Hammock has a lot of experience with redesign, and our re-imaginings of publications have not only garnered numerous awards, but they’ve also helped our clients recruit and retain members and connect with their readers’ passions. Still, it was cool to have our philosophy on redesign underscored by Kelly McMurray, creative director of the design firm 2communique, at a recent Folio: Show 2008 session in Chicago.

Addressing both editors and designers, she offered these tips for anyone contemplating a redesign:

1. Define why you need to redesign. Is your circulation or readership falling off? Are you taking a new direction editorially? Is the publication too expensive production-wise? Is it not aligned with your reader mission? (If you don’t conduct post-publication reviews of your issues, now is the time to start.)

2. Get everyone’s buy-in. The redesign process needs to be collaborative. That means editors and designers need to figure out ways to speak each other’s language.

3. Complete market research. The more knowledge you have about your readership, the more the redesign will reflect it and align with your readers’ needs.

4. Determine the scope of the redesign. Are you just making minor changes or doing a complete overhaul? Does your team have the right resources and abilities? Can you complete a redesign while keeping up with regular issue demands? Are you too close to step back and be objective, or do you need an outside opinion?

5. Set a reasonable schedule. Commit fully to a launch date, but build in enough time that you resist the temptation to rush through the process.

6. Kickoff the process. Get people away from their desks to discuss elements of the redesign. Be open to inspiration from other magazines: Collect examples of what you do and don’t like.

7. Start tearing down and building back up. Spend lots of time researching typography, color palette, fonts, grid system, navigational systems and style guide. Editors: This is the time to step back and let designers show their talents.

8. Launch the issue. Don’t show your redesign in a piecemeal fashion; get it all out there at once. Build a strong, workable structure, but also make it flexible enough for editors and other designers to take ownership and customize it for future needs.