Member magazine of the Marine Corps League

OORAH! Always up for a challenge, we were psyched when we learned in spring 2006 that the Marine Corps League had chosen Hammock Inc. as the new publisher of its bimonthly magazine, sent to the organization’s nearly 70,000 members. The publication had been around more than 26 years and needed a fresh look, so Hammock designers and editors drafted a battle plan on how to ramp up from a quarterly to a bimonthly publication and revamp the magazine so it appealed to members and trumpeted the organization’s purpose.

The major challenge to us, as explained by the admittedly skeptical executive director, was whether a group of non-Marine and non-veteran writers and designers could successfully capture the deeply ingrained bond, camaraderie and warrior ethos among Marines.

Defining a rhythm and pace was the first step. The old version lacked organization—it was hard to distinguish a feature from a department. By establishing a clear framework, Hammock helps readers navigate through the magazine. Adding full-page photography in the front and back of the book (an industry term for “magazine”) and sticking with audience-appropriate fonts and colors gave the publication more visual interest.

We spent considerable time talking with the director as well as other Marines and reading widely about America’s premier fighting force. We proposed a bold strategic move: The publication had been called The Marine Corps League magazine—we suggested changing the name to Semper Fi, the Magazine of the Marine Corps League to tie into the Corps’ motto, Semper Fidelis (Always Faithful).

We found ways to hold onto sentimental favorites (such as illustrations used in every issue of the older magazine that were provided by a Marine vet who was a WWII combat artist), while adding fresh aspects that give the magazine a strength it lacked before.

The new design referenced Marine colors and imagery, including its eagle, globe and anchor symbol. It also tapped into Marine Corps terms, such as “Attention on Deck,” “Roll Call,” “Once a Marine” and “Recon” to identify sections and departments. Strong, masculine fonts and an orderly, “squared-away” format gave it a clean, straightforward and contemporary appearance.

Editorially, we included not only a roundup of League activities, but also selected articles about today’s Corps—written by Marines who work for the Corps’ excellent news service—and features on a variety of topics, from personality profiles of Marine veterans to articles on Corps history, to personal recollections of members.

The results have been outstanding—the Marine Corps League reports that its members love the new look and feel, and members continue to send in compliments and rave reviews. We’re satisfied that our work is appreciated by a group of the bravest men and women we know.

Each issue expands our knowledge and increases our already great admiration for the men and women who comprise the U.S. Marines, who are Marines forever. We look at it as our small contribution to thanking all of them for defending this country and the cause of freedom since 1775.