Course  ·  Part 6  ·  Assignment 4


Portfolio Brief

Editorial Design

 Time limit: 15 hours

Create a schedule for this brief, then use your visual timer to keep things on track.



In this 15-hour brief, apply your knowledge of editorial design to create some pages for a charity report.

We’ve provided text and photos from one of the RNLI Lifeboats charity’s annual reports. (It’s a wonderful organisation, by the way, and one that you might be interested in finding out more about  , particularly if you live in the United Kingdom.)


Carefully read the brief below, and then use what you’ve learned to complete the listed deliverables.

The Brief


Founded in 1824, RNLI Lifeboats is a charity working to end preventable drowning. Its activities include a 24/7 search and rescue lifeboat service, as well as campaigns to educate people about water safety and thereby reduce the number of people getting into trouble.

The project

The charity have asked you to design a few sample pages of their annual report so that they can review it and provide feedback.


  • All of the copy provided below should be included in the design. There are five pages to design in total.
  • The paper size is A4. The first page is the front cover. Pages 2-3 form the first two-page spread, and pages 4-5 form the second two-page spread.
  • You can use all, some, or none of the photographs provided. You can also use responsibly sourced photography from sites like Unsplash   and Pexels  .
  • You can choose any colour palette and any fonts, but you should make these choices in light of your research into the charity, its values, and its work, as well as your learning about colour and typography in Parts 4 and 5.


  1. Idea generation notes
  2. Research notes on RNLI Lifeboats, its work, and its values
  3. One or more moodboards that capture your intended graphic design direction
  4. A range of thumbnail sketches to explore different layouts
  5. A full-size sketch of your intended design for the five pages
  6. A digitised version of your design, created in either Figma or InDesign
  7. A PDF export of your design
If you have time:
  1. Another two-page spread — the content is included below

Content to include



[RNLI logo]

[Report title:] RNLI Annual Report and Accounts 2019

[Report subtitle:] We are one crew. This is our watch


Annual Report of the Trustees of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution

We are the RNLI: the charity that saves lives at sea

Every day of every year, people of all backgrounds get into danger in the water.

It’s a problem we’re here to tackle.

We’re here to explain the risks, share safety knowledge and rescue people whose lives are in danger.

We’re here to work with others to make the water a safer place for everyone.

We’re here to prevent tragedies inshore and offshore. And with your help, we always will be.


01 Welcome
03 What we do
05 Our impact
13 Our plans
17 Financial review
23 Governance
35 Independent auditor's report
37 Financial statements
43 Notes to the accounts
69 Officers and contacts

73 Our structure
75 Thank you


What we do

We save lives and prevent drowning through these key activities:


Our lifeboat crews aim to launch within 10 minutes of being alerted, and can operate up to 100 nautical miles out to sea. We aim to reach at least 90% of casualties within 10 nautical miles of the coast, within 30 minutes of a lifeboat launch – in any weather. Most crew members are volunteers.


Our lifeguards aim to reach anyone up to 300m from shore, within the red and yellow flags on RNLI-patrolled beaches, within 3½ minutes.

Water Safety

Making people safer is core to the RNLI’s operations. We use research, targeted campaigns and lifesaving plans to encourage changes in people’s behaviour, in and around the water.

Flood Rescue

With sufficient notice, our flood rescue teams can reach nearly any flood rendezvous point in the UK within 6 hours.


We work with partners globally and in countries with a high-drowning burden to elevate the drowning problem onto the global agenda, widen the research base, grow skills and identify cost-effective and practical solutions to save more lives.


As a charity, we rely on the generous support of donors to meet the cost of our lifesaving activities. We set exacting standards in our fundraising to protect and maintain good relationships with our supporters and ensure financial stability.

Saving Lives

RNLI volunteer lifeboat crews provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the UK and Ireland, and our seasonal lifeguards look after people on busy beaches. Our in-house experts and specially trained volunteers also support flood rescue throughout the UK.

More Than a Rescue Service

Wherever drowning occurs, we aim to defeat it. With your support the RNLI can break the drowning chain and make early interventions by influencing, supervising and educating people. We work with partners to understand the risks and offer innovative solutions – and our Water Safety teams share that knowledge with anyone using the water to keep them safer. We share that expertise internationally too. We give support to countries where drowning rates are significant, and work with like-minded organisations to raise awareness of the problem and how we can address it together.

These lifesaving activities are underpinned by people and initiatives that raise funds and ensure that we are wellgoverned and compliant.

Our Volunteers

Volunteers are the lifeblood of our charity, supported by expert staff to enable communities to save lives. Around 95% of RNLI people are volunteers – including more than 5,600 crew members, 3,500 shore crew (including station management), 180 lifeguards and 23,000 fundraisers. Thousands more dedicated volunteers raise awareness, give safety advice and help in our museums, shops and offices.



[Simple infographic:]

RNLI Facts and Figures

5,600+ crew members
1,500+ lifeguards
95% of RNLI people are volunteers

Case Study

Six saved in severe gale

Bronze Medal rescue

Dean Hegarty, Coxswain of Castletownbere lifeboat, will receive the RNLI’s Bronze Medal for Gallantry in May 2020 for the dramatic rescue of six fishermen.

The large fishing vessel Clodagh O had lost all power after fouling its propeller. Drifting close to Piper Rocks in grim weather, its six-man crew were in grave danger.

Our lifesavers launched their Severn class lifeboat in darkness into a force 9 gale, with driving rain and heavy squalls. Arriving on scene, the lifeboat volunteers saw the vessel was in a precarious position.

Dean decided it was better to establish a tow, rather than risk taking the men off amid the huge swells. With the weather deteriorating fast, there was only a short window to do this before the vessel would be dashed onto the rocks.

Dean skilfully manoeuvred the allweather lifeboat into position and, while he held it steady in mountainous seas, his crew mates on deck set up a tow rope.

It took an hour to carefully tow the fishing boat and her crew through the churning harbour mouth and back to the safety of the pier.

Crew Members John Paul Downey, David Fenton, Seamus Harrington, Martin O’Donoghue, and Deputy Launching Authority Michael Martin-Sullivan, received a framed Letter of Thanks from the RNLI’s Chairman for their part in the mission.

RNLI Chief Executive Mark Dowie says: ‘These awards mark the courage, skill and dedication shown by the coxswain, crew and officials involved and are testament to their outstanding teamwork and seamanship in perilous conditions.

[Pull quote:] ‘Sea conditions were very poor. The wind and tide churned it up like an explosion.’ —Dean Hegarty, Coxswain, Castletownbere


In conclusion...

Congratulations on completing your second portfolio brief! Remember, discussion and peer support is always available over in our Slack workspace  .

After the next short reflection exercise, let’s move into the third and final brief — an information design project.

Assignment version 1.0
Last updated 7 June 2021


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