The University of Reading alumni magazine

Found in: Branding & publications

The brief

The University of Reading reviewed and decided it was time to update their Alumni Magazine, which is distributed to some 80,000 Alumni biannually. The Editorial Boards aim was to attract a wider audience, while consolidating its appeal to the current readership (which has an age range between 20 and 106). The magazine must be at once interesting, informative, fun and attractive. There were tight constraints for production cost and final weight of the magazine (for posting). Lift worked very closely with the Editorial Board, while also liasing with photographers and the printers to ensure that the project ran smoothly.

The approach

Through meetings with the Editorial board, we established the need to produce an up-to-date, eye-catching design, allowing flexibility for varied content within the magazine and flexibility for future editions. We wanted to develop a style which was on brand and instantly recognisable, without becoming ‘just another piece’ of University literature. Once the design was agreed, we worked closely with the Board to define the editorial style and tone as well as the treatment of images. The news pages are produced by a member of the Editorial Board, so we produced templates for internal use.

The outcome

The magazine is printed on 130gsm matt paper for the cover cover with 100gsm for the text pages. The front cover uses a full bleed photographic image relating to one of the feature articles. There is a horizontal bar containing the masthead and titles of the main features, which runs over the image and can be positioned at any height on the page (depending on the image used). The colour of the band is also from the feature article which is selected from the magazines colour palette. The colour scheme is a key part of achieving the magazines aims, so we selected a palate of colours which would be used throughout all editions. Images have always been an key element in the magazine and we wanted to retain the use of large-scale images wherever possible. To create a striking relationship between images, headlines and text we use the full extent of the page to bleed off images. Lift help to source and edit these images, ensuring that a high quality is maintained. The magazine uses three typefaces, two of which (Swift and Vesta) are specified within the university brand guidelines. The third typeface, Rockwell, is unique to this publication. It provides a strong contrast to the other two choices and is used for feature headings and also for the Masthead on the front cover. News pages, use three columns of text, interspersed with large images, and different stories are divided by heavy rules. The headings reflect the colours of the side navigation bars. Tint boxes pull out facts and other interesting or important information. Main feature pages use two columns of text for a longer line length to aid reading longer articles. The layout is flexible and allows for variety between pages. The variety of image size, and the use of pull-quotes and tint boxes for key information also keeps each spread looking fresh and individual. We will use the structure and guidelines established in this redesign to retain a consistency of style in the following issues of the magazine.

What our client thinks

“Lift exceeded expectations with their clean design and ideas which led to an issue which received universal praise from the alumni community and the Senior Management Board.” “As Editor of the University of Reading Magazine I have been consistently impressed with Jo and Matt’s attention to detail, innovation, work beyond the call of duty, professionalism and their ability to provide more than design services but a whole editorial consultancy package.” “I would recommend Lift without doubt to any potential clients. With the combination of outstanding skills and experience, it was a joy to deal with relaxed, humorous and enthusiastic people.” Trish O’Neill, Editor of University of Reading Magazine

Found in: Branding & publications

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