A colleague asked me recently what it was like to work on a magazine redesign. We’d been toiling away on the project for several months with a high degree of anticipation, so I ventured that it was like having a baby.
“Except no one tells you they don’t like your baby,” she replied, exposing an imperfect analogy.
Well, the “birth” took place – not too painful. And the result is in your hands. What do you think? You may have already formed a first impression, but let me tell you where this new design came from and how the magazine’s content has changed.
Earlier this year, we hired Underline Studio – a small, award-winning Toronto design shop, to come up with a new look for U of T Magazine. We wanted to mirror what we felt was the character of U of T: dynamic and intelligent, elegant and clever. At the same time, recognizing the age range of our readers, we felt the design needed to be clear and easy-to-read, yet still youthful and energetic in tone.
Grads sometimes wrote in to ask about the logo on the magazine’s front cover. “Why tricolour? Why not blue and white?” So we got rid of the tricolour and the block letters, and replaced it with a completely new masthead that better reflects U of T’s visual identity.
The inside pages are cleaner and more streamlined, with more white space and clearer fonts. The new design uses Clifford for the main body-text, Chronicle Display, Acropolis and Helvetica Neue – all selected for their legibility and flexibility, important qualities of good magazine design.
We’ve introduced a new group of photographers and illustrators to give the magazine a fresher, more assertive visual style. You’ll notice more graphic elements to illustrate smaller stories. We’re also using more graphics within feature articles.
The back cover, which used to carry an ad, now highlights an important event – or series of events – happening at the university.
“Time Capsule,” our new back-page item, tells the story of an event or person from the university’s past. We’ve grouped university news stories in the “Life on Campus” section and articles about alumni in “All about Alumni.”
We’ve expanded the calendar and moved it closer to the front to ensure alumni know about the vast number of U of T events available to them. There’s more sports coverage in “Life on Campus,” with a full page devoted to intercollegiate teams and athletes. Leading Edge will continue to highlight how research by U of T professors and students is making a difference in the world and in the lives of Canadians.
There are several ways for alumni to contribute to the revamped magazine. First, we welcome letters to the editor and are always open to story suggestions.
For a new item called “First Person,” we’re seeking ideas for short personal essays by alumni about an interesting experience they had or the work they do. (In this issue, Globe and Mail political correspondent John Ibbitson, a 1979 Trinity grad, writes about his experience covering the American presidential election.)
We’re looking for U of T couples who feel they have a story to tell. You can be married or not, as long as both partners are grads.
We also want to hear about your favourite something related to U of T – a prof, course, place on campus, roommate, club, sport, etc. Finally, let us know what you think of the new design – if you like it, of course, but even if you don’t. I promise not to take it personally.