Most colleges claim to be “like no other,” yet their magazines come across as “like all others.”

Following a coaching collaboration with Zehno, Rice University’s magazine leans in on the school’s quirky culture and dives deep into its storied research achievements.

 With an offbeat structure and newsstand pop, the revamped Rice Magazine embraces the school’s “unconventional wisdom” brand, which celebrates breakthrough knowledge and nerd chic.

Rice Magazine Illustration

Challenges

  • Experiment with voices and visuals to be more Rice-like.
  • Broaden how a hyper-powered research school defines new knowledge.
  • Play up Rice’s brainy-cool culture — the folklore of generations — at every turn.
  • Rejigger departments and signature story types to extend the schools “unconventional wisdom” brand.
  • Bring in a curated set of class notes.

Results

ELEVATED RESEARCH

The new Wisdom section soared to the top with readers — drawing 80% or more in read/skim scores.

Exclamation mark!

AWARD-WINNING

Rice Magazine won an excellence award for best redesign from UCDA and made the top 31 in SPD’s Members’ Choice cover contest, alongside Time, Bloomberg, Oprah and others.

 

MORE CONNECTED

More than 70% of readers agreed that the magazine keeps them connected to Rice University.

Rice Magazine cover and spread

Rice Magazine wisdom section

Rice Magazine infographic

Rice Magazine alumni section

Rice Magazine alumni section

STAND-OUT CONTENT ALWAYS STANDS APART

From a cover story that starts on page 1 to a Wisdom section that presents research with newsstand flair, this magazine stands out from the crowd.

In our Ask the Expert series, Rice Magazine’s editor Lynn Gosnell shares how unconventional content like a pro-wrestlers cover shot and a recurring “I’m a Nerd About…” story give this mag a personality of its own.

TAKE THE NEXT STEP

Next time budget slashers descend on your office, be prepared to answer what it actually accomplishes.

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What Zehno did

  • Audit and strategic recommendations.
  • Content strategy with new sections and story types.
  • Mood boards and design direction.
  • Coaching through prototype and first issue.

Rice Magazine contents section

 

Tips for your team

  1. Shake up the structure. Breaking the FOB/features/BOB routine can be a strategic way to capture reader attention.
  2. Upgrade the visuals. Work with illustrators, photographers and infographic creators who can deliver the newsstand quality you deserve.
  3. Take the pulse. A mini-survey after each issue asks, among other things, “Did you learn something new about Rice?”

WHAT GOES INTO A STRATEGIC REDESIGN?

In this free webinar, Shane Shanks shows how to bring your magazine’s content strategy in line with where your institution is heading today.

Watch the webinar