Bates Magazine redesign

The Spring 2012 issue of Bates Magazine presents a major redesign of the college’s flagship publication first launched in 1921. Below, we anticipate various questions about the redesign and try to offer helpful answers.

This image was broadcast on campus monitors during Reunion. "Coming times" is a phrase from Bates' founding days that's now in the college mission statement: "Bates is a college for coming times."

This image, featuring the cover of the first college magazine alongside the redesigned Bates Magazine, was featured on various campus widescreen monitors during Reunion. The phrase "coming times" is from Bates' founding days; it's now part of the college mission statement: "Bates is a college for coming times."

If you have questions or comments about Bates Magazine, please email

1. Why? Why redesign Bates Magazine?

2. What can I do to help?

3. Does the new magazine cost more?

4. Who is Bates Magazine for?

5. Why not publish on the web?

6. Isn’t the magazine a fundraising publication?

7. How will the magazine support specific fundraising programs?

8. How does the redesign accomplish this?

9. Why is the new magazine this size and look?

10. What are the magazine’s green and sustainable attributes?


1. Why? Why redesign Bates Magazine?

We have redesigned Bates Magazine in order to best reflect our college — a place that is bold, actively engaged, innovative, supportive, academically rigorous, principled and valued.

Three years ago, a Bates Magazine survey told us that readers want to know more, much more, about what’s happening on campus:

More stories about “what’s happening on campus”
More “stories about students”
More stories that reveal “what students are thinking”
More stories about history and traditions
More stories about facilities, growth and challenges facing Bates

The new magazine architecture offers the best way to tell these stories.

Through further discussions with various Bates constituencies, we arrived at a certain Bates “personality” for the magazine. As the flagship conversational partner of the Bates community, Bates Magazine should be:

Smart, in the sense of being contemplative, challenging, funny, confident
, candid, place-based, humanistic
, familiar, entertaining, fresh
, informative, useful, eco-responsible

To convey these attributes and support the college’s communications strategy, Bates Magazine needed a new look and feel.

2. What can I do to help?

When Bates readers receive the new magazine, by the third week in June, we’d like them to think, “This must be the redesign I’ve heard about.”

You can help by using your Bates communications channels to talk up the coming magazine.
Please post a short note on your class Facebook page or send an email note to your classmates if you are in the habit of doing so.

Sample language: “The redesigned Bates Magazine is coming our way! New look, same Bates vibe, and President-elect Clayton Spencer on the cover!”

The cover of the Spring 2012 issue of redesigned Bates Magazine features President-elect Clayton Spencer, who takes office July 1.

The cover of the Spring 2012 issue of the redesigned Bates Magazine features President-elect Clayton Spencer, who takes office July 1.

3. Does the new magazine cost more?

The cost per copy is nearly identical to the prior publication. There is no decrease in total square inches compared to the prior publication.

4. Who is Bates Magazine for?

The magazine’s primary audience is alumni, parents, faculty and staff, current students and friends and trustees. Within the alumni community are other community circles including multicultural and international alumni, LGBT alumni, young alumni (“Bobcats of the Last Decade”), older alumni and Maine alumni, to name a few.

The magazine’s secondary audience includes prospective students, Lewiston-Auburn community, peer colleges, prospective faculty and staff.

5. Why not publish on the web?

We are in a print and web era, each delivering a different reader experience.

Our survey indicates that the print publication is a powerful vehicle for engagement with Bates.

    • When asked if it strengthens their connection, 94 percent strongly agree or agree, which is 7 percent higher than national average.
  • 36 percent made a gift after reading the magazine (6 percent higher than national average);
  • 42 percent contacted a classmate or Bates friend (12 percent higher than national average);
  • 33 percent have discussed or forwarded an article or issue (similar to national average);

Of the readers surveyed, 69 percent spend more than a half hour with Bates Magazine.

Seventy percent of surveyed readers prefer to read the print issue, 11 percent prefer online, 19 percent want both.

6. Isn’t the magazine a fundraising publication?

The magazine should be an engagement publication, and as such, should certainly inspire gifts of time, talent and treasure in support of Bates.

Readers who learn more about the faculty, students, curriculum, athletics, arts, service and remarkable accomplishments will be inspired to be part of today’s Bates through philanthropy and volunteer leadership. And they will encourage their children to consider choosing Bates as their own college home.

7. How will Bates Magazine support specific institutional and advancement goals?

Bates Magazine will thread advancement messaging across a variety of platforms to foster the reader’s ongoing engagement with Bates, deepen his or her understanding of the college’s financial status and specify clear opportunities to act on behalf of Bates.

Key changes in the format and tone of that messaging:

  • Full-page ads will be replaced by targeted promos in the Class Notes section. Ninety percent of readers surveyed in 2009 indicated they were interested in Class Notes, making it the most-read part of the magazine.
  • Featured stories and briefs will inform readers about campus projects under way and on the horizon. These elements will give donors and potential donors background and understanding of the needs and impacts of gifts before for the “ask.”
  • Stories and briefs will highlight ways readers can get involved with Bates and build on their relationships with the college.

The tone of Advancement messaging will be straight-forward and transparent, providing a clear picture of the college’s existing needs and future goals and plans. This will build or improve upon the donor or potential donor’s connection to campus life at Bates and guide their philanthropy.

8. How does the redesign accomplish this?

Like most magazines, the front of the publication is a sensibly organized presentation of news, information, stories and photographs. Pacing, cadence and surprise are the hallmarks here as well as logical, consistent organization.

Bates in Brief comprises eight departments whose focus is self-evident and mostly on Bates life: Students, Campus, Academics, The College, Sports, Arts & Culture, Lewiston and The World.

We’ve also added Amusements. This section enjoys the fact that Bates people appreciate humor, wit, and whimsy when it comes to their Bates conversations.

The feature section offers deeper opportunities for articles that resonate with Bates values and culture, pieces that offer:

  • critical, moral and ethical engagement
  • contemplation and reflection
  • debate and discussion
  • entertainment and delight

Class Notes is virtually unchanged but with a bit more focus on alumni in their careers. The concluding pages offer more space for historical story telling.

9. Why is the new magazine this size and look?

Size: At 7 inches by 11 inches, this is a confident, sensibly sized publication that’s meant to move, literally. We call it “portable Bates.” Take it with you. After you finish reading Bates Magazine, please consider passing it on to others who might benefit from knowing Bates better, or drop it off at your gym, hair place or doctor’s office to share a little Bates with the world.

Uncoated paper: The use of uncoated paper supports the authentic, unvarnished, ethical, straight-talking voice of the magazine. And our great Bates photography will still shine!

Perfect binding: The use of perfect binding, rather than saddle stitching (staples) enhances the physical presence and boldness of the magazine, as well as the sense of durability about Bates and its values. It conveys the sense of the “whole package.”

10. What are the magazine’s green and sustainable attributes?

  • The magazine’s new size (7 inches by 11 inches) makes the most efficient use of the “parent” sheet size of 23 inches by 29 inches. Less paper waste.
  • Bates Magazine is printed with vegetable-based inks on Forest Stewardship Council-certified paper, featuring exceptionally high (50 percent) recycled content, of which 100 percent is postconsumer recycled material.
  • Bates Magazine is printed at family-owned Penmor Lithographers in Lewiston — a seven-minute drive from campus.