Queen’s Alumni Review

Queens Alumni Covers
Client Name
Queens University

Queen's Alumni Review

Queen’s University needs no introduction. They are one of the top schools in the country with a reputation that punches well above its weight—locally and internationally. Founded prior to Canadian Confederation, for nearly 200 years Queen’s has produced some of the best and brightest minds in the 21st century.

With a laundry list of notable alumni including the likes of Elon Musk, Gord Downie, Michael Ondaatje, Wendy Creson and many, many, many more, it’s perhaps not surprising that Queen’s quarterly publication, “Queen’s Alumni Review”, has become an institutional pillar since it’s start in 1927 – with a readership exceeding 125,000 people globally.

With a refresh of its physical publication underway, Queen’s asked Massive to help bring its new design to life online in a way that reflects the university’s bold, innovative, and pioneering spirit.


  • UX
  • Information Architecture
  • Website Design
  • Drupal Development

Freedom from ad space

The discovery that Queen’s Alumni Review was not reliant on ad space was music to the ears of our designers. In the world of digital publication, the layout of content is often secondary to the placement of ads, leading to designs that necessitate scrolling through ads, deteriorating both the value of the content and the user experience.

Queen’s Alumni Review does not have to contend with these space constraints, allowing our designers the freedom to create what Design Lead Steven refers to as “a more pure way of displaying content that accentuates the absolute core of the brand.” The result is high-quality content presented with graphics and a smooth layout that compliment the subject matter, creating a cohesive and unrivalled reading experience, whether reading on a computer or mobile device.

From paper to pixels

As a print publication, Queen’s Alumni Review is constrained to ink and parchment; a linear experience inherently limited in terms of interactivity. As an e-zine, we saw an opportunity to elevate QAR’s content with a platform that marries its reader’s insatiable appetite for high-quality content with all the advantages the web has to offer.

There’s no question the magazine’s print content was stunning, with editorial grids and blocks of text and imagery throughout its pages. However, these layouts didn’t lend themselves to digital. We needed a solution that kept the newly elevated design front and centre while working within the constraints of the responsive web.

Our design team adapted the magazine’s layout, retaining the text-block aesthetic and ensuring Queen’s brand was meaningfully sustained across both print and digital, beyond just colour schemes and logos.

We’re talking dynamic, contextual content, buttery smooth animations, and high-res images that bring QARs content to life like never before.

An intuitive navigation, paired with a robust site search and manageable content categorization offer a seamless user experience for readers. Guidelines for ongoing tagging and categorization by Queen’s internal team were also provided to ensure consistency over time.

Queens Alumni Review Webpage

A flexible + dynamic technical framework

With the site’s information architecture and visual design complete, our development team went to work on the website’s technical infrastructure.

Not unlike many higher education institutions, Queen’s Alumni Review was set on maintaining its Drupal back-end, a platform made famous for its intuitive authoring experience, flexibility, and robust governance tools and workflows. 

Developing the site in a modular fashion allowed Queen’s team the flexibility needed to grow its digital ezine without compromising its newly established design system. And, as with all Massive’s website design and development projects, the new site was built to adhere to WCAG (web accessibility) best practices, ensuring an intuitive and seamless user experience for everyone. 

Additionally, our development team collaborated closely with Massive’s SEO strategist and Queen’s internal marketing team to ensure the new site was optimized for SEO from an overarching technical and development perspective. This meant ensuring the site’s metadata, URL structure, tagging, content types and mapping aligned with the e-zine’s overall objectives and keyword and SEO strategy.

Digital expectations, redefined

Queen’s Alumni Review set out to redesign their magazine to reflect the diversity of its audience, which has expanded beyond the university community to include audiences throughout Ontario and Canada. The end result is an industry-leading, best-in-class ezine that builds on the publication’s storied past and unparalleled reputation with intuitive workflows, stunning visuals, and flexible technology stack.

The website launched in March of 2022 – just in time for its Sprint edition. Click here to see it live, or if you’d like to reach out to discuss a project of your own, we’re only a click away.

mobile website design for Queens Mobile phone mockup of the QAR website