Rethinking the Traditional Alumni Magazine

Rethinking the Traditional Alumni Magazine Georgia State University recently finished up a complete overhaul of their alumni magazine. Creative Director José Reyes of the design firm Metaleap Creative gives us some insight into the process and a preview of the redesign after the jump.  

It is no secret that Alumni magazines exist on little to no art budget, serve a select group of people who want to see themselves grace its pages and are rarely exciting to anyone else but them.

After celebrating its 100th anniversary, Georgia State University was ready for a redesign, and excited to challenge much of what we know--and have come to dislike about alumni magazines and focus its pages on capturing the soul of a campus that is alive and thriving. Georgia State University is located in the heart of downtown Atlanta with an enrollment of 32,000 students and over 180,000 alumni spread across the state of Georgia and around the world. 

GSU is a quarterly publication, so it was important that the redesign embrace a philosophy around more in-depth personal story-telling that wouldn't become quickly dated. Another objective centered around the visual language. GSU has to speak to both a large alumni base and a young, racially and ethnically diverse campus. So, the typography and art needed to feel energetic, exciting and engaging from page to page.
In addition, recognizing that GSU exists within an ever-changing print landscape, it needed to adopt some changes in order to keep up with a culture that is moving to a more curated life. A culture that expects information to be timely. A culture that expects excellence from everything it touches and consumes. To that end, the magazine redesign, led by José Reyes at award-winning Metaleap Creative, adopted a new set of rules for it to operate by:
• Increase the size of the magazine to 9 × 12" in order to create a more relaxed and luxurious experience.
• Direct the attention of the audience to their second point of contact--touch--and print on uncoated paper creating a subtle clue that this title is important and worth keeping.
• Publish all photos and other art submitted by alumni exclusively online so that they are timely, easily cataloged, searchable and shareable.
• Mandate that all art that appears within the magazine will be original commissions by artists working within the industry, so that the visual experience of the magazine will be consistent from beginning to end.
Finally, one of the things we love most is casting a vision of 'what is possible' with a client that may be having a hard time simply moving beyond the 'what is.' We are grateful to have a client (and editor) who was willing to trust our experience, our choices and most importantly, our gut! Of course, we can't say enough for all of the artists who we have been able to build relationships with over the years and who, when you surround yourself with extremely talented people like them, make the job of any redesign a great privilege.

Design Firm: Metaleap Creative
Creative Director: José Reyes
Designers: Tiffany Forrester, Harold Velarde
Contributing Illustrators: Adam Cruft, Todd Detwiler, Andy Friedman, La Tigre, Steve Wacksman
Contributing Photographers: Andrew Thomas Lee, Josh Meister

  • Alex Nabaum

    Oooh nice José!

  • Chris Skiles

    This looks amazing. Makes me wish I had graduated from GSU so I could get one of these in the mail. Kudos to you, Mr. José Reyes.

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