An Alumni Magazine for the Top International Studies Graduate School
To further strengthen the national and global institutional profile of Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), we redesigned SAIS Magazine to showcase the School’s rapidly evolving curricular offerings and intellectual vibrancy. Working with editorial consultant Sue DePasquale, we created and implemented an architecture for the print edition that would translate seamlessly to the new digital version of the magazine, designed and developed in partnership with Friends of the Web. Overall, the redesign creates a stronger visual impact for the magazine, with a better balance between compelling, large images and smaller ones, more white space throughout the publication, and a more sophisticated use of typography and color.
Bold and Distinctive
The layout of the new magazine is clean and dynamic, with an emphasis on strong photography and illustration, and bold, black headlines. The front cover of the magazine is trimmed to reveal the nameplate on the contents page. The narrow inside-front-cover contains the Dean’s welcome note. The table of contents captures the editorial hierarchy of the issue and sets readers up for easy navigation.
The structure and pacing is based on the “sandwich” principle, where the feature stories are located in the center of the magazine, sandwiched on either end by supporting news and alumni information. Visually defined through the colors of the globe, the upfront “news” section is blue and the back “alumni” section is green.
Focusing on curricular innovations, program/faculty growth, thought leadership, and the student experience, the editorial departments reinforce SAIS as the epicenter for issues in international affairs. The layouts entice readers with varied approaches to storytelling, including opinion forums, Q&As, first-person essays, and recurring columns. The upfront section of the magazine is broken into four departments:
• Overheard contrasts photographic spreads with typographic compositions. “Campus Visitor” covers a notable speaker through a double-page photo and brief supporting copy, whereas “Quotable” visually displays a collection of quotes from distinguished on-campus speakers.
• Dispatch contains “SAIS News”: a selection of short stories important to the overall life of SAIS, “SAIS In the News”: exemplifying SAIS faculty as thought leaders with quick summaries of reports, research, or interviews that made the news, and “Sphere of Influence”: a first-person faculty column on a SAIS course or program.
• Forum is issue-driven and reinforces a key message: that SAIS “creates an environment where the world’s most pressing issues are addressed and debated.” Structured as a Q&A, “International Debate” poses a provocative question that captures an issue currently in the world arena and invites short responses from alumni and faculty.
• Real World is aimed at showcasing the hands-on opportunities SAIS offers for students to connect theoretical knowledge with real world issues. A blue divider page introduces “Beyond the Classroom,” a round-up of three student projects.
“As an alum and faculty member, I know how hard and important it is to have a good vehicle for connecting SAISers at all levels and stages of life. You’ve done it brilliantly here, and I am so glad you did!”
The feature well is a space for compelling long-form narrative, focused on teaching and learning initiatives at SAIS, outward trends and issues in international affairs, and SAIS’ 75th anniversary year. Feature stories are anchored by highly visually opening spreads and contain multiple points of entry on supporting pages, including sidebars, callouts, additional artwork, and online resources.
Similar to the upfront section, the back of the magazine is divided into four departments: In Print, Philanthropy, Alumni, and Annals.
Leading off this section, “Q&A with Author” chooses one notable book to highlight with a wide-ranging series of questions and answers. Campaign goals and gift opportunities are included in “Shape the World.” Introduced by a green divider that mirrors its blue counterpart upfront, “Alumni” consists of class notes and alumni profiles.
Finally, “Annals” closes the magazine with an image from the SAIS archives, capturing a moment in history during which a SAISer weighed in or played an important role. In this issue, and in celebration of SAIS’ 75th anniversary, we share a reproduction of the minutes when Johns Hopkins leaders moved to have SAIS officially become a division of the university.
Given that one of the two issues per year will be available online only, the digital platform for SAIS Magazine was a critical component of the redesign. Fully responsive and easily navigable, the structure and design mirror its print counterpart. Highlights include a virtual bookshelf and expandable class notes, organized by decade. The feature stories have complete continuity with the print version, offering a seamless transition between the two platforms.
The magazine can be enjoyed online at magazine.sais-jhu.edu.
“Wow! This is a great update on SAIS and it has all of the elements: news about the school’s leadership, curriculum, history, faculty, alumni and giving opportunities all leavened by short substantive articles on the wider world, recognizing the reason we love SAIS because it gives perspective on the international scene in these fast-changing times.”
SAIS alum and faculty member