a specific feeling? Search palette names in the top right search box. The feature is hit or miss, since color names are highly subjective. But you might find a fun, unexpected mix.

Looking for the colors for a brand (Seahawks or 49ers fans, anyone?) or a palette to match an occasion? You can search for brand names or generic events, too.


Pull Colors from a Picture 

Upload an image to find five colors that convey a colorful, muted or deep meaning.

After adding a picture, use the left drop-down navigation pane to set a mood (colorful, bright, muted, deep or dark). Each option picks five different colors from the picture to help evoke a feeling. You can also use the custom option to handpick five colors from the picture.


Custom Blends

Ready to create your own color combinations? Use the manual color wheel at Color.Adobe.com.

Enter a color you want to work with. If your logo uses NRECA’s green ball icon, enter the green RGB color (Pantone 348, RGB 0/132/61).

Now use the drop-down color rule menu to view analogous, monochromatic, triad, complementary or compound colors. Want to stay close to home? Opt for shades of the selected color. You can also pick five colors you think pair well with each other, using the custom option.


Save Your Colors

Find an inspiring color palette? You do not need an Adobe membership to use Adobe Color CC, but you must be a member to save the colors you discover. If you are an Adobe Creative Cloud member, save your palettes to other Adobe software (i.e. PhotoShop, InDesign, Illustrator). Otherwise, take a screen shot and jot down the formulas (RGB or CMYK) for your favorites.

Need help finding a Pantone color (used by printers) that matches a screenshot? Adobe Illustrator’s Recolor Artwork tool (Edit> Edit Colors> Recolor Artwork) can help. If you do not have the software, your editor can work with you to find a Pantone color that works for your brand. Screen and printing colors will always be different, so keep that in mind.


Mobile Color Mixes

Need more tools to find fresh color blends? Try the Adobe Capture CC app (iTunes, Google Play). The app makes it easy to pull colors out of your surroundings. You can also turn pictures into vector shapes or brushes, then make the files available in Adobe PhotoShop and Illustrator.

The app is free to download, but you must sign in with your Adobe Creative Cloud password to use the features.

Read More

Ruralite Services Inc. has named veteran Northwest journalist Leon Espinoza as its new Editor. Espinoza was selected after a national search. He replaces Curtis Condon, who is retiring.

Espinoza is currently Assistant Managing Editor of The Seattle Times, a position he has held since 2013.

“Leon Espinoza is regarded by his colleagues as a tremendous coach, co-worker and leader,” said Michael Shepard, CEO of Ruralite Services. “He has been at once a steady and creative hand during a time of unprecedented change in the media world. I’m confident he is just the right person to lead our journalistic efforts and partner with our award-winning staff and the public utilities we work with every day.”

Leon Espinoza

Leon Espinoza

Espinoza has risen through the ranks since joining The Seattle Times as a reporter in 1990. He has been the company’s Executive News Editor, Deputy News Editor, Sunday News Editor, Night News Editor and worked on the copy desk. He holds a BA in communications from California State University, Fullerton.

He has been actively involved in developing the Times’ popular digital offerings and worked both as a hands-on editor and overseer of editing and presentation for multiple Pulitzer Prize-winning (and nominated) stories and news series.

Espinoza is a member of the Associated Press Media Editors association, the Washington Coalition for Open Government, the American Copy Editors Society, the International Association of Business Communicators and he has judged reporting and design competitions, including the California Newspaper Publishers Association’s. Leon and his wife, Michelle, have three adult children.

“It is an honor and thrill to join Ruralite Services and have the chance to lead a communications team that already knocks it out of the park for the public utilities and hundreds of thousands of consumers it serves,” said Espinoza of joining Ruralite Services.  “The chance to guide a winning team, impact communities and support our consumer-owned utility partners with meaningful communication and quality magazine products, all within the framework of a co-op rooted in community values, was too good to pass up.”

“As Editor, with a background in public-service journalism and transformation, I look forward to the role we can play in the rapidly evolving energy industry. I’m eager to learn about our utility partner’s desires, wishes and needs and how we can diversify what we offer to meet them. These are exciting times.”

