Academic journal design services

We design scientific, technical and medical (STM) journals and can redesign your journal or design a completely new system, improving the branding and layout. A good grid is essential, along with a highly legible and rigorous typographic system, with clearly setup stylesheets. Typeface choices are important and they need to be able to handle the characters and symbols your most complex content requires, like math and Greek. We often setup a house style for graphs and diagrams, and can also transfer your journal to different formats like PDF, HTML or XML.

Help them know what they need to know

We do

  • Journal branding (logo, colour system, typefaces, layout).
  • Typeface selection advice (legibility, character and symbol range support, on-screen rendering).
  • Grid setup.
  • Well-built and clearly named stylesheets.
  • Table design.
  • Setup of house illustration style for figures and diagrams.
  • Hyperlinks, navigation and interactive elements.
  • Make the journal’s colours work in greyscale.
  • Economy of design and layout issues.
  • Decimal point alignment in tabular data.
  • Typeset journals on a regular basis.

Below is a selection of projects to give you an idea of just some of the projects we have worked on.

A large thick yellow handdrawn chalk arrow pointing down

Client

BioMed.

Project title

Medical imaging, 5.

Services

Journal cover design + Journal design + Typesetting + Typographic design + Redrawing + Paper selection support.

About the client

Scientific open access publisher that has an evolving portfolio of some 300 peer-reviewed journals.

Client’s needs

Their original journal needed redesigning, the overall design looked dated, lacked a modern up-to-date feel, and they wanted to improve it and make it more usable, giving users a better experience.

Before our redesign.

Image of an inside spread showing the complex academic journal with many headings and complex tables and figures, before our redesign

After our redesign.

Photograph of the cover at a 45 degree angle showing the front and spine. The cover uses metallic paper. Medical/scientific textbook cover design

Medical/scientific textbook design and complex academic typesetting, photograph of article title page

Medical/scientific textbook design and complex academic typesetting, photograph of a book spread 1

Medical/scientific textbook design and complex academic typesetting, image of a book spread 2 showing equations

Medical/scientific textbook design and complex academic typesetting, image of a book spread showing the grid layout and design

Medical/scientific textbook design and complex academic typesetting, image of a book spread showing the grid layout and colour images

Medical/scientific textbook design and complex academic typesetting, image of a book spread 4 showing references design

Outline of what we did

The main body typeface size of their original journal design was on the small side (around typical 8pt size), a single page was set up in 2 columns and heavily packed with information. Figures were also rarely on the same page as their 1st mention in the main body text. In our new redesign, we improved typographic legibility, readability and page layout through a bolder and larger typeface size, and better use of white space, resulting in an improved reading experience. Figures and illustrations were always put as close to their main body text call‑out, usually on the same page, for much easier referring. We strengthened and applied the publisher’s corporate identity and branding in a more consistent and precise way.

Layout usability analysis

The 2 tables below, show scores of figures and tables being on the same page, or on the same double-page spread as their 1st body text callout in an article. If a figure or table in any of the journal’s articles is either on the same page, or on the same double-page spread, it would be considered more usable, as users do not have to refer to another page, either the previous page or the page in front, or have to turn the page to see the next double-page spread. Subsequently there is a reduction in users losing their past reading position or having trouble relocating it, and less chance of forgetting what they were reading or thinking about.

Figures and tables on the same single page as their 1st body text callout
Article number Client’s
original design
Our new
redesign
Our new redesign compared to client’s original design
5.1 1 of 3 (33%) 1 of 3 (33%) 0%
5.2 1 of 7 (14%) 4 of 7 (57%) 43%
5.3 1 of 15 (7%) 0 of 15 (0%) -7%
5.4 4 of 8 (50%) 2 of 8 (25%) -25%
5.5 2 of 19 (11%) 0 of 19 (0%) -11%
5.6 0 of 7 (0%) 3 of 7 (43%) 43%
5.7 2 of 12 (17%) 3 of 12 (25%) 8%
  Total: 11 out of 71 = 15% Total: 13 out of 71 = 18% Total: 51% of 700% = 7.29%. 7% increase
Figures and tables on the same double-page spread as their 1st body text callout
Article number Client’s
original design
Our new
redesign
Our new redesign compared to client’s original design
5.1 2 of 3 (67%) 3 of 3 (100%) 33%
5.2 3 of 7 (43%) 7 of 7 (100%) 57%
5.3 1 of 15 (7%) 1 of 15 (7%) 0%
5.4 3 of 8 (38%) 8 of 8 (100%) 62%
5.5 4 of 19 (21%) 0 of 19 (0%) -21%
5.6 0 of 7 (0%) 6 of 7 (86%) 86%
5.7 6 of 12 (50%) 6 of 12 (50%) 0%
Total: 19 out of 71 = 27% Total: 31 out of 71 = 44% Total: 217% of 700% = 31%. 31% increase

