Case Study

Taking Publication Strategy & Design Beyond Expectations

Expertise

Content Strategy

Design Strategy

Digital Publication Design & Development

Editorial Strategy

Magazine App Design & Development

Magazine Launch

Magazine Redesign

Magazine Website Design & Development

Marketing Strategy

Ongoing Magazine Design

Publication Rebrand

Publication Strategy

Recognition

American Advertising Awards, DC Chapter

Art Directors Club of Metropolitan Washington Annual Show

ASAE Gold Circle Awards

ASBPE Azbee Awards

Association Media & Publishing EXCEL Awards

Association Trends Awards

FOLIO: Ozzie Awards

IABC Silver Inkwell Awards

min Best of the Web Awards

min Editorial & Design Awards

MUSE Creative Awards

Print Regional Design Annual

SPD Annual

Summary

Beyond Definition empowers mission-driven organizations by aligning their brand with their publication, oftentimes through publication redesign. We have helped dozens of clients successfully bring their stories to life by creating something truly impactful. Whether it be print, digital, or a combination of the two, our team turns data-driven insights into actionable results from the creative ideation phase to the launch issue and beyond. We create an experience that attaches readers and organizations to their publication through extensive collaboration with the magazine’s editorial team while leveraging our extensive marketing, branding, and design expertise.

The Challenges

Non-profits, associations, and other organizations face a myriad of challenges when deciding to undergo a publication redesign. From outdated magazines trying to capture the attention of a younger demographic without alienating their current audience to organizations needing their magazine to accurately reflect recent brand updates, Beyond Definition understands this process on a granular level. By combining an in-depth diagnostic and discovery phase with brand building strategies, we bring a holistic approach to publication design that creates a defined strategy, mission, and vision for the future.

Take WorldatWork, a global association for human resources management professionals and business leaders, who hadn’t updated its flagship magazine for over a decade before turning to Beyond Definition. We identified that the design of Workspan magazine was stale and outdated in comparison to the thought-provoking topics covered and progressive nature of its more than 70,000 readers. Our team ran with WorldatWork’s proprietary research to capture the refreshing vibe its audience craved, injecting Workspan with a provocative edge to allow for a more compelling reading experience.

“Congratulations on the new look of Workspan! It is fresh and nicely done. Feels much more up to date, and like a publication that would draw my attention in the airport – kind of like Fast Company!”

— Sara McAuley, CCP, WLCP, Managing Partner, McAuley Consulting Group, and Chair of the WorldatWork Association Board of Directors

Through bold feature articles, vibrant photography, and custom artwork, Beyond Definition thrust the launch issue of Workspan magazine into a new era. Initially brought in for just the publication redesign, we have since expanded our work with WorldatWork to maintain Workspan magazine on an ongoing basis.

Before Redesign

After Redesign

Diagnostics and Discovery

To kick-off every publication redesign, we collect high-level research during our diagnostics and discovery phase to further understand audience personas and where our client stands in relation to its competitors. We apply a variety of resources and tools to accurately capture the elements that make each client unique. This process often includes a combination of content audits, competitive analysis, analyzing previously conducted proprietary research, internal and external questionnaires, surveys, stakeholder interviews, and team workshops. The insights collected through this preliminary research is then used to develop a unified strategy that takes the client’s vision and elevates it by molding a particular style and tone for the new direction of the magazine.

“Our approach to magazine design is driven by the ultimate goal of strengthening engagement with the reader. We infuse conceptual thinking, strong typography, and readability, which brings the content to life through design.”

— Debbie Bates-Schrott, Founder & CEO, Beyond Definition

When we began work with the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO) in 2019, we knew it was imperative to design a visually appealing magazine that connected to NAPEO’s membership base as well as the larger job community. In addition to a visual redesign of PEO Insider, NAPEO’s top publication, Beyond Definition was also tasked with a full content strategy to inform a new editorial structure for the magazine.

A combination of research tactics were used to inform the development of PEO Insider’s new editorial and design direction, including a content audit of prior issues, in-depth stakeholder interviews, a reader survey, and a custom workshop with NAPEO’s staff that further explored the magazine’s content types, editorial structure, the tone and voice, and visual appeal. The results brought in a newer side of business to the magazine.

Before Redesign

After Redesign

Refined Messaging To Enhance Presence

How does relevant and thoughtful design impact the reader emotionally? It might be nostalgia, excitement, passion, inspiration, or a combination of different emotions. We try to take that emotional resonance and intensify it by enhancing the magazine’s visual appeal. Following the diagnostics and discovery phase, we begin adjusting the functional and illustrative components of a publication. This is where we narrow down typefaces, imagery styles, color palettes, and start bringing design concepts to fruition. We always deliver several concept directions to really nail the direction our client wants to take the redesign.

One of the keys to our success is determining early in the process what a magazine’s current strengths are, and figuring out how to maintain those while simultaneously improving its weaknesses. This can be especially tricky for organizations interested in modernizing its magazine to target a new demographic without losing their current readership.

The Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) tapped Beyond Definition to redesign Model Aviation, a leading magazine for model aviation hobbyists, after determining that they needed to grab the attention of younger enthusiasts. We found that a majority of the association’s members are 60 or older, with only six percent being younger than 40 and two percent being under the age of 35. Model Aviation presented an interesting scenario as 86 percent of members across all demographic groups overwhelmingly agree that AMA publications are extremely effective in providing them information and the knowledge they need in pursuing their model aviation hobby. However, AMA also understood the importance of evolving the magazine to engage new members.

“Beyond Definition redesigned our flagship magazine in 2018 and without question, they hit it out of the park! Not only were we impressed with the new look, but they excelled at pushing us to align the magazine more closely with the organizational mission and objectives. This was done through superb project management, in a collaborative environment that boosted the creativity of all involved. The end result was a more modern-looking magazine that could sit comfortably on a newsstand shelf, even though it does not, while maintaining a deep connection with its readers, and our members.”

— Rob Kurek, Communications Director, Academy of Model Aeronautics

Our team addressed the space and balance of content issues by reducing word counts, but maintained the publication’s large serif font for ideal readability. Strategic visuals were used with pops of color so the readers attention would be drawn in certain directions to arch an overall story.

Beyond Definition blended the past and present for Model Aviation, defining a new direction by moving some of the content online without losing the elements that made it so successful.

Redesign Concept Directions - Cover Samples

Before Redesign - Cover

After Redesign - Cover

Before Redesign - Feature Sample

After Redesign - Feature Sample

Connecting The Dots

Publication redesign never falls under a “one size fits all” category. Beyond Definition takes pride in doing so much more than simply laying out the pages. We create experiences for readers. Depending on the client’s needs, we can do everything from the launch issue to ongoing magazine design to a full-fledged marketing and brand strategy overhaul that encompasses the organization’s publication. Our team rethinks every aspect of a magazine to ultimately elevate a client’s brand through print and digital deliverables. This often requires a marketing touch to approach a publication redesign from every angle. We embody the brand, editorial, business, and most importantly, the audience of a magazine to push the final production beyond imagination.

We are able to work cohesively with clients for as long as they need us and enjoy building relationships that span years. For example, our team began working with the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) in 2006, creating style sheets to hand off to its internal editorial team.

Ten years later, FMCA turned to Beyond Definition for guidance on refreshing it’s magazine once again, this time to help bring its new name, Family RVing, to life with a fresh visual approach.

Before Redesign - Cover

After Redesign - Cover

We have extended relationships with other organizations like the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME). We rede signed its magazine (mt) in 2010, and have maintained production of each issue ever since. (mt) covers a broad spectrum of research on the latest technological breakthroughs, trends, concepts, and discoveries in the maritime industry.

An Industry-Agnostic Approach To Brand Development

Beyond Definition has proudly worked with leading organizations in a diverse group of industries including the National Association of Convenience Stories (NACS), the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA), the American Association for Community Colleges (AACC), the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), and more. We allow every client to drive their different touchpoints for success, taking the time and precision to really understand their unique industry and audience.

Impact And Results

Client: gategroup

Brief Scope: Gateway magazine published by gategroup, the leading independent global provider of products, services, and solutions related to a passenger’s on-board experience. Beyond Definition was approached by gategroup to design and launch Gateway as a travel lifestyle magazine. Inspired by simplistic and beautiful elements of Swiss-style design, we paired elegant culinary imagery with clean typography to bring this theme to life.

Client: American Society of Mechanical Engineers

Brief Scope: ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers), promotes the art, science, and practice of multidisciplinary engineering around the globe. Beyond Definition was tapped to conceptualize the launch of a new case study driven publication, which we named DEMAND. Targeted toward Engineering for Change, we also worked on a magazine application for ASME. Each issue displays custom illustrations and is created using only one color to highlight the stories of global development innovations that promote doing more with less.

Client: U.S. Marine Corps

Brief Scope: Beyond Definition began its work with the U.S. Marine Corps with a redesign of Marines magazine, and later expanded its relationship to design and launch a digital version of the magazine with an interactive digital publication app.

Before Redesign

After Redesign

Leading Organizations Into the Future

While a lot of creative work has been shifted to digital experiences, magazines still act as an effective way to deliver information and communicate through print. At Beyond Definition, we’re acknowledging future trends while maintaining the past. We have helped dozens of mission-driven organizations navigate an increasingly digital world by developing magazine websites, creating and maintaining apps, and working with clients to make their magazines stand out on every channel.

We currently manage the print and digital side of NACS magazine, published by the National Association of Convenience Stores, as well as being the strategy and creative agency working behind the NACS Foundation.

NACS Magazine Website

We also work with the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), where our team launched the initial print and digital redesign for Business Aviation Insider, alongside the publication’s online presence with the website creation. We now continue to design each issue’s features and maintain the magazine’s website.

“In combining extensive collaboration with proven marketing and design expertise, Beyond Definition creates an interactive experience that connects readers and organizations to their publication on a more intimate level.”

— Debbie Bates-Schrott, Founder & CEO, Beyond Definition

Let’s Further Your Mission Together

Publication design is the foundation of our agency. Our team members have been devoted to this work since 1993. Our deep understanding of creative and brand strategy lends itself to covering all aspects of a magazine from both a visual design and content marketing perspective. Redesigning a publication can be a complex journey. But it doesn’t have to be. Beyond Definition is fully equipped to take your publications beyond expectations.