Illustration by Paddy Mills

Notice anything different in our print magazine? Just over a year ago, we embarked on a project to reimagine the design and editorial structure of our university magazine. To get started, we created some lofty goals. We wanted to capture the vibrancy of today’s student learning environment, the curiosity that drives our faculty’s research and creative pursuits, and the always interesting lives of Rice alumni. And we wanted to align this editorial strategy with a bold, new design.

But first, we had to understand more about you — our readers. Formally, we emailed a 26-question survey to several thousand alumni, faculty and staff, which more than 11 percent of you returned — thank you! More informally, we sat down with students, faculty, staff and alumni to discuss life at Rice — then and now. With data in hand, we went searching for inspiration in stories and images.

Several mood boards, font families and page grids later, art director Alese Pickering began to prototype a new print layout. Stories and art streamed in, and our feature theme, “13 Ways of Looking at Creativity,” took shape. (Yes, our title is inspired by a favorite Wallace Stevens poem.) Ideas were auditioned, refined, tossed or kept.

In the words of Rice engineer Matthew Wettergreen ’08, “One of the things you need to bring to prototyping is that there are no wrong answers. … Everything you build is a stepping stone to the next idea.”

So here’s our next idea — aka prototype No. 6.

We’ve simplified our department structure: Sallyport covers campus news and student life; Wisdom highlights innovation in the lab, the field and the classroom; and Alumni gathers profiles, books and stories about Rice’s history and traditions, as well as a sampling of Owlmanac’s Classnotes. In Campus Scene, our talented photographers capture a slice of campus life. On the horizon are updates to our online magazine. Your feedback on this and all issues of Rice Magazine. Send a note to me