Communication World (CW)
Grayton Integrated Publishing
Client: International Association of Business Communicators (IABC)
Audience: Decision makers and professionals engaged in strategic business communication management
- To improve the readability of CW magazine, which IABC members rank as their No. 1 membership benefit
- To create a flexible, copy-centric design that would enable the editorial team to better present information
When Grayton Integrated Publishing came on board in 2005 to provide editing, design, and production services for CW, IABC was not looking for a dramatic change in the look of its magazine. The bimonthly publication had recently been redesigned and had garnered an award, yet readers complained about a busy design that made it difficult to distinguish between editorial and advertising, with “pointless and counterproductive bells and whistles,” as one reader put it.
Grayton began by cleaning up the design, eliminating type-on-tone elements that decreased readability, and making the publication look less like a brochure and more like a magazine. The feedback was immediate, with readers applauding the new three-column format and shorter, easier-to-read copy blocks.
Buoyed by the positive response, Grayton and the IABC team conducted a complete makeover, which debuted in 2006.
A post-redesign readership survey revealed that 82% of respondents found CW easy to navigate and 78% were satisfied with its design. “Thank goodness you changed the layout,” wrote one reader. “I like it much better than the typographical orgy from a year or so ago. It is handsome and much easier to use. All grown up.”
“The clean, sleek design represented a major shift in IABC’s visual identity,” said Natasha Nicholson, vice president of publishing and research at IABC and executive editor of CW. “With readership satisfaction no longer an issue, we’ve been freed up to focus on other challenges, such as making the magazine much more global in scope.”