Yes and No



Yes and No.

No, the essential mission of the Oberlin Alumni Magazine hasn't changed. The magazine you hold in your hands still concentrates on its long-standing goal of informing alumni about Oberlin College and those who have studied here.

But, yes, this issue of the magazine does look different. The changes have been in the works for almost two years, when the College hired Kelly Viancourt as editor. Working with the Magazine (now Communications) Committee of the Alumni Association, Kelly supervised a survey of our readership and then a complete redesign of the magazine.

The redesign offered the staff and members of the committee a chance to think carefully about the magazine's purpose and how best to convey that purpose to our readers. After much discussion, we agreed that the content and design of the magazine should reflect the commitment of Oberlin College and its alumni to the rigorous and often unconventional pursuit of intellectual, social, and artistic excellence. This meant sharpening both the editorial focus of the magazine and its visual presentation.

While always concentrating on Oberlin and its alumni, the magazine will now also try to examine issues of concern to our graduates and to explore their wider role in the world. We have increased our use of freelance writers, photographers, and illustrators to improve the content.

Why should we care about improved design? Aren't good articles sufficient? Not really. A magazine's graphics are an integral part of its content. Design is not mere decoration. Good design is part of everything we touch, whether products or publications. No one, for instance, would suggest that a building serve only to keep out the rain. At their best, architects work to create structures that integrate the functional and the aesthetic.

Similarly, appropriate magazine design guides the reader's eye, indicating significance and providing rhythm and pacing. So last summer, we invited award-winning designer Daniel McClain, who has worked on dozens of consumer, trade, and alumni magazines, to help us create a more inviting and readable publication.

The rebirth of your alumni magazine is a work in progress. Many of the changes to be implemented by Kelly and Daniel are visible now. As the staff and committee look over the results of this initial issue, we will undoubtedly make further refinements. We do expect that by next fall the reborn Oberlin Alumni Magazine will be well in place.

Of course, being Oberlin alumni, our readers will have strong opinions on the changes in the magazine. We expect to hear from you . We look forward to your letters and will print a sampling of the dialogue we have begun with this issue. With your thoughts in mind, we will spend the next year fine-tuning the format until it reaches standards that Oberlin alumni expect.
Aaron Levin '68
Chair, Communications Committee
Oberlin College Alumni Council