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Readers react to redesign

The newly reformatted Bulletin came at a perfect time, and I was delighted and surprised by the changes. This issue had real stories of real interest, and I really read them. That has not happened often. The one on activists and Hoover [“Spying on Swarthmore”] resonated personally with me and, I suspect, with others in the Class of ’60. It was “unputdownable.”

I found the quality of the Bulletin and the writing were excellent. It has made me rethink my modest contribution to Swarthmore for the end of 2014, and I may increase it a bit if possible.

Good work. In fact, I suggest a grade of A++++ with honors, distinction in course, and Phi Beta Kappa for the issue.
-Norm Sarachek ’60
Allentown, Pa.


As an old-timer I find the agri-based green ink hard to read, e.g the text of “Jeopardy! Is this a Joke?” (though I don’t agree with the writer of the letter). Should other alumni with aging eyes have also mentioned this, perhaps you could bear it in mind for future issues.
-Ursula Hahn Shears ’51
Washington, D.C.


Congratulations and thank you for the hard work. I am one of the alumni to visit the Bulletin website for the first time, and the good news is that I really like the layout and found it engaging. There was more there than I had time to read, so I made it a “favorite.” I’ll be back.
-Chris Plum ’75
Minnetonka, Minn.  


I like it, I like it! I also appreciate the efforts to reduce carbon footprint. Congratulations! 
-Marianne Wertheim Makman ’58
New Rochelle, N.Y.


What have you done to our magazine? It seems to have been turned over to designers with little regard for the value to readers.

I've been carefully reading the print magazine for close to 60 years, devouring nearly every word (except, of course, the notes on distant classes). But the fall issue has been a struggle to get through. I found myself skipping large parts of the text because of a format that’s hardly user friendly. I was skimming a bit in each piece, then abandoning many of them when eyestrain set in. The quality of writing seems diminished, though that may be partly a reaction to the format changes.

There seems to have been an effort to cram in as much content as possible (not all of it of great value), regardless of readability. Type size is much smaller, some incredibly so. Space between lines (leading) is minimal. Two-column pages are sometimes used without regard to normal rules for maximum words per line. Typefaces are mixed without great advantage. Jittery type colors are used in unattractive ways and add nothing. White space does appear here and there, but at the expense of type size. And the bang-bang large heads are offensive, especially when juxtaposed against very small type (e.g. the quotes on Pages 34-45 versus their attributions). The class notes are nearly unreadable. In general I find the whole magazine unappealing. And I don’t see your point about synchronicity with the online version. That's pretty much irrelevant, especially for those of us who read the print version.

I’m sure you're getting plenty of feedback on the design changes and that you can do better in future issues.
-Peter Svirsky ’56
Point Reyes Station, Calif.  


Congrats on the redesign—both the paper magazine and the website look wonderful.
-Kevin Schlotterman ’00
New York, N.Y.


I have been reading the Bulletin for over 60 years, and my only reaction to this new format was growing dismay. In a world where everything seems to be dumbed down to the lowest common denominator, I never believed that Swarthmore would follow suit. Added to this is the insult of too-small font, bad ink, multiple unreadable colors on poor paper, and you have a recipe that will drive the reader away and not to the Internet, if that was your intention. It is sad to see a fine publication reduced to the quality of a middle-school yearbook. Do not blame this on my eyes. I read with no difficulty at least two newspapers daily (including the Wall Street Journal which is not known for quality paper or type) and multiple magazines, including the Friends Journal, The Economist and The New Yorker.
-Carol MacIntyre ’53
Bethesda, Md.


Congratulations on the new Bulletin format. We’ve joined the 21st century. Both design and content were so radically improved that for a moment I thought I was reading the Stanford alum magazine, which I always considered superior to Swarthmore’s product. Actually you’re now miles ahead of them.
-Susan Washburn ’60
Taos, N.M.