CQ Magazine

Every week, CQ magazine takes an in-depth look at pressing policy issues and dives deep into details. We helped CQ reimagine the venerable brand as a more lively print magazine, which often is seen around Capitol Hill, and a more powerful digital destination. The magazine is behind a paywall and is provided as a benefit to CQ's elite subscriber base.

About This Project

We worked with the weekly magazine of Congressional Quarterly to reimagine its content strategy, working closely with the company’s Chief Content Officer to develop more sophisticated visual storytelling. We also created new brand guidelines to update the publication’s structure and developed a new website for the weekly.

We also knew our approach would need to streamline page production by templating more of the book to leave time for the small weekly staff to focus on covers, feature spreads and data visualization. That goal was top of mind for the MG team throughout the project.

The magazine had not undergone a significant redesign for more than a decade. Many parts of the brand, from the nameplate to typefaces to color palette had strayed from the ethos of the core publication, CQ, which is delivering federal legislative tracking. The urgency of the up-to-the-minute digital service allows a unique space for the magazine to add context and not merely repurpose what readers had already seen.

We worked with the CQ magazine team to develop ways to analyze the impact of government actions with in-depth journalism that could also be produced on tight weekly deadlines. Those values drove editorial and design decisions.

Our team introduced new forms in the feature well to provide writers editors with dynamic ways to tell stories of varying shapes and sizes. In the process, we created a grid structure in the redesign that would better reflect modern needs for sharing with the publication’s readers ways to interact with this content in customized alerts and other digital extensions the subscriber base counts on.

We also conceived a new end-of-book feature to draw from CQ’s rich photo history, highlighting a new image from the vast archive every week. The feature proved popular with readers and also created additional revenue for sales of archival images, a significant boost for an image library often licensed by other publications.

Finally, our team created a new digital home for the magazine on the core tracking service, creating imaginative presentation templates for presenting this new content. The magazine needed to stay true to the core identity of the main information service and at the same time show the value of context, graphics, photography and data deep dives that only longer-form work could satisfy.


Content Strategy
Visual Design + Typography
Print Magazine Design
Design Style Manual
Website Design + Development

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