Bodoni or Copperplate? Helvetica or Verdana? Lucida or Geneva? Choosing just the right font can be as fraught with uncertainty as the decision parents make about what name to give their firstborn.
Come to think of it, it takes just about the same amount of time to grow a baby as it does to redesign a magazine, and both endeavors require reaching one consensus after another.
It was almost exactly nine months ago that we started our redesign process in earnest. Of course, before that, there had been endless brainstorming, much discussion and many, many meetings. Naturally, we talked a lot about you. What did our readers want? How could we best serve up the most appetizing version of the magazine possible? Were our goals realistic? Would you like us? I mean, really, really like us? But eventually there comes a time when you’ve got to stop talking and start doing. There was no getting around it: It was time to make this dream a reality.
And luckily, we knew just the person to do it: Our incredibly talented art director, Barbara Ferguson, took all of our disparate ideas from those endless meetings and came up with concrete representations.
We’d scribbled drawings and ripped pages we liked out of other publications, had indulged in wild flights of fancy and thrown around words like “modern,” “cleaner” and “cooler.” Then Barbara would go away for a while. When she came back, she’d show us pages that were, eerily, exactly what we hadn’t even known we’d meant. It was almost scary how she was able to translate our hazy meanderings into something real.
By now, we were well into our second trimester, and we could really start to feel that baby kick. Our feature stories were getting written and rewritten, the first illustrations were coming in (we were so proud!), the dazzling tones of our new color palette were finalized, and we could almost feel the heft and weight of the magazine in our arms when we gazed at our computer screens and marked up page galleys.
We knew the magazine would be brand new, but like any little one, it would resemble those who’d come before. Naturally, it would still reflect the university’s mission, and of course, the content would still be of great interest to USD alumni and friends. But we have lofty hopes for our new offspring. We want it to inspire and elevate, to amuse and edify, to entertain and surprise you in ways we haven’t even thought of yet. So we picked our pages apart — one by one — and put them back together again in a way that pleased us, knowing that our ultimate goal is to please you.
Some changes will be obvious: slightly bigger pages, greater emphasis on excellent photography and
illustration, a brand new font — it’s called “Myriad,” isn’t that a beautiful name? — greater attention to details, and a renewed dedication to reflecting the very best of all that the University of San Diego has to offer. There are so many changes in these pages that it’s hard to know which to focus on, but we hope you’ll be pleased: We’ve simplified your Class Notes, added a new Alumni Update section, revamped our Web site and launched a photo contest — all with the sole aim of giving you the very best magazine we can.
So please, let us know what you think about our newborn. As I write this inaugural editorial, I can only half-imagine the day our efforts will finally emerge, fully formed into the world. Then, our revamped USD Magazine will take wing and arrive in thousands of households, while we wait patiently for you to open its pages and take in its fresh new scent. Of course I can’t believe you won’t immediately fall in love with it — what parent doesn’t know with deep conviction that their own offspring is clearly the most special in the whole wide world? — but if you have critiques or comments, by all means, let us know.
We’ll be right here, taking care of our baby and helping it grow into the very best magazine it can possibly be.
— Julene Snyder, Editor