Repositioning Computer Arts to appeal to pro designers

  • Client: Future
  • Disciplines: Content strategy, editorial, publishing
  • Duration: 3 months

I led a major cross-platform redesign of Computer Arts in 2013, following the launch of Computer Arts Collection, its premium sister title, two years earlier.

From its ’90s origins as a tutorial magazine for hobbyists, my content strategy completed the brand’s transition into a reputable industry title pitched squarely at professional designers and agencies.

CA’s redesign issue cover (centre), flanked by sister titles CA Presents (series of practical handbooks) and CA Collection (premium collectable title). Image credit: Future

Step-by-step tutorials were replaced with peer-to-peer project ‘diaries’ going behind-the-scenes on live client briefs, to reveal how top agencies solve familiar creative challenges.

With a bold new tagline – Design Matters – the repositioned CA delivered thought-provoking opinions, in-depth industry insights and fresh creative inspiration every month. This included a long-running series of exclusive video documentaries, filmed behind-the-scenes at the UK’s top agencies.

Blog: Why your design agency should invest in video

At the height of the digital publishing boom, the redesign featured a fully-bespoke, interactive iPad edition that went on to win Best Art & Design Magazine three years running at the Digital Magazine Awards.

Five special issues of Computer Arts from 2014. Image credit: Future

And to elevate the premium feel of the print edition, innovative covers produced in collaboration with leading print finishing specialist Celloglas brought creative concepts to life in playful and compelling ways, celebrating the unique tactile potential of print.

Four special issues of Computer Arts from 2015. Image credit: Future

These included glow-in-the-dark, heat- and light-reactive inks, scratch-off latex, diffuser foils, textured embossing, playful die-cuts and more.

Watch making-of videos of CA’s special covers on YouTube

The strategic repositioning of Computer Arts proved crucial for the launch of the Brand Impact Awards in 2014, which has gone on to become an unmissable fixture in the professional awards calendar.

I edited CA until 2018. During this period I also launched the UK Studio Rankings – an annual peer reputation survey of the country’s top design agencies – which I continue to manage as an independent consultant.

Contact me to find out more about the survey.

“Nick’s enthusiasm for the re-imagining of Computer Arts was infectious. His unwavering desire to put the needs of the audience at the heart of every decision was truly heartening, and undoubtedly a key reason the project was a huge success.”

Declan Gough – then head of Creative & Design Group, Future

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