Serving compelling content, these alumni publications are anything but basic.
Alumni publications serve a basic, but vital, function — they keep alumni connected to one another and to the alma mater. Meeting this basic need doesn’t require groundbreaking design or a compelling content strategy. But an alumni publication that serves only the basic need will always be just that: a basic alumni publication.
While there exist many basic alumni publications, there also exist many alumni publications that aim to serve their readership with elevated design and content.
These five alumni publications are anything but basic — they’re pack-in-your-bag, afternoon-escape great magazines.
Lift, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Background: Embry-Riddle — headquartered in Daytona Beach, Florida, with a second campus in Prescott, Arizona — is the world's largest fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace. Lift is a biannual publication created to maintain the relationship between alums and their alma mater.
We love: Its cohesive theme that informs both the content and design.
Takeaway: A well-planned and expertly executed theme can strengthen a publication’s content strategy by reinforcing the publication’s direction. It’s also fun and engaging, which doesn’t hurt.
Wheaton Magazine, Wheaton College
Background: Wheaton is a top-ranked liberal arts college in Wheaton, Illinois. Their eponymous magazine in an award-winner that offers pieces of thought leadership as well as stories about the college.
We love: Wheaton’s dynamic design that feels fresh and fun, yet sophisticated – a far cry from basic.
Takeaway: Daring design isn’t off-limits for publications that serve a mature audience — and, in fact, can create a well-suited backdrop to encompass the spirit of community and camaraderie alumni associations are heralded for.
Columbia Magazine, Columbia University
Background: When your university counts names like Barack Obama and Ruth Bader Ginsburg among its alums, it's clear there's no shortage of content to produce a solid quarterly alumni publication.
We love: “The Big Idea” department, a Q&A with university faculty that tackles wide-reaching, big-picture issues like cyberwarfare and the progressive food movement.
Takeaway: Alumni magazine ideas don’t need to be limited to a town, state or campus. With strategic implementation, big-picture content ideas can be right at home, too.
Kenyon College Alumni Bulletin, Kenyon College
Background: A private liberal arts school in rural Ohio, Kenyon produces a content-packed publication that draws its strength from big thought pieces.
We love: The “Hot Sheet” department, a comical, quick-hitting cheat sheet divulging the inside jokes of Kenyon College — that is, if colleges could have inside jokes.
Takeaway: At a college known for its liberal arts institutions, the written word is no laughing matter. But even publications of an astute nature can indulge in comic relief.
Johns Hopkins Magazine, Johns Hopkins University
Background: Founded in 1876, Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins is the nation's first research university. Fittingly, its quarterly alumni publication is packed with weighty, thought-provoking features.
We love: Its artful mesh of academia and compelling storytelling.
Takeaway: It’s not easy to write about science, technology, history and the like with page-turning tact, but Johns Hopkins Magazine could convince you otherwise. Engaging content delivery can ensure the target message is not only sent, but also received — no matter the complexity.