Getting the word out: DEAF LIFE flyers through the years

Until it set up its own Website, DEAF LIFE’s chief means of advertising were word of mouth, the occasional TV or newspaper writeup, and, of course, flyers. The first flyers were designed and printed in 1985-86, and distributed to friends and colleagues, especially at NTID. The information included in each flyer has been continually revamped, reflecting acceptance of credit-card and foreign orders and DEAF LIFE’s growing sophistication. Current DEAF LIFE flyers include subscription and ordering information for several Deaf Life Press books.

The original flyer for DEAF LIFE’s Trial Issue, whose publication was originally slated for Summer 1986, featured a mock-up cover photo of Debbie Rennie, clown, mime, poet, and artist, who was profiled in that issue. But since the cover story was about the National Theatre of the Deaf’s founding members, a color shot from an NTD production, as used on the Trial Issue cover, was substituted on the next batch of flyers.

The next flyer design featured the finished Trial Issue cover design . . . mysteriously upside down! This prototype was never printed, though.

After the Trial Issue was published (finally!) in July 1987, DEAF LIFE began soliciting subscriptions. During the year between the Trial Issue and the first regular monthly issue (July 1988), this flyer was used. It featured the NTD cover shot—right side up—and comments from enthusiastic customers.

This was another prototype flyer that was never printed. No poster was printed, either. The quality of the cover photo used for DEAF LIFE’s first monthly issue (July 1988) was a bit too overexposed to make a really good poster. But the July 1988 issue is a rarity now—a collector’s item.

This full-color, 2-sided flyer featured the cover from DEAF LIFE’s October 1988 issue, its first “Miss Deaf America” profile. Brandi Sculthorpe, Miss Deaf America 1988-90, later married Tim Rarus, who had achieved fame as one of the four student leaders in the March 1988 “Deaf President Now” uprising at Gallaudet University. Incidentally, Brandi’s cover pose inspired a new namesign for her.

The flip side of the “Brandi” flyer included the July 1988 cover.

DEAF LIFE marked its first year of monthly publication with the July 1989 issue. This flyer used the cover design from that issue. Copies were distributed at The DEAF WAY Conference and Festival in Washington, D.C. (July 9-14, 1989). The DEAF LIFE staff continued to receive order forms clipped or copied from this flyer for many years afterwards.

The flip side of the “first-anniversary” flyer.

This colorful flyer was published and distributed in 1991.

The flip side of the 1991 flyer. Note the credit-card-order section.
DEAF LIFE was now able to accept credit cards.

Life just gets more complicated. By 1992, MSM Productions, Ltd. had started Deaf Life Press. DEAF LIFE had a sleek new logo. As more books were published, more detailed flyers were needed. This flyer dates from 1996-97—after the publication of Great Deaf Americans: The Second Edition, but before the publication of Robert F. Panara’s On His Deafness.

The 1996-97 flyer included subscription and book-order information for foreign customers . . . and the URL of the new DEAF LIFE Website.

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