Note 1: The 1st page of articles always started on a right side
page (recto) for both tables.

3 main improvements for them

  • 7% increase of figure and table 1st body text callout on the same page. 31% increase of figure and table 1st body text callout on the same double-page spread. Decreased confusion because users do not loose their position when they have to turn a page. This increased the journal’s layout readability and usability significantly.
  • Well designed, setup, clearly named and easy to reuse Adobe InDesign and Adobe Illustrator templates.
  • Increased design input and attention on the journal’s typically dull and under-designed parts, like tables and list of references at the end.

Details

Pages: 184Page size: A4: width 210mm × height 297mmInside paper: Croxley Heritage Wove, ivory, 120g/m², 75% recycled. Cover paper: metallic (unknown).

Gave their journal’s users a less painful experience

Client

Informa.

Project title

Journal of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Services

Journal design + Typesetting + Redrawing + Typographic design.

About the client

Publishes more than 2100 journals and over 4000 new books each year, with offices in 43 countries and around 11,000 employees globally.

Client’s needs

This major worldwide publisher required a journal redesign and refresh, used by 1000s of respiratory specialists. Their current design was optimised for greyscale printing, although the journal’s competitors increasingly use colour elements with visible benefits. The design had to be optimised primarily for on‑screen reading and use better branding and colour.

Before our redesign.

Image of an inside spread showing the complex academic journal with many headings and complex tables and figures, before our redesign

 

After our redesign.

Image of a page from the journal showing new branding design, colour system and complex typesetting

Image of a page from the journal showing the new 2 column page layout design

Image of a page from the journal showing figures in a new house style

Image of a page from the journal showing redrawn flow diagram

Image of a page from the journal showing complex tabular data typesetting

Image of a page from the journal showing endmatter and references typographic design

Outline of what we did

The client needed a strong branding for the whole journal which also had to work if printed in greyscale. We did research into the various issues, and also researched their competitors’ journal designs. We additionally setup a style for all diagrams and figures, which further reinforced the journal’s branding and saved lots of time in the typesetting and production stages. We used typefaces that support Unicode, which was an absolute must, because the journal is published in a variety of electronic formats. The overall typographic design is robust and legible, giving it every chance of success in diverse and variable electronic environments. Attention was given to important and required on‑page navigational elements, such as: page numbers, author/s name, article title, as well as the journal name, issue and online hyperlink. These elements help people to find and use information they will need, and makes interacting with the journal and page design: easy.

3 main improvements for them

  • Researched into their competitors’ journals, analysed and then redesigned the journal’s different sections and parts.
  • A journal design that renders well on screens and is highly legible and robust across a range of electronic devices.
  • Put in a list and explanation of the medical abbreviations at the start of articles, so users can quickly look‑up and find out what the cryptic medical abbreviations are used throughout an article. This increased the users’ chances of comprehending the content.

Details

Page size: A4: width 210mm × height 297mmPages: variableInside paper: unknown.

Reduced the difficulty of medical professionals’ day

3 results of an academic journal designed by us

 1 A unique, professional and well-branded journal, which your subscribers value and enjoy using for years.

 2 Less inconsistency and time lost and in the production stage, due to well setup files.

 3 Better layout of your original content, that serves your objectives and your users’ needs.

Loyal and valued long-term friends

We make more of a difference than you think! We would like to know more about your project

Contact us