TNLA Training Manual


Texas Nursery & Landscape Association (TNLA) reached out to us to see if we could update the training manual they used in their landscape professional certification program. To provide a little background, TNLA is an organization dedicated to providing the framework, tools, and education so their members can serve as an authority on issues impacting the Texas Green Industry.

A cover image for technical documentation training manual

The Beginning

When TNLA contacted us to discuss the project they were only looking to update the illustrations in their existing training manual. During the initial review of the reference they provided we saw there were a number of issues.

First and foremost, the images in the manual were degraded to the point that it was difficult to see detail and understand what the composition included. Along with that, the text (callouts and charts) were hand written and embedded in the images. This meant two things, new reference would need to be gathered for the illustrations and the text inside an image would need to be retyped.

The second issue was the manual was extremely text heavy, without supporting images, which made it difficult to read.

Also, the design did not include any graphic elements that would have added visual “breaks” for the reader.

After discussion, the client did not want to change the body text so the scope of the project consisted of over 250 illustrations and charts as well as redesigning the manual.

Old Manual

  • Degraded images
  • Illegible text in the images and chart

The Process


The illustration categories included landscape plans, surveying, structures, equipment, plants, trees, shrubs, soil and insects. Some had sub categories such as plant stems, level, buds, roots and flowers.

Due to the poor quality of the original images a significant part of the illustration process was to find adequate reference to draw the illustrations. After this was accomplished we were able to accurately represent the subject matter.

We used line art, and solid fills where needed, to simplify and manage the time it took for each illustration. The subject matter was varied there was not a lot of opportunity to repurpose different elements from one illustration to another.

Design & Layout

The objective we had redesigning the manual included updating it to a more modern look, increasing the size of the images, adding graphic elements and color to highlight important information and visual interest.

One of the obstacles we had with the design was the requirement to keep the original text. This meant there were pages that did not have any graphic elements or images. We were able to improve readability by adjusting the font size, leading and tracking.

New Manual

  • New vector artwork
  • Legible text

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