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How can you dramatically improve the look of your school’s magazine?

Rosemont School of the Holy Child — an independent, coed, Catholic school — came to Hollister Creative seeking a fresh design for its signature publication, Cachet. Throughout its evolution from newsletter to magazine, Cachet has proudly shared the interests and accomplishments of students in nursery school through 8th grade, as well as faculty and alumni — giving it an important role in school communications and institutional advancement.

School leaders believed that Cachet could have even greater impact if the next step in its evolution were an upgrade to true magazine quality in its design and production values. They envisioned a magazine that would reflect the school’s deep respect for tradition, as well as its embrace of modern technology and techniques. They wanted readers to experience both the seriousness of the school’s educational mission and the joyful learning atmosphere. Working closely with the Rosemont School team, we believe we achieved that.

When upgrading any publication design, adding air and using bleeds will help tremendously. But when redesigning a school magazine, how you handle photos of people is key.

  1. Vary the photos in size and shape. That is a challenge because there will be lots — and lots — of horizontal group photos. You have to keep in mind that, to at least one reader, the face of the kid fifth from the left on page 8 is the most important square inch of the publication. And you have to balance that with visual interest that can only be achieved by having other photos that are larger, smaller, square or vertical. Silhouetting one photo on a spread is always a good way to avoid photo monotony.
  2. Avoid clumped photos and gang captions. When group photos are arranged tightly together on a page, the reader has trouble distinguishing one from another. After finally locating a familiar face in the crowd, that reader gets even more frustrated when you make him search through a multi-photo gang caption to find the corresponding name. In most cases, you will make your page more inviting and reader-friendly by spacing out the photos and giving each one its own caption.
  3. Plan for a big, beautiful cover photo. It is very difficult, perhaps impossible, to craft a high-impact cover from an assortment of small, cluttered pictures. On the other hand, a single large photo will look hugely awful if it is of poor quality artistically, technically or (shudder to think) both. So plan well in advance: (a) hire a professional photographer — yes it costs money, but just do it; (b) decide who and what will be in the photo; and (c) schedule the shoot early on so that everyone can be there, dressed properly and ready for their close-ups.


Need help with your school's magazine?

Call Kim Landry at 484.829.0021 or