As a writer and former features editor with a background in ‘big publishing’, it probably comes as no surprise that I’m a huge fan of magazines. When my former employers, Arts University Bournemouth (AUB), asked me to produce their new alumni magazine it was a bit of a dream come true.

What was the brief?

The brief from AUB was fairly open:

How can we create an alumni magazine that engages stakeholders on every level, while shunning the traditional, chest-beating style often adopted by HE institutions?

I’d be working with their partner agency, Bond & Coyne, on the magazine’s design, which would be loosely based on their ‘One Piece of Advice’ alumni initiative. The editorial direction and just about everything else was up to me.

Creating a new magazine 1

What did I do?

Through a series of workshops with AUB’s marketing team and Bond & Coyne, I developed the magazine’s editorial direction, produced a list of potential features, planned out the editorial workflow and briefed contributing staff.

I worked closely with photographer and AUB alumnus Bill Bradshaw and the designers at Bond & Coyne, who commissioned illustration graduates from the university for the magazine’s artwork.

With copy for the magazine coming in from around 15 contributors, I edited every piece to ensure the overall tone and flow of the editorial was coherent, while retaining the individual voices throughout.

I was also incredibly fortunate to contribute one of the magazine’s larger features — an in-depth interview with legendary architect Sir Peter Cook.

The whole project, from concept to completion, took around three months.

Creating a new magazine 2

What was the reaction?

The One Piece of Advice magazine was launched at a major event in Bournemouth where it received high praise from the university’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor, alumni and contributors. The first issue featured 100 pages of interviews, essays, and artwork by AUB staff, students, and alumni.

I went on to produce three more issues of One Piece of Advice as its editor-in-chief. They featured the likes of Morag Myerscough, Hattie & Flora, and Bob & Roberta Smith.

All four issues are sadly out of print (although I’ve naturally stashed a few away), but you can download PDF versions from Arts University Bournemouth’s website.

Photography: Bill Bradshaw