How to redesign for readership improvement…

Interview by Anna Rivers, Marketing Manager

 

 

Matrix Print Consultants Ltd offer a wide range of printing products and graphic design services. In total, Adriano Cattini, Art Director, looks after the design for six membership magazines: The Institution of Lighting Professionals, The National Hair Federation, Riding for the Disabled Association, The Society of Light and Lighting, Endurance GB and Shiatsu Society.

 

Adriano was recently shortlisted for Best Newcomer award in the memcom membership excellence awards. This award recognises an individual who has made a huge impact in less than 12 months in the role and gives the opportunity to offer public recognition for their contribution within the membership, marketing or communications fields.

 

Ahead of the awards ceremony on 16th May, we caught up with Adriano about the recent redesign of The Institution of Lighting Professionals (The ILP) member magazine Lighting Journal and the readership improvements thereafter…

 


 By Adriano Cattini, Art Director

 

The intro…

 

Lighting Journal is the monthly members’ magazine of The Institution of Lighting Professionals (The ILP). Distributed nationally and internationally, Lighting Journal is highly regarded within the industry for its authoritative thought leadership on all aspects of the lighting profession. It’s a quality vehicle for reaching a diverse audience in lighting procurement and an ideal way to network products and services.

 

We were asked to modernise Lighting Journal in order to make it appeal to current readers and also to attract new younger lighting designers to the publication. Nearly everyone who first sees the journal nowadays is surprised by the creativity and overall design and yet the magazine still serves as a factual, accurate journal and is used as a tool by its members.

 

The before and after…

 

 

The original publication looked very old and tired with poor navigation and a boring colour palette. In some places eligible typography existed. It didn’t look like it had been designed with any care or a designer’s eye or indeed by one of its readers, who are forward thinking masters of their trade. 

 

The redesign brought Lighting Journal into the 21st century. It’s now a modern, fresh magazine. We’ve managed the space and pace of the magazine. New design architecture and a single spot colour for each issue has helped with navigation and has given the publication detailed elements and personality.

 

We went back to basics with the grid, starting with a blank slate. We chose clearer typefaces which allowed us to be bold with headlines to complement the imagery. We also reduced word counts and added more white space.

 

Images which are sent in to the publication are often low in resolution, and sometimes even unusable, so we’ve acted creatively and illustrated features with clever solutions redrawing all the diagrams to look like they were created by the same hand for instance.

 

We try to tell stories with art to engage readers, even those that wouldn’t normally read the journal. We wanted readers to involve themselves with the publication, to feel excited by each feature and to keep coming back for more.

 

The results…

 

Subscribers love the magazine and more sign up every issue. They feel it adds real value to their memberships. We’ve seen a 15% increase in subscriptions to Lighting Journal, a 54% increase in readership online (now reaching 61 countries) and advertising is moving in very positive direction.

 

Top tips on creating a design which increases reader engagement…

 

Always think about your audience. (and the advertisers who are spending a lot of money to reach them!) What do they need and like? It’s always a good thing to listen to your readers – they’re passionate and care about your end-result. Try to inject that passion into imagery, typography and overall layout. Allow space to help navigate the eye around the page in the way you want the reader to experience the content for the first time.

 

Inspiration is everywhere. I’ve learnt that creativity and an eye for detail is a must. I try to look at what’s around me always, taking inspiration from everything and anything in the world – not just what the competition is doing. 

 

Keep a consistent template. It represents your brand’s value. Think about the brand – is the organisation’s message clear and the same in every issue?

 

It’s not just imagery that can have impact. Words can be just as playful as photos and illustrations. When you have no images, get exciting with typography.

 

Create an interesting cover. The cover is key to engaging readers from the start. Try to be creative. Source impactful imagery to draw readers in.

 

Teamwork. Listen to your editor. They create the content. And hopefully the editor will listen to you about design choices.

 

You don’t need a huge budget. In fact, financial limitations can create some really great results. It’s harder but more fun!

 

Print out your work. It seems silly to say it but always print out your work and see how it looks before committing to a design. You’re designing for print so print it out!


In total, Adriano Cattini, Art Director, looks after the design for six membership magazines: The Institution of Lighting Professionals, The National Hair Federation, Riding for the Disabled Association, The Society of Light and Lighting, Endurance GB and Shiatsu Society. Here are some interesting ‘befores’ (on the left) and ‘afters’…