Main content

Music Journal

We quickly realised the potential to relaunch the ISM's members’ magazine as a much more powerful advocacy tool.

As a starting point, we knew that, anecdotally, the existing magazine was well-loved by a small minority of members but actively ignored by the vast majority, and never seen by non-members.

We worked in partnership with their communications team to rethink the magazine from scratch. We changed everything – from stock to typography, from editorial policies to distribution.

We used an uncoated, environmentally credible paper stock. It feels warm to the touch and is non-reflective (which is very important to the older demographic of readers/members). The typography has a light but formal feel, with differences in colour palette and layout defining three ‘sections’ of content.

The new design has played an important role in repositioning the ISM as a credible membership organisation, it’s been enthusiastically received by readers and has prompted a marked increase in advertising sales.

ISM : Music Journal - First Cover

A portrait image of Mike Davies, in black and white

The ISM team were really receptive to change which made our job much easier. Together we refocused the purpose of the magazine from an informal (occasionally chaotic) bulletin into an informed and authoritative journal.

Mike Davies
The first edition of the redesigned Music Journal, it features a close up image of a hand playing a double bass, there is some motion in the hand
A selection of Music Journal covers focusing on the hand palying the instrument apart from one that shows a close up of a singer on stage, all the covers have dark backgrounds

ISM : Music Journal - Cover Selection1

We originally designed the magazine as a template, to be used by the ISM's in-house team. They were so pleased with our work that they've asked us to design every subsequent issue.

ISM : Music Journal - MJ Front Section Spreads

I remember well what the ISM’s publications and communications looked and ‘felt’ like in the years BC (before Cog). We are growing our membership (at a rate which is sometimes hard to keep up with) and we are being taken seriously by parliament and the wider arts world. We now have a firm foundation on which to grow as an organisation. So long may the Cog/ISM relationship continue!

Kim Davenport Gee
Publications & Events Manager
Example spreads from the front of the Music Journal showing it's section colour coding and grid layout
Example spreads from the features section of the Music Journal showing it's section colour coding, grid layout and use of full page images in the case od a Ship at sea in the North pole with an iceberg in the background, and a portrait of Sir Mark Elder the Conducter of the Hàlle Orchestra, Manchest
Example spreads from the back section of the Music Journal showing it's section colour coding and grid layout

ISM : Music Journal- MJ Back Section Spreads

Example spreads showing the three distinct sections of the Music Journal (far left) the plum front news section, (middle) blue features section and the orange listings back section (left).

ISM : Music Journal - End Quote

The ISM have shared dozens of positive messages with us, including this, from an older member:

What an improvement! It's so much easier to see the clear print, and it's on a matt surface with no glare. The highlighting and layout make it simpler to navigate around the different topics. Now I feel encouraged to read it cover to cover, whereas I previously hardly bothered to even dip into it. Moreover, the crisp pages are a joy to handle.

Quick links & downloads