Condon will leave the company at the end of July as its longest-tenured current employee – and one of its most liked and respected. He joined Ruralite as an editor in 1990 and within two years had been tapped to lead the magazine staff as managing editor. Under his leadership, Ruralite magazine won the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s George W. Haggard memorial journalism award in 2015. The award is annually given to the nation’s top cooperative magazine. The number of utilities using Ruralite’s magazine brands grew by nearly 20 percent during Condon’s tenure and he oversaw the expansion of magazine brands under the company’s umbrella from one (Ruralite) to four, and total circulation of the magazines went from just over 250,000 to more than 440,000 today.

Read More

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Imagine 1,800 energetic high school students descending on the nation’s capital for a week of sightseeing, immersion in history and making of lifelong friendships—all while having fun and learning about the cooperative business model.

This is the objective of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s Washington Youth Tour, but it does not capture the magic of exposing teenagers from rural areas to a world they have only read about in textbooks and challenging them to stretch outside their comfort zones.

To understand the true heart of Youth Tour requires being a part of the program—and two Ruralite editors did that last week.

Mike Teegarden spent the week embedded with the Arizona/California delegation of 43 students. Pam Blair journeyed to Washington, D.C., with the 18 Oregon students and two chaperones, then met up with the 31 students representing Florida cooperatives. She ended the week shadowing the Oregon group on legislative visits with Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Greg Walden.

Combined, Mike and Pam took more than 4,000 photos and gathered dozens of comments from students about their experiences. The information-gathering continues, all in preparation for four-page feature articles planned for the September editions of Ruralite, Currents and Florida Currents magazines.

This was Pam’s second time attending Youth Tour.

“I am amazed at how much is packed into a few really long days,” Pam says. “I also am impressed with the quality of students selected for the trip. They already are leaders among their peers, and truly are the next generation of leaders for our cooperatives and our communities. They really appreciate the investment their cooperatives make in them through the Youth Tour trip.”

Mike, a first-time Youth Tour attendee, was impressed by the maturity of the students, and recalls a moment that stuck with him.

“What surprised me most was seeing how excited the kids were after meeting with their congressional representatives,” Mike says. “I can’t imagine being that excited about meeting a politician when I was their age. Several of them had wonderful experiences and left feeling like they really do have a voice in how things are run.”

What is your lasting impression from NRECA’s Washington Youth Tour?

This article was co-written by Victoria Hampton and Pam Blair.

Read More
Inside the Magazine: June

Inside the Magazine: June

Posted By on Jun 7, 2017

Your utility has valuable services. Yet, do consumers know the “why” and “how” of your programs and resources? Find new designs and article concepts with Inside the Magazine’s timely, engaging utility content from Ruralite, Florida Currents and Currents magazines.

Wells Rural Electric Cooperative’s new website was a collaboration between the utility and members. Its photo forward feature introduces the new website to members with a brief explanation of why and how the website was rebuilt.

How many years have you been a magazine member? Lassen Municipal Utility District took its consumers on a trip back in time to the beginning of Lassen’s Ruralite magazine with a historically rich article. See the share package for the full article, and request to run it in your edition.

In most editorial content, Q&A format is frowned upon. When it comes to annual meeting articles that tend to be a cumbersome read, Umatilla Electric Cooperative decided to simplify its approach. The utility addressed the most important questions discussed at the annual meeting with to the point answers.

Click the links below for more magazine content ideas and shareables.

Important note: If you are interested in reprinting any of the features in the share package, you should contact the communicator at the utility that published the feature for permission. We include a list of the utilities phone numbers and contact people who have examples in the share package.

If you are interested in reprinting Ruralite features, please contact info@ruralite.org or your local editor.

Back Pages

Share Package

Feature Stories

Read More

Challenge yourself to make pictures that go beyond mere records of someone doing something. See if you can capture a picture that emits emotion and reveals what your subject feels about whatever it is they are doing.

How can you capture engaging moments? David LaBelle shares four solid tactics:

  • Invest time.
  • Be invisible and likable.
  • Prepare for the unexpected.
  • Watch for cause and effect.

Put Time on Your Side

Intimate pictures do not happen overnight. Allow time to get to know your subjects and build trust.

