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Professional journal design

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Journal design

Re- design for suite of professional journals

This project saw the introduction of a completely new design, size and approach to production for eight specialist nursing journals for RCN Publishing - a client of over 12 years. Briefed to refresh their long-standing design to be 'less tabloid', we took a clean, clear, consistent and professional visual approach which reflected their serious, often academic, content. A decision was made too to move away from design being varied slightly for each journal - which had previously been the case - and instead to create a common look-and-feel, presenting them very clearly as a related group.

Style-guides and studio support

Once the design had been agreed, production dummies were created for each of the journals, printed and taken to focus groups for comment and discussion. Minor changes were then made before full production templates and graphic libraries were created for provision to the in-house RCN Publishing studio. Alongside this, a complete style-guide was created - giving everything from overall approach to photography to detailed instructions on line-spacing - and support was given to their studio during transition to the new design.

Nursing Standard

Magazine re-designThis project followed our successful re-design of RCN Publishing's flagship journal Nursing Standard, which - with a circulation of around 70,000 copies per week - has grown to be the UK's best selling nursing journal. The journal re-design process followed a similar approach to that for the specialist journals, with the client commenting after launch "...the re-design has transformed Nursing Standard into a magazine that really delivers what readers want. As well as vision and creativity [Virtual] brings the all-important ability to develop a rapport with the in-house team and to really understand the reader. A rare combination of talents."

Website design, development and maintenance

In addition to our involvement with this client's printed journals, we're also contracted to take care of their websites. Each journal has an associated site which we've designed and developed, and maintain on a day-to-day basis. Each of the ten websites offers extensive functionality - users are able to make secure subscriptions to access protected site content and can take advantage of reader offers,sign up for product discounts, take part in polls, enter competitions and submit articles. The heart of the sites though is a clinical archive of almost 7,000 articles, all fully searchable and downloadable for registered users.

The site back-end allows RCN Publishing administrators to handle personal user queries and to maintain institutional access via IP address. It also offers the ability to set up special offers and associated promotions to tie in with HTML email campaigns, and automatically emails users at the point of subscription renewal. Extensive reporting covers everything from the most popular search terms used, to number of site logins, to subscription bailouts to specific campaign conversions.

We're currently redeveloping the sites as part of an overarching project to implement a bespoke-built content management system.

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