Revamped Auburn Magazine Takes Flight
When two Auburn University students or alums meet they exchange the customary verbal greeting “War Eagle!”. There’s also a real eagle at Auburn who flies over the stadium crowd during football games. So when DJ Stout found out that one of the stories planned for the launch issue of the Auburn magazine he was redesigning featured Auburn’s Southwestern Raptor Center (who care for the much revered “War Eagle”) he knew it had to be the cover. “I love it when you can kill two birds with one stone with a cover solution like that,” says Stout. “Using a powerful portrait of the school’s beloved football mascot for a cover feature on a prized academic institution like the Raptor Center is a total WIN WIN scenario in the magazine world.”
Stout and his team in Austin worked with Editor Betsy Robertson and her staff to completely revamp the university’s alumni magazine which debuts this week. For the Southwestern Raptor Center feature Stout commissioned fellow Austin resident Randal Ford (of Dairy Today fame) to shoot portraits of some of the birds being cared for at the Raptor Center in Auburn.
The departments and reoccurring sections of the magazine were simplified and designed to be more consistent in look and feel from front to back. “There’s a tendency to overdesign those kinds of non-feature pages because the in-house designers are trying to overcompensate for the normally uninspiring art and photography that alumni magazines routinely have to work with because of low art budgets,” says Stout. “The key is to use cheap art in smart ways.”
Heritage and tradition is extremely important at Auburn so whenever possible Stout and his team infused the new publication with nostalgic moments and nuggets of university trivia. The reworked pacing of the publication downplays the dry, but required, content like stories about budgets and boards and graphically highlights the more interesting stories about alums and student activities.