The Critical Steps to a Successful Magazine Redesign

The way editorial and design works together in a magazine is one of the reasons people pick it up and read it. But the actual production of a magazine can be so time-consuming—the development, printing, and distribution—that it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture over time. Once you’re able to step back and take a look at whether the elements of your publication are working together, you might find that it’s time to redesign. Now what?

Step 1. Define why you need to redesign Is your publication meeting reader expectations? Are the design and editorial working as a cohesive package? Is there new direction driven by the editor to be considered? Are there budgetary concerns? Assess the publication from the point of view of all departments: editorial, design, advertising, and circulation.

Step 2. Get Everyone’s Buy-in A successful redesign comes from positive collaboration. Work with all pertinent departments to develop a plan to achieve your goals.

Step 3. Complete Market Research Find out who your readers are. What other magazines and newspapers are they reading? What Web sites and blogs are they visiting? What TV shows do they watch?

Step 4. Determine the Scope of the Redesign Based on the scope of the project, what’s the best way to execute the redesign? Are you looking at minor changes or a complete overhaul? Can you execute the redesign in-house or do you need to outsource it?

Step 5. Set a Schedule and Commit to a Launch Date Whether you do the redesign in-house or outsource it, you will need time to review the design with your staff. There will be lots of back and forth, so be sure to set a realistic timetable to accommodate input from all interested parties.

Now you are ready to kick off the actual process…

Attend the Folio 2008 conference in Chicago, Ill., to hear what happens next. Creative Director Kelly McMurray will lead the session titled “The Six Steps to a Successful Magazine Redesign” on September 23 at 9:45 a.m. Visit Folio Show for more information and to register. Can’t make it? Email me, and I’ll send you a copy of the lecture.

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