Publishing an Award Winner

What makes a magazine an award winner? At first, flashiness could be a factor—the surface design that catches a judge’s eye as he or she reviews hundreds of entries. But ultimately it takes more than that. Creating a truly worthy award winner requires a thoughtful process from beginning to end.

It all starts with the editorial content. What are the stories that will immerse the audience in the subject matter? This factor is especially important for member-based publications. The good news is you have the audience—now you just have to inform them, engage them, and tell them things they don’t already know.

If the editorial content is engaging, it is important that the visuals are as well. This means art-directing photographers to capture the meaning behind an article, whether it is through a portrait shoot or a photo essay. Take time to research and find imagery that is unexpected and spectacular. Work with illustrators to create images that add a layer to the story.

Great design grows from good content—when the designer truly connects with the edit to bring meaning to the surface. It is this synergy that ultimately engages the reader and will bring attention to your publication—including awards.

But it doesn’t end there. The quality of the final product is what makes a print publication unique. It is important that paper stock and printing are not short-changed. If the budget is an issue, the “less is more” approach should be used—less pages, more quality.

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New Article in Designer Magazine

Look for our article “alumni.magazine.edu: Publishing Your Alumni Magazine Online on a Blogging Platform” in the summer issue of Designer Magazine.

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Tufts Veterinary Medicine Wins Bronze

tvm_f09_cover_smTufts Veterinary Medicine received a Bronze award for Design Excellence from Association Media & Publishing. Creative Director, Kelly McMurray will be attending the annual meeting in Washington, D.C. June 14 – 16 to receive the award.

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Getting It All Done

the-d-team
We all know the economy is tight these days, and the belt is tightening even further on publication budgets. Perhaps you’re adapting by using freelancers instead of funding a staff position. Or maybe you’re forgoing freelancers and taking on a heavier workload yourself. Everyone, it seems, is doing more for less. So how do you get it all done?

The design workload—marketing materials, flyers, brochures, conference materials, books, websites, not to mention the main publication—can be negotiated in a number of ways. While it is unusual for the art director of a publication to be hands on with anything beyond the scope of the magazine itself, this is not so for designers at associations, where the scope of work tends to include other materials. Some associations have a Renaissance designer who is able to do it all, while others opt for working with an outside designer or design firm. Which is the best solution for your association? This can only be answered by evaluating your design needs, budget, and availability of talent.

First, it is important to look at the big picture of your annual workload, taking into consideration busy and slow times. It is doubtful that workflow will be even for the year, but when it is busy, can the flow be handled in-house? When it’s slow, are in-house designers using the time to tweak any issues with the visuals and the brand? Are they taking professional development classes, fine-tuning templates, and preparing for upcoming projects? Just be aware that if the slow period stretches too long, you may not have enough workflow during the year to justify a staff position and may decide to outsource all or part of the work.

The single biggest factor in deciding how to accomplish your workload is your budget. With economic times still being tough, you cannot afford to waste money. Look closely at the workflow and the job descriptions to ensure you have the best solution for your situation. This is important as there is such a wide range of responsibilities at associations.

Once you have a comprehensive overview of your project flow and worker capabilities, you may still be undecided on approach. Working in-house and outsourcing both have their pros and cons: When you have an in-house designer, you can walk over and discuss changes face to face, but mission creep and workflow can become a concern. If you’re working with a design firm, while a team will be dedicated to your publication, they will not be across the hall, or may not be as familiar with your association as a staff member would be. Create your own list of pros and cons to help you decide which situation is best for your association.

This article is an adaptation of “The D-Team,” published in Association Publishing.

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Cate Bulletin, 1920 – 1960

f09_catebulletin_cover_smOur first issue of Cate Bulletin, 1910–1960, is one of three chronicling the history and future of the Cate School. The design we developed integrated imagery from the Cate School archives with newly commissioned work for a feel that is both historic and fresh. You can view the digital replication on the Cate School website.

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It’s More Than a Blog

In our May/June issue of 2connect, we discussed the benefits of using blogging software to take your publication online, including the ability to share content through RSS, build on content through video- and photo sharing, and expand delivery by connecting to social media. There is no question that blogging software, such as WordPress, Typepad, or Blogger, is an excellent resource for creating an online publication on a tight budget. But is it right for your publication? Here are a few things to consider:

Web Address as Brand.
It goes without saying that your web address is part of your overall brand. The challenge of using some blogging systems is that your web address might have another brand embedded within it. If your publication’s title is “Magazine Monthly” and you’re using Google-owned blogspot, the web address would be magazinemonthly.blogspot.com. The better option, if you have available resources, would be to not only purchase the domain name of magazinemonthly.com but variations that might be used by your audience. Some variations might be magmonthly.com, magazinemonth.com, and magazine-monthly.com. For the really adventurous brands, try www.domai.nr, where you can find alternative domains, such as magazinemonth.ly or magazi.ne/monthly (monthly would be a subfolder).

Customize the Design.
There are hundreds of templates built using blogging software that can be further customized to visually relate to your print publication (if you have one). You may not get exactly what you want, but if you can let go of some of the details, you can get close. The key to using existing templates is the grid. Just as you would start by defining a grid system for your print publication, you need a strong, flexible grid in web design. Find a template with a good grid and let your web consultant apply your visual identity as best he can.

Maintaining It.
Many smaller publications cannot afford to build out a customized content management system (CMS). Blogging software comes with an easy-to-use CMS built in. It will take some time to learn the interface of the system, but for the most part they are WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) applications. Everybody’s favorite commands of copy and paste will work to get your text into the text editor. Uploading photos and videos is usually just a couple of extra clicks of the mouse. Many of the systems also allow you to customize access for the many people who maintain the website: For example, administrators who manage the site can access the entire CMS; editors are able to access articles and accept or decline comments; and contributors can post articles.

Examples.
WordPress: Go to wordpress.com to get your free (mydomain.wordpress.com) WordPress blog, or visit wordpress.org to download the system and apply it to your own domain name.

Typepad: Created by Six Apart, which also developed Movabletype, Typepad is a blogging and social networking development platform.

Blogger: Google owns this blogging platform. Strangely, when you create a blog, it’s not myblog.blogger.com, it’s myblog.blogspot.com.

Wicked Tasty Harvest: This is our latest redesign of a blogging template; it is built on the Typepad system. Check it out at www.wickedtastyharvest.com.

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