Westover School Alumni Magazine

The client

Westover School — A independent boarding and day high school for girls, located in Middlebury, Connecticut.

The project

Opus Design was asked to design Westover’s alumni magazine, which was currently being done in house.  This magazine informs the alumni of Westover about what is currently going on at the school and with their fellow alumni.  It keeps them connected to Westover.

Design challenge and approach

The approach was twofold.  First was designing a sophisticated magazine to appeal to the alumni who are now successful women, but are remembering their youthful high school years. Second was creating a template that could be consistent for alumni magazines to come. Our design company began by helping them create sections that fit the content and could contain the subjects they usually cover.  Now that they have sections like: letter from the head of the school, feature story, news, performances, sports and class notes, the design will be able to remain consistent for each alumni magazine with updated content.  The alumni can now easily find the performances that they were once a part of or the class notes to see what their peers are currently up to.

Magazine sections

Creating the templates for each section proved a challenge. While an overall type and color pallette was used, these magazines are full of photos which make the templates vary greatly.  For some sections the pictures were the feature and dictated the template.  With other sections the pictures had to correspond with the text dictating the placement.  To place the pictures and then label them, designer Ellery Curran used a consistent infographic of a number inside a circle throughout the magazine.  A great feature of  this magazine is the pictures from the alumni, so it’s key to keep them looking amazing in quality and design placement.  Ellery  was able to do this by intentionally sizing them to keep their resolution crisp and clear.

As Opus Design begins the design of our second alumni magazine for Westover, we have a clear vision of the magazine design.

The client:

Westover School, located in Connecticut, is an all-girls boarding and day school that inspires the intellectual, artist, athlete, and philosopher in each of its students. They publish and send a school alumni magazine several times a year.

The project:

The project is the third magazine for Westover by our design company.  The alumni magazine informs alumni of what is happening on campus and with their peers around the world.  This edition is full of articles about graduation, alumni reunion weekend and the power of women.  Bringing together the sophistication of where the alumni are now with the memories of their youth are what make this project successful.

Design challenge and approach:

Designer Ellery Curran, designed this magazine after a visit to the Westover Campus.  It is not always possible for our graphic designer to be on-site with a client, but when we can be there in person, it can give a fresh perspective. Ellery and Lily learned about campus traditions, rivalries and community history that makes Westover so special.

The challenge with magazine design, especially class notes, are the layouts of the photos.  Westover is very lucky to have a wildly active alumni family who submits a lot of photos. Photos are pertinent to making the magazine personal to the alumni, but can be challenging to style. They may be sent with different resolution and size. The designer also needs to ensure that they fit the content.  So we have found that to reduce time editing and be the most cost-effective to our client, it is most efficient to wait until all the content is submitted. This is particularly important for the class notes section that ties photos to years.   When all the content has arrived, Ellery goes to work designing the best layout using the photos she has been given. Westover is great to work with.  Take a look at a few of the well-designed layouts of this magazine.

Inside the Westover school alumni magazine

2-page spread in the school alumni magazine


Here is what Rich Beebe at Westover had to say about the alumni magazine layouts.

“You transformed what I would think of as “just okay” photos into really dynamic design elements within your layout.”

“Looking through it, your design just conveys so much energy … the same kind of energy our students, alumnae, and faculty give off in person. From a design perspective, I have somewhat of an idea of how you folks managed to pull that trick off, but I know I wouldn’t have been able to figure out how to do that on my own. So … thank you again!”