Our second publication redesign of The Public Employee for CUPE BC features new categories, page designs and typestyles.

“Apart from an instinct for strong visuals and overall layout, Working Design offers something every editor dreams about: the confidence of knowing that — no matter what happens during production — you will have a finished product that not only meets your deadline but is worth boasting about.”

Dan Gawthrop, Editor,
Public Employee Canadian Union of Public Employees – BC Region


With more than 120,000 members, CUPE BC is the province’s largest union. The organization required a redesigned magazine with a new look and different content to reach members across BC.


The new look and content were aimed at emphasizing union issues while also reflecting member participation both regionally and across a wide range of public sector occupations from health care to the municipal work.


  • Provincial union members
  • Media
  • Government
  • General public


The redesigned and redeveloped publication should:

  • provide more and briefer stories about union members and union campaigns
  • provide more photos of member activities across the province
  • present in depth coverage of a major union campaign
  • give a political context for what the union is doing for members
  • afford members a better opportunity to know what colleagues across the province are doing
  • provide a platform for union officials to articulate the union’s vision and strategy
  • consistently direct members to the union’s web site for further information

Definable goals

  • boost readership with better content and a more attractive package
  • increase awareness of the union and its issues
  • increase awareness of member activities and campaigns across BC
  • increase visits to the website


  • fitting a large amount of verbal and visual content into a limited space


PHASE ONE • Working Design reviewed and assessed the existing
Public Employee. The publication needed:

  • to organize diverse stories into coherent sections
  • a more attractive visual identity
  • a consistently applied set of visual hierarchies (placement on page, size
    of headline, size of image) that was based on the importance of the content.

Working with the editor, three new sections were created.

  • “Communities” focused on members in their local communities, primarily social activism and charitable work.
  • “Action” reported union-related labour and political issues.
  • A lengthy news feature became part of each issue, linked to a magazine-style cover.

We also stressed the need for a consistent yet flexible page structure to accommodate numerous variously-sized stories and photos. The key to the success of the page redesign was working with the editor to decide on optimal story lengths and set guidelines to deliver content that fit the template.

PHASE TWO • With improvements identified and agreed upon, Working Design redesigned the publication’s flag and cover, and created standing heads to clearly distinguish each of the sections. We introduced a modern, clean and casual set of typefaces, and a natural and vibrant colour palette designed to change with each issue, yet retain a familiar feel.

To help create a more dynamic feel for the executive’s columns, we replaced static head shots with action-oriented images and recommended that they change each issue.

We developed an icon to signal the reader to check out the website for more information.

As the magazine continues to evolve, we periodically re-assess the structure, introducing new elements and sections.