The Lorenz Corporation Activate! Magazine

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Case Study: The Lorenz Corporation Activate! Music Magazine

The Lorenz Corporation is a large music publisher that publishes a wide range of material for choirs, church music, and music educators. Their educational products include an extensive catalog of music lessons and a quarterly magazine targeting music educators. The magazine, called Activate!, includes lessons for a variety of ages and teaching approaches.

Lorenz had developed several designs for Activate! prior to coming to Westchester. However, the previous versions did not adequately address user needs. The design was inconsistent between lessons, with features appearing in a non-predictable manner. The Lorenz team commented that it was hard for educators to rely on the design to help them find lessons that fit their teaching needs, be it in searching by grade, standards, or lesson type.

The team at Westchester met with the Lorenz stakeholders in several sessions. We listened as they talked through the requirements of the program: what essential elements needed to be present in a final design, and how the Lorenz team wanted their users to interact with the magazine. They explored with our team the different sections in the magazine—lesson plans with a step-by-step approach and professional development articles to enrich the instructor. Finally, we walked through the existing design to determine what elements worked for Lorenz and what elements fell short.

Activate's original design

After that meeting, our design team created three approaches to the magazine. For each option, we included treatments of the lesson plans and the professional development articles. In these mock-ups, we provided different approaches to handle the preview data in the lessons, including the skills, grades, standards, and objectives listings. We also provided options for head and body font treatments, for art, and for in-text features common throughout the magazine.

Our team presented these options to the Lorenz team, walking through each design. We gave the Lorenz stakeholders time to mull over the options, then met again to talk through what they liked and did not like about each treatment.

From that final collaborative meeting, our team created a final master design. This design incorporated the feedback from the client but also took into account the need to balance the various options into a cohesive whole. Lorenz quickly approved this design.

Lorenz was very pleased with the final design and awarded the production contract to the Westchester team. Our production team worked with our designers to create a master template and guidelines that would function as the guidepost for future editions. The US production team set the first issue under the new design and Lorenz was very happy with the results. We also worked with Lorenz and our team in Noida to templatize the writing and approach so that subsequent versions of the magazines could be successfully executed in India with US oversight. We are now working on our sixth volume of this magazine, with plans to continue to work with Lorenz on many future issues.

Lorenz Final Design