Northwestern Magazine is the alumni publication of Northwestern University, the prestigious private research and teaching university based in Evanston, Illinois. Last updated by Pentagram in 2010, the university communications team returned for a rethinking of the print magazine and, in addition, a full website redesign.
The University is comprised of 11 undergraduate and professional schools. The design was required to work well with the University’s updated branding but also have its own distinct editorial voice. The look has a deliberate, bold, straightforward, Midwestern honesty. The editorial team, working with editorial consultant Jay Heinrichs, restructured parts of the magazine, adjusting sections and adding departments.
The website and print magazine are both clear and easy to navigate with a structure that puts great emphasis on the strong photography and illustration. The site navigation quickly allows readers to find content by magazine section or by topic via an ‘Explore Stories' tab. The site also allows alumni to submit class notes directly from the site.
The same content is featured on the site as in the print magazine along with short news headlines and links integrated into the home page. In addition pull quotes and call-to-actions are woven into the modular design. Once deeper in the site there is a hierarchy of stories which allows the reader to intuitively understand the relative significance of a piece. For instance feature stories are given more prominence with customized pull quotes, sidebars and embedded videos. These bespoke stories are easily created by the editorial team within the content management system.
The magazine won a Gold in the 2020 CASE Circle of Excellence Awards.