An interview with the Head of Studio on the BDA redesign
We are creative folk in the Century One design studio; we like clean lines, beautiful photography, and Apple products. But redesigning a magazine is not simply about aesthetics; it’s about design, function, purpose and communication. An effective design can create a lasting impression on your readers and helps to build an audience-based community around it.
And as the newly re-launched and redesigned Dietetics Today magazine is hot off the presses, I dragged her away from flat planning and sat down with Heena Gudka, Head of Studio at Century One Publishing, to discuss the design and production process behind it all…
Me: What was the biggest challenge in redesigning Dietetics Today?
Heena: The biggest challenge in the redesign was the introduction of a consistent design structure in terms of both style and content. We thought that the previous layout was simple yet uninspired and would benefit from more structure to the pages. We wanted to create a clean, simple and contemporary design that would make the publication instantly recognisable and more importantly, memorable.
Me: In your view what was the biggest priority in redesigning the magazine?
Heena: The biggest priority was to focus on defining the various sections of the magazine, creating a smooth editorial pace and easing the reader journey through the magazine.
Me: How did you approach the brief to create a more engaging reading experience in print?
Heena: Our aim was to present information to tempt the readers in, for example, through the development of a distinctive style of call-to-action icons to increase reader engagement. Overall, the new design appears much lighter, more contemporary and inviting.
Me: Details matter. What are your favorite details and design features of the redesign?
Heena: I particularly love the folio styling and page headers which have both been streamlined for a fresher look and to help readers identify each section instantly.
Me: How did you choose the new colour palette?
Heena: We have implemented a fresher and brighter colour palette containing a selection of tints, neutral and complementary colours to add visual interest to the pages and help with the diversity of the design. For example, the Spanish Pink colour is used as an accent to create extra emphasis on certain parts of the text, within the designs; it’s all about effective communication. We also incorporated two shades of blue to the palette to complement the BDA logo.
Me: Page architecture is the foundation of a good redesign. How are the grids and columns configured for DT?
Heena: Page architecture is a very important element in the design of a magazine. We have used a variety of grid systems to allow for greater design flexibility, adding strength and pace to the layouts. A 7-column grid is used for features and a 4-column grid for the news pages. The aim was to also allow for a good amount of white space within the design that allowed the pages to breathe. A floating column space has been introduced to place icons and any extra information such as bylines, references and web links.
Me: What do you think BDA members will gain from this redesign?
Heena: The BDA team wanted the magazine to look fresh, colourful, clean and easy to navigate, whilst at the same time look professional but not to clinical or too academic. I feel we have achieved this and the BDA will no doubt increase its reader engagement. BDA members will receive a more current and inviting publication that reflects the strength of the editorial and the importance of the organisation.
Me: What do you personally look for in a great magazine design? And can you tell us some of your favourite magazines?
Heena: To me, a great magazine has to have the perfect balance of great design and informative editorial content. Strong photography and illustrations always draw me in and alongside this, good typography and layout really add to the overall impact. To decide whether a magazine is well designed, I always check whether the body text lines up at the top and bottom of the text block!
A couple of my favorite magazines are National Geographic and National Geographic Traveller, and now of course Dietetics Today!