Alumni Magazines and Higher Ed. Marketing Photography

Wagner College

The photo above was used as a double-truck contents page in an alumni publication, on this year’s calendar and in the most recent viewbook for Wagner College.   Don’t let these attractive and useful pictures get lost in an archive.

I just came across this in Aphotoeditor blog. My first thought was wow, Pentagram Design reworked the Auburn University alumni magazine, but what is most interesting is the comments by the photographers.  I do not think any have an understanding of the needs of alumni publications.

The best alumni magazines are the ones which are well organized and make the best use of images.  High quality visuals are usually reserved for the most prominent placement, but there is such an important place for the “lesser” images.  Pictures of faculty, students and alumni to go with many notations of achievement or the infamous class notes seem not to get the visual attention they require. In part it has to do with “making due”.  These publications depend upon submissions and therefore whatever they receive is what they have to work with.

Wagner College in Staten Island, NY addresses this reality extremely well.  Nina Ovryn a NJ based designer,  has created a wonderful alumni publication which give great design and thoughtful articles in a well organized way.  This happened because of the commitment of the communications office and the support of the institution.

Even if most of my work at a college is for admissions marketing there will always be time carved out for the alumni magazine.  I ask before I arrive on a campus if any of the “list” is for the magazine.  If they say no, I at least suggest that they consider the magazines needs.  School departments which communicate and share resources will always come out looking great to alumni and the prospective student.

Paul O’Mara

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