After six years and more than 12 issues, my magazine design contract is no more

One of my favorite regular projects has sadly come to an end in 2017 – The Lake Erie Alumni Magazine design and production. Budget cuts have brought it in-house. It was a pleasure to work on since they initially contracted me to redesign it in 2011.

It saddens me because it was a welcome diversion from the online techie stuff that consumes most of my days and nights. It was a pure design job that was a creative outlet each Spring and Fall.

Special thanks to magazine editor and terrific human being, Holly Menzie

It was also a pure joy to work with my friend, Holly Menzie. She’s the Editor and a heck of a copy writer. She became the one and only team leader when it was found that the committee approach (several years ago) was completely counter-productive. We developed a super-smooth system that was efficient and fulfilling. We should write a book on developing the perfect work model for creatives. Upon my receiving the articles and photos, I’d design the first draft within four weeks and we’d usually have only two rounds of fairly minor revisions and we’d have it to the printer in less than two weeks from the first proof.


“Barry Edwards is a wonderfully creative designer who is a joy to work with.  He made Lake Erie College’s alumni magazine an award-worthy publication; every issue was beautiful.  Working with Barry was the best part of my work at the College.”

Holly Menzie

Editor, Lake Erie College

Tribute to the Alumni Magazine

Below you’ll find some cover samples and spreads from select issues of the Alumni Magazine along with further explanation of the creation process. Click on images to enlarge.

Magazine purpose

The purpose of the alumni magazine was to strengthen relationships with former alum for the sake of generating donations. It was strictly a PR piece to keep the College brand in a positive light with its valued former students.

Size of the Alumni Magazine

The magazine’s size varied over the years from 36 pages to 80 pages. I usually received the photos before the text docs, which was great for me, because I calibrated the lighting and color of each one. There were typically over 200 photos in each issue, so that was a lot of work up front.

“I wanted to share with you how much praise the magazine has been generating. President Victor stopped Susan and me in the hall this morning and relayed the comments of several of the trustees, who said it is a beautiful publication, the best the College has ever produced. Faculty and staff members have passed on their accolades, and we’ve received e-mails from several alumni and friends, who love everything about it.

Thank you, Barry, for all you did to put together this gorgeous piece. You are a talented designer, and it was a pleasure working with you. We look forward to collaborating with you again on future magazines!”

Holly Menzie

Editor, Lake Erie College

The design concept

The design concept was to be light, colorful and orderly. We always wanted the reader to know where they were in the magazine, so we added color bars to the sides to denote our individual sections.

At the same time, Holly liked a bit of an organic look – articles that would span 1.5 pages rather than always confined to the 8.5 x 11″ page. I thought this was brilliant and incorporated the layout as often as possible.

Photography usage

I always wanted the photos to be as bright as possible. When calibrating, I’d favor blowing out the whites a little and lightening shadows. I’d also over-saturate the colors a bit. I’d always want our readers to leave our publication feeling cheery and upbeat about the proud college.

Fortunately, the photos that I was receiving over the years were getting better and better in quality as digital photography technology improved. Receiving low resolution digital photos was becoming less of a problem as well. Since this was a PR piece, we tried to use more photos than text and I usually tried to use one main photo that I would “ghost” the background on to make the layout more dynamic.

I also utilized a “filmstrip” look with photos quite often – especially with the theatre articles. Contrasting this with an occasional circular frame added even more to the dynamic.

Interested in my magazine design or redesign services

Contact me today. Let me know how many pages that you intend the magazine to be and more importantly, what is its main purpose?

Do you have existing branding guidelines that need to be followed? Is this a multi-issue contract or one-time design. The more information that you can provide, the more accurately I can quote the project.

Thank you for thinking of me for this. I promise to do my best to over-deliver!

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