Community College Journal Magazine Redesign

Challenge: Community College Journal is the flagship bi-monthly publication of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) that features comprehensive information about higher education. AACC’s membership includes over 90% of America’s community colleges, which ultimately represents 45% of all U.S. undergraduate students. AACC celebrated the 85th anniversary of the magazine in 2015 and wanted to move it into the 21st century with a modern and streamlined design. The main goal of the redesign was to transition the look of the magazine from stale to contemporary with the appeal to retain its niche readership.

Solution: To make the magazine more relatable, AACC tapped the creative services at Bates Creative. One of the most important focuses for the team at AACC was to deviate from using stock imagery, which they felt made Community College Journal too generic and impersonal. Bates Creative works with the AACC team to schedule and creatively direct photoshoots for each issue. Now, the magazine is rich with images of AACC members, students and community college campuses across the country so that each issue feels catered and personalized to its readership. In addition to photography, AACC was completely open to a new font set and a redesigned nameplate. Because 75% of current community college presidents are set to retire in the next seven years, the modernized nameplate appeals to the new generation of presidents who will take over those positions. Overall, the magazine redesign features an image-centric aesthetic without a heavy saturation of text to allow the message of each feature to have ample breathing room. The new design enhances the rich content about innovative practices that are helping community colleges meet the demands of students, the community and employers across the country. Bates Creative continues to work with the AACC team to design ongoing issues cover to cover.

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