Setting the Standard

By Norman Boucher / November / December 2000
October 24th, 2007

When the magazine’s staff and board of editors began discussing ways of celebrating the BAM’s centennial two years ago, we agreed that publishing an editorially independent magazine for a century is as much a tribute to the vision and confidence of the University as it is to anything the BAM’s staff has done. How could we salute Brown and its alumni—our readers—in a way that also reflected the magazine’s character?

Then one day board member Eric Schrier ’73, editor-in-chief of the Reader’s Digest Association, casually suggested, “Why don’t you do a Brown 100?”

Twenty-four months later you hold the result of that suggestion in your hands, and we couldn’t have done it without you. Schrier’s idea became a reality because when we asked for nominations, alumni, faculty, parents, administrators, and students responded. By suggesting such superb candidates, you made our job much more difficult—the final list could have easily been the BAM 175 without any drop-off in quality. Thank you for the reminder.

Now we invite you to celebrate with us. As you can see from the notice on the facing page, we’re hosting a party for ourselves and the BAM 100 in New York City on the afternoon of December 2. Please come hear four alumni—two from the BAM 100 and two who would be on the list if it included the twenty-first century—as they reflect on lessons learned at Brown and beyond. Then join us at a reception with more of the BAM 100. And if you can’t get to New York City in December, don’t fret: we may be taking our show on the road next year.

The BAM 100 has not been our only special project over the last few months. In this issue and the next one we unveil a new BAM design. Although we’ll be adding new departments in the next issue and modifying others, the editorial heart of the magazine remains unchanged. Our purpose is to retain the magazine’s visual elegance while giving it a brighter, more inviting, and more contemporary look. We’ve also selected new typefaces to make the text easier to read.

The redesign is the work of two hugely talented and dedicated graphic artists: Art Director Mindy Oswald, whose astute observations and sure touch improved the final look, and David Herbick, former art director of Civilization and other magazines, whose persistence and good humor made the project exciting and fun. Herbick, who has redesigned many publications, including, most recently, Foreign Policy, quickly intuited the character of the BAM and tirelessly and gracefully absorbed the dozens of requests and critiques we sent back to him.

Finally, I extend a long-overdue thank-you to Oswald’s predecessor at the BAM, former Art Director Kathryn de Boer, whose unerring taste, elegant eye, and attention to detail set the standard for beauty and quality not only at the magazine but at Brown. Until last year the team of de Boer and award-winning senior designer Sandra Delany was entirely responsible for the look of the BAM. Those of us on the editorial side regularly marveled at the pages they produced from stories they’d often received unfinished or late. Working under the constraints of time and a tiny art budget, they applied their fertile imaginations and made a magazine. We still occasionally consult both of them, but we cannot note the passing of the BAM’s first century without giving our thanks for nearly a quarter century of their fine and loving work. May their eyes remain strong and clear.

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Related Issue
November / December 2000