Impact Magazine Design

The Adventure of Design and Layout

impactmagWe recently helped the Michigan Technological University School of Business and Economics create the latest issue of their Impact Magazine. This annual magazine highlights the accomplishments of both students and alumni from Tech’s highly successful business programs.






After meeting with the School of Business (SBE), we got the go-ahead to have some fun with the cover. A theme throughout this issue highlights the importance of the “hands-on experience” that MTU students receive. We decided to interpret this literally on the cover by illustrating a hand featuring important names and quotes from the issue. We had one funny realization during the sketching phase: putting someone’s name on the middle finger seemed to send the wrong message! In the end we settled on stretching one of the Dean’s great quotes across all four fingers.


Carrying the “hands-on” theme through the issue was also a lot of fun for us. Hand-drawing lettering at a large scale and then scaling to fit the layout provides a unique look that breaks up the monotony of clean digital fonts. We pulled out great quotes like this one below, from Cedric Kennedy to create interest in the stories.

Here’s another layout where hand drawing a font and frames for the photos made it stand out from normal hyper-clean digital layouts. It was interesting to work with a client who was interested in a more “organic” look, as it freed us up to try different layout techniques.


Unique page layout is important in keeping readers engaged. The remarkable Hugh Makens’ article read like a manual or cookbook for  a successful life and career. We decided to use the “Recipe for Success” idea as a way to work some cooking themes into his layout.


The “Q & A” section is a staple of Impact Magazine so we decided to not change this layout too much. Below is the old layout and the new one with hand-drawn elements.



Design, copywriting, photography and layout for a magazine can be a complex task, but it is one that we enjoy, and this project was extra fun! Thanks to Michigan Tech’s SBE for letting us work with them on their Impact Magazine. Read the full issue online here.