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case study


Oncology Nursing Society Redesigns

Creating Reader-Focused Journals

When people think of journals, they imagine dated, dry publications, dense with content, muted colors, and standard fonts. Perhaps this is perpetuated by a need to feel serious and academic. But if you consider the readers, a journal should be something inviting and easy to read. The design should help them navigate the pages and take away what is relevant for their jobs.

We were selected to redesign the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing and the Oncology Nursing Forum for the Oncology Nursing Society. The publications were like most journals: dense with content, dull and inconsistent color scheme, and peppered with icon-sized stock imagery that were no value to the reader. Through our research we discovered the audience is primarily educated women seeking continuous learning in their field. Readers keep issues for long periods of time in order to absorb the material.

We learned that the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing was most often referred to as “CJON,” a quick alternative handle. We recommended exploring a name change as part of the redesign. By changing the name to CJON there would be a direct connection to the online version and allow the society to be more strategic in their print/digital plan. In contrast Oncology Nursing Forum was a research publication that needed to retain its formal name.

For CJON we also recommended the creation of new departments to bring pacing into the publication. A page called “Vitals” was introduced in the front of the publication and give the busy reader highlights of particularly relevant articles they could find in the publication. “Clinical Moment,” another bookend department, is a place where members can ask questions and get direct responses and additional resources from field experts.

We eliminated the use of stock imagery within both publications and let typography take center stage. The font palette we selected included bold yet friendly fonts for the display and a highly legible font for the body copy to increase readability in the text. The overall result are publications that is inviting and comfortable to read. All of the fonts were selected from Adobe Typekit allowing ONS to utilize them with no additional line item on their budget.

With the removal of stock imagery within the publication, we recommended that ONS use their entire art budget on the cover to commission an illustrator. Each cover of CJON has a unique illustration to highlight a featured article, making the journal feel fresh and different from issue-to-issue. For Oncology Nursing Forum an illustrator was commissioned to create pattern style artwork based on research images for all six covers for the year. The result are publications with long shelf-lives that readers want to delve into and share with their colleagues.


Oncology Nursing Society

Leslie McGee, Managing Editor


Art Direction

Content Strategy

Identity & Branding

Publication Design



Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing

The Oncology Nursing Society’s (ONS) mission is to advance excellence in oncology nursing and quality cancer care. The mission of CJON is “to provide oncology nurses with the practical information necessary to care for patients and their families across the cancer continuum and to develop publication skills in oncology nurses.” The publication ranges from 96 to 148 pages and contains multiple articles and columns. The goal of the redesign was to freshen the look of the publication and make it more welcoming, cohesive, and “easy to digest” for its busy readers, to condense and reimagine content, adding more visuals and points of entry, and to use the publication as a tool inviting readers to join ONS’s growing online community.