Each issue of USF Magazine is much like a work of theater—the final product is the result of months of planning, prepping, and behind-the-scenes work by a whole range of people. This issue, however, represents an even larger undertaking than usual as it showcases the first redesign of USF Magazine since fall 2002.
In the world of publications, seven years using one design is quite awhile—design trends come and go, aesthetics shift. Yet from the beginning, we opted to broaden our concept of a “redesign,” looking not only at the physical design of the magazine, but also its content. Are we covering the right things? Does the mix of stories accurately reflect the university? What would readers like to see more of? Less of?
More than 1,500 of you responded to these and other questions we posed in a readership survey earlier this year. The results helped inform the changes we ultimately made—a completely rethought news section and shorter feature stories and more of them, to name a few.
You also told us you’d like to see more articles that tackle challenging topics. Not only did we listen, but we also decided to debut our redesigned magazine with just such a cover story, “Being Catholic.” The topic—USF’s Catholic identity—is a provocative one, to be sure, but it’s one we felt worthy of discussion. Our instruction to the freelance journalist (an award-winning religion writer) who wrote the piece was simple: Explore how USF expresses its Catholic faith and then write an article about what you find.
On the design side of things, our talented design team spent much of the summer discussing such topics as white space, fonts, and design grids, and incorporating those ideas into a new look for USF Magazine. We then put the new design to the test in focus groups. The groups’ responses were overwhelmingly positive, but when something clearly wasn’t working for them, we went back to the drawing board and started again.
Their comments, like all the feedback we received throughout the process, were invaluable in helping redesign the magazine. I am grateful for all of it and for all the thought and effort my colleagues have devoted to creating a redesigned magazine. I am proud of the final product and believe that it accomplishes what we set out to do—further connect readers with the University of San Francisco, and doing so with an updated and more contemporary design.
Now, however, we put our work to the ultimate test—you. Let us know what you think of our efforts. Whatever your opinion, I’d like to hear it.
Editor, USF Magazine
P.S. In case anyone’s curious, that’s me in the green sweater.