Agency Conversations: Consulting a Magazine Redesign With Kentucky Living

The Beyond Definition team was hired by Kentucky Living Magazine to provide consulting services throughout the process of their Magazine redesign. They recognized our expertise in the field but had a full team of talented in-house designers that could equally carry out the tactical process of the redesign. They looked to the Beyond Definition team to provide a critical eye to the work they create and supply industry-leading best practices when it comes to updating your publication.

We had the opportunity to discuss the project with a member of the Kentucky Living team:

BD: How did the conversation begin with Beyond Definition?

KL: I met the Beyond Definition folks at a Niche conference, where Debbie Bates-Schrott was part of a presentation. I approached her with the idea of consulting with us on a redesign we were about to undertake internally.

BD: How did you decide to go this route with your Magazine Redesign?

KL: It was important to us at Kentucky Living that we used the talent of our three graphic designers inhouse for the redesign, but we also were seeking an agency seasoned in magazine design to provide us with feedback on creative, offer critiques, and help us when we were not sure about our direction on certain design decisions. We worked with Beyond Definition who outlined a plan to provide us with consulting, which included the discovery survey along with other meetings at key points during the redesign.

BD: What really stood out to you during the redesign process with the Beyond Definition Team?

KL: The ongoing conversations with the Beyond Definition team was important and helpful keep us focused. The Covid-19 project did not hold our graphic designers up too much. Beyond Definition helped us to identify the best order of steps for the redesign, which helped us to break it down into smaller parts. The critiques of our creative from Beyond Definition were very helpful. They provided us with suggestions for details, which gave us a better redesign in the end. They were a sounding board for us when we were divided on a few issues.

BD: How did they help your team excel?

KL: Beyond Definition helped us by beginning with a discovery survey, which surveys all team members. We then had to boil it down into one document, which was used to guide us during the redesign. Their feedback was professional—professional and honest—and our designers took to heart their recommendations, and also appreciated their positive reinforcement.

BD: What advice do you recommend for anyone going through a redesign?

KL: Involve the entire team to get buy-in, keep everyone informed and involved throughout the process, even if everyone does not need to attend all meetings. Give one person the authority to “push” the team to keep the project on deadline.

I don’t think doing a redesign internally is always the way to go. I have been through three redesigns in the 25 years that I’ve been at Kentucky Living. One internal redesign failed in my eyes, because we lacked any outside input, and the designer was not strong enough to lead the design. We felt confident our graphic designers’ skills and their ability to collaborate on the project.

Beyond Definition also wanted to make sure that when dividing up the work that we did not come out with three different looks, with three different designers were coming up with creative. Our designers met weekly to review their ideas, and they then presented the team with various creative ideas. Throughout the process, we blended each of the designers’ ideas into the final design.

Our designers assigned tasks, such as creating the grid or researching and selecting font,  to the person with the most expertise in that area.

BD: How important is it to find the right agency?

KL: Finding the right agency is critical to the success of the project, and keeping it on track. Outlining the scope of work is key in making sure both sides are clear on expectations.

The partnership spanned over a couple of months, starting with a kick-off meeting to set expectations and lay the groundwork for a successful redesign, followed by check-in meetings along the way to make sure that things continued along a successful path. The new and improved Kentucky Living Magazine is now available for viewing and we could not be prouder of the work our team and they put together over the course of the project.

Need help updating your publication?

The Beyond Definition team can help facilitate that conversation with your team to create a plan that makes sense for your unique publication. Contact us right here.

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Beyond Definition

Beyond Definition is a strategy and creative agency serving mission-driven organizations. For 16 years, Beyond Definition has offered design, branding, digital, marketing, and print expertise to clients in the association, foundation, and nonprofit sectors.

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