Connecting Through Brand Journalism

Bryant University Magazine

Connecting Through Brand Journalism

As schools are trying to be everything to everyone—and struggling—Bryant University is owning its unique position as a business + liberal arts school. Founded in 1863, the school is situated in Smithfield, RI. From the moment you enter Bryant’s campus, you are greeted with a sense of professionalism and pride. Its corporate presence, marked by a neutral palette and manicured grounds, speaks to the careful attention paid to its appearance. The professional, career-ready nature of the Bryant brand was the core of the redesign.

Along with capturing a sense of place, an alumni magazine should leverage research and input to draw in readers and harken back to the college experiences that connected them in the first place. Our campus tour was complemented with research conducted by Content Strategist Michelle Lansing and Editorial Strategist Laura Cole. A combination of in-person meetings, focus groups, interviews, and surveys informed the rebrand of the magazine. 

Photographer and illustrator Dana Smith is the cover artist, creating a consistent visual style for brand alignment.

The former magazine was informative but read like a series of proof points for alumni giving rather than a tool used to connect with the University’s many constituents. Led by Deputy Editorial Director Casey Nilsson, the new iteration of the magazine focuses on brand journalism. The stories in this issue give readers an inside look at an international business trip to Prague and Berlin, how Bryant is preparing students for the AI age, and an alumna’s rise from Bryant to the top of the corporate ladder and back again.

With the editorial plan based on the institution’s new strategic plan (community and belonging, economic mobility, academic excellence, and a vibrant student life) the internal brand journalism team at Bryant created a line-up and approach for richer storytelling blended with compelling data that resonates across all audiences. 

Illustrations by Greg Mably; Photographs by Alex Gagne
Sections were carefully considered to represent Bryant’s business + approach.
Photography by Pamela Murray, Kerri Rubino, Kevin Trimmer
Photograph by Dana Smith
Photographs by Tobias Ritz
Illustration by Aleksander Savić
Photography by Tucker Beirne, Jesse Burke, Pamela Murray

The visual approach we developed was brand-focused, drawing on the school’s fonts and colors to create a unique editorial font palette. A narrow format in matte paper with a gritty varnish evokes the spirit of these upward-moving, entrepreneurial readers.

From cover to cover, photography represents the active Bryant community. Beginning with the cover, artist Dana Smith was selected for his bold portraits and graphic illustrations; freelance photographer Alex Gagne captured many of the stories to give the front section, Innovate, a cohesive feeling that complemented the campus photographer’s active shots; and Jesse Burke’s portrait kick-offs the final section, Impact, to balance the alumni-supplied portraiture. Graphic illustrations are sprinkled throughout this photo-rich magazine to give a sense of playfulness coupled with business intellect. 

Bryant embodies transformation. In the past 60 years alone, the school has transformed into a four-year college, moved its location to a 220-acre campus, earned a university ranking, developed partnerships with major corporations, earned NCAA Division I status, and launched a strategic plan that will expand its global and national presence. 

What began as a transactional education has become a community of life-long learners connected across generations. This new brand magazine showcases another example of that willingness to transform.

“Backed by a deep curiosity and a data-driven approach, the team at 2communiqué delivered a visually stunning and strategic redesign of our institutional publication. They were fantastic partners throughout, from design direction to freelance management to final layout as we pushed this important project to the finish line. Their belief in the power—and the gift—of print is contagious, and I have no doubt our beautiful new magazine will linger on coffee tables until the next issue arrives.”

—Casey Nilsson, Deputy Editorial Director, Bryant University

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