In October 2016, Denise Porter took this portrait during David LaBelle’s photo scavenger hunt at the Ruralite Writers Workshop in Bend, Oregon.

“The best portraits are of faces that are comfortable with you,” says David. “The portrait should look as if you’re not there.”

While you are setting up for a picture, talk to your subject. When they think the session is done, subjects tend to relax and talk a bit more. When someone feels under the microscope, they tend to tense up. It takes time for someone to relax. Keep talking and shooting. This is often when you capture your best moments.

Time spent with a subject builds trust—and that trust adds intimacy to photographs.

Be Invisible and Likable

According to David, the trick to catching moments is to be invisible, blending in with the subject’s background. For photographers hesitant to immerse themselves into a subject’s life, he shares how he views the process.

“I believe I am giving a gift to the people I photograph,” says David. “If you believe you belong, that you are performing a service, people allow you into their lives. You are not trespassing. You are honoring them. Believe they like you because you like them.”

Prepare for the Unexpected

In addition to building trust, giving yourself extra time gives you the freedom to catch moments before and after events. If shooting an event, do not rely on agendas.

“Sometimes the best or most memorable moments happen after scheduled events,” he says.

“It’s not over when it’s over,” says David. “Keep watching, and keep your camera handy. You never know what you might see.”

You get lucky, but you also can anticipate luck.

Watch for Cause and Effect

Keep an eye out for moments that build on one another.

For example, many utilities have images of linemen restoring power in harsh conditions. But how many people have followed a lineman home to show the effect of those long hours on the lineman and his family?

Thinking in terms of cause and effect helps photographers anticipate emotional moments. Combined with an investment of time, invisibility and preparation, these four tactics will help you capture memorable moments and draw readers into your stories.

Read More

By Lori Russell

You’ve queried, researched and prepared. Now it is time to interview the subject of your profile article. Here is a basic structure for a quality interview.

First Things First

Profile interviews are usually done in person or by phone. When you set up the appointment, let your subject know the angle of your story and the approximate amount of time you will need.

Because you have prepared in advance, you already have a clear idea of where you want to go and what you need to get from your interview.

Lori Russell has written profiles about people, their passions and their places for more than two decades. A regular Ruralite magazine contributor, she has been published in magazines and newspapers nationally.

Interview Poise

Your first question sets the tone for the entire conversation, so begin by asking something easy. The point is to get the subject relaxed so he or she will talk rather than just answer questions. Small talk is not useless. You can use the time to take notes on surroundings, appearance and mannerisms.

Once you get the conversation going, be quiet and listen. This is not the time to talk about you. “Uh-huh”—the universal interviewer response—and its cousin the nod keep the conversation going. For variation, restate or feed back what your subject just said.

If your subject is skimming the surface of the topic, pursue the details. Go for breadth and depth by asking open-ended how and why questions. Be friendly but to the point if he or she veers off track.

Don’t Forget the Details

I prefer to take notes during an interview rather than using a recording device. I am looking for the most vivid quotes, not every word my subject utters. Taking notes allows me to capture gestures, facial expressions, tone of voice and the relationship of the speaker to the setting that I cannot get from a recording.

Taking notes also allows me to edit while listening. Will I use this quote? Is this information what I’m really after?  As I listen, I begin to shape and select my material even as I formulate my next question. What gaps need to be filled in with answers or anecdotes? What areas have already been covered?

Develop a system of note-taking shortcuts. I put a star next to good material and use brackets when noting my own observations about the surroundings or what the subject is saying.

With practice, you will be able to recognize an opening hook, an intriguing quote or a closing anecdote as soon as it is uttered. Often, the best revelations come at the end of your time with a subject, after the notebook is closed. Keep listening and write them down as soon as you can.

Always Follow Up

Nearly every interview requires a follow-up call or email to check facts or ask an additional question. In my experience, subjects appreciate when you take the time to get the story right. Make that call or send a quick email. And always remember to say thank you.

Assignment: Set up and conduct an interview with your profile subject. Afterward, reflect on what you did well and what you would like to improve on for the next interview.

Read More