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Magazine Design Project

We worked with Drexel University College of Medicine to create a design for its Alumni Magazine and produce it twice a year.

Don’t let the glossy cover fool you: Alumni magazines are workhorse publications. They reconnect alumni with their alma maters. They remind donors of the good work their donations make possible. They inform the community of the institution’s accomplishments. They attract new applicants.

Leaders of Drexel University College of Medicine wanted their new Alumni Magazine to be modern and sophisticated, while earning a prestigious place on the home coffee tables or medical waiting rooms of alums.

To meet this challenge, Hollister Creative focused on the most important building block of magazine design: exceptional photography. In the startup planning stages, Hollister and its partners in the College of Medicine’s Marketing & Communications Department agreed to engage professional photographers and to go the extra mile (literally and figuratively) to photograph subjects in their own environments. The inaugural cover featured a Drexel alumnus who serves as a captain in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, Madigan Army Medical Center. The photo was shot on location near Seattle.

Each article in the magazine has its own individual page design, with unique elements and colors informed by the article’s subject matter and photography. Unifying elements, such as consistent body type, give the whole magazine a cohesive look.

Here are three steps we took to earn that coveted coffee table spot:

  1. Plan the cover photo with extra care. For subject matter, few things can beat a human face in a compelling context. Getting that kind of photo is always our first choice. We make sure the photographer knows in advance where within the photo frame space is needed for the nameplate and teaser text.
  2. Be generous with white space. Roomy is always better than cramped. Compare a splashy tabloid magazine, like Star, with a sophisticated, design-centric publication, like Martha Stewart Living. Star crams every inch of the page with photos and text. Martha‘s clean and roomy design invites the eye to relax, savor and linger.
  3. Give each story its own personality. Within a consistent overall aesthetic, we provide enough variation from story to story so that the reader feels fresh excitement with each new subject.

Are you ready to have a conversation about your magazine?

Call Kim Landry at 484.829.0021 or

Click here to view an ebook of the Drexel University College of Medicine Alumni Magazine


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