Massage Therapy Journal’s award-winning entry—its Spring 2007 issue—marked the one-year anniversary of the quarterly magazine’s redesign. According to Valerie Danner, managing editor of MTJ, the change was much needed. “The look and content was just getting stale,” she says. “Our last redesign was before 2000. We did surveys with our members and they told us that they really value MTJ but that it was missing the mark in what they wanted.”
More Entry Points
So Danner, along with designer Whitney Larson, set out to give their readers what they wanted: first, more visuals and entry points.
For the winning entry, this included a feature on affordable office design techniques. To enhance the content, they worked with a stylist for the first time and built a set, decorated with plants, flowers, and a serene color scheme, to visually represent the article’s suggestions.
What has also been working well, says Danner, is Larson’s attention to technical aspects of massage. “She knows our audience and pays attention to details of accuracy, things our members will notice if they aren’t correct.”
“We try to put ourselves in the shoes of the massage therapist,” says Larson. “If we are shooting in a beautiful studio, we need to make sure the elements are believable and relate to the day-to-day triumphs and obstacles our audience faces.”
Another objective for Larson was negotiating the amount of photography versus illustration and striking the right color scheme and typography treatments between each article.
Danner cites another negotiation—between editorial/design and ad placement. “We want to give our advertisers good placement,” she says, “but at the same time, we respect our design concept.”
Judges Comments: “The design was a mirror of not only the concept and idea but the overall message of the publication. Each article felt comfortable in the design. It flowed together from column to review to feature with ease. A veritable eye massage.”