Alumni Magazine Features
My research covers every facet of a story (and in this case, facade), even if I have to conquer my fear of heights and walk out on a ledge to gather information. Each story is meticulously constructed, from attention-grabbing headline, to rich story details and supporting sidebars, ever mindful of an institution’s brand.
I went out on a limb writing this feature for Framingham State University (ok, it was actually a ledge). The architect was kind enough to walk me through the entire half-built dormitory, explaining his vision, and I followed him everywhere—even out on the ledge, where my grip on my pen became a little slippery. Then it was up to the roof, where I was surprised to see, beyond the sprawl of Route 9, acres of forest. Interviews with executive staff revealed the dorm as part of an ambitious master plan. Combined with the glass that dominates North Hall’s design, and in tandem with the team from moth design, we saw “A Clear Vision” through to publication.
It’s the story of your life in miniature, sized to fit your medium and your audience.
Beverly Morgan-Welch’s professional bio was a starting point. I found out how she had partnered with the College, and edited an existing description of the partnership. I tinkered and reordered sentences. Finally, I searched for a little personal information with which to conclude. I edited the bio to fit the program, as well as to meet the College’s style; it also went through an internal review process. (I confess, I proofed the bio again when I was given the printed program at Commencement: there were no errors.)
I get to the heart of giving, meet your word count, and keep institutional advancement and your major donor happy too.
Gladys took me back to 1940s Boston as she traced her connection to MassArt. As we spoke over the phone, I realized that her love story would be the best vehicle with which to demonstrate her generosity as well as the most interesting angle for the report’s audience.
I clarify it, punctuate it and clean it up until it’s unrecognizable. There’s only one question: How much editing do you want?
We needed to show how attending the College had positively impacted this alumna’s professional life. In the unedited bio, it is difficult to determine the sequence of events. The story doesn’t flow, and the College’s brand information seems like a loose end, plunked at the conclusion without support. In the edited piece, you can see that I clarified the progression of events, shortening the piece, and engaged the reader using the daughter’s point of view at the beginning; I clearly stated the alumna’s achievements. If I had the opportunity to interview the subject, the bio would have been even more concise.
How is her name spelled? Is that really his title? I live to ferret out and correct inaccuracies.
With each project, I typically check the spelling of names; places; titles; as well as confirm any dates mentioned. I confirm the spelling of company names, and the titles of publications. Depending on the scope of the project, I also check the sequence of events in a story.
From students and faculty to masons and restaurateurs, I can find common ground with anybody (and call them back with more questions).
I drove to Scituate, MA to interview these charming guys as they worked on a project. My tools of the trade are usually simply a pen, notebook and my own form of shorthand to record an interview. We had a fun conversation that covered their background, how they knew each other, how they launched their dual careers as actors and stonemasons, and their appearance on a TV series. The draft was edited at the Boston Globe, and also checked by the copy desk.
Invitations can be so much more than date, time, and place. See for yourself.
Together with moth design, I kicked off the project with brainstorming. MassArt chose our “how to bid” concept. I created names for bidding moves, and instructed readers step by step. Moth’s illustrations made me laugh, and the finished piece unfolded into a story that was both informative and funny.
What’s in a name? Extensive research, a category-1 brainstorm, and many iterations.
Katie Adams was a sole proprietor using her name as her brand; she needed a brand that was a more accurate reflection of her business. Schwadesign and I learned as much as we could, and then concepted through several sessions. The solution that made sense was 360 NMT. “360” describes how she approaches healing: by taking a 360 degree view of a client’s lifestyle and anatomy. NMT is the neuro muscular therapy she applies to solve the problem.
It’s big, it’s bad, and with only a few seconds to get your message across, it had better be good.
I met with moth design and through several meetings with the Division of Graduate and Continuing Education, we researched the Division’s offerings. After several sessions of concepting, we came up with short messages. This billboard reflects that the Division offers 23 different graduate and continuing education degrees. Since the billboard advertised the winter session, we added the degree symbol as a play on words that captured the weather while reflecting the options available to potential students. Adding the campaign tagline brought the message home.
We have a conversation. You tell me everything about yourself or your business and I turn it into a compelling story that fits the medium and your audience.
I first sat with the artist in his MassArt office. It took a while for him to let down his guard, (the fact that I’m an alumna helped) and trust that I would deliver an accurate portrayal. We had several more conversations. I made edits, checked facts and vetted the profile with Lewis. I was thoughtful about what made sense with the College’s vision.
My eye for detail will keep you reading your best.
Listen: When you only have a minute, I don’t mince words.
With only thirty seconds, there’s no time to be florid. I spent my words sparingly, referring to the depth and breadth of courses available through the (then college’s) division of Graduate and Continuing Education. As I wrote I read the ads and timed myself to make sure they fit the time frame. I capped it off with a punchy tagline designed to linger with the listener.
Your message, carefully crafted, with a dash of humor where appropriate, and content that gets to the heart of the matter.
It was the 75th anniversary of the dental center. We needed a little pomp and circumstance, and an upbeat, positive tone with lots of smiles (it was a dental center, after all). The director had a great sense of humor, which helped.
I listen carefully as you tell me about your business, reduce it down to its delicious essence, and make sure you don’t sound like everyone else.
Sometimes inspiration arrives quickly. Envisioning a pregnant belly brought to mind a globe. Thinking about how that “world” was shared became a headline, which the client repurposed as a tagline for several years after the MBTA billboards ran.
I begin with extensive research and interviewing, and then brainstorm with talented designers to create concepts. Copy flows from there, with room for edits and final proofing.
A viewbook can be the length of a small novel, and accordingly, moth design and I broke it down into sections. The back matter would contain the fine print about the College—facts such as tuition, financial aid, and majors. I interviewed students and wrote profiles in another section. Each section opened with a photographic map of what we would cover in that area, with small callouts to grab attention. We covered, among other sections, the city of Boston, and the anatomy of a MassArt classroom. I also wrote a kind of dream sequence that felt poetic and referred to the student artist’s internal creative process.