Immediately following the website launch in November 2018, the first opportunity we had to apply our new design tool kit was for the redesign of our quarterly Members’ Magazine. The marketing and communications team wanted to modernize the magazine using some of the content strategy and storytelling approaches we applied to the web—more editorial photography, stories that felt more like journalism than a collection of bulletins, and a design that felt dynamic and worthy of leaving out on a coffee table.

I have found that having content strategy capabilities makes or breaks your ability to have impact with museum stakeholders. Museums are content machines. My colleagues at the Art Institute are masters of academic and interpretive writing, and there are endless pools of content—literally over 125 years—that they can pull from or create in quick turn. But what has not historically been a part of this process is working collaboratively with designers to build off of one another to shape a narrative experience together.

With a new design system in place for the Member’s Magazine, the communications team and I built a new workflow that brought design thinking to the table months in advance to print, allowing us to creatively align the design, photography, and copy.