National Association of REALTORS® Magazines

Client: National Association of REALTORS®

Deliverables: Quarterly Magazine


The purpose of an association magazine is to connect members with a diverse range of resources that can help them succeed in today’s market. To achieve this goal, the magazine’s mission, content, and design direction should be guided by capturing timely, actionable content and thought leadership.

The National Association of REALTORS® publishes three magazines, namely CREATE (formerly called Commercial Connections), AEXPERIENCE (formerly called Realtor AE), and REALTOR® magazine, which serves as the flagship publication. While each magazine has a targeted audience and a solid editorial framework, the communications team desired for them to fall under the same brand. This would connect the magazines to each other and align them with the refreshed NAR brand guidelines. To bolster its visual presence and deliver on the mission, LTD Creative completely redesigned the magazines.


To achieve this goal, the redesigns needed to provide tangible benefits of membership by offering critical information and knowledge, while also ensuring that members with different specialties have a sense of belonging. 

Our process began with surveying the current membership to understand their needs. The survey revealed that the audiences are busy and have little time to read the magazine. As a result, they prefer more dynamic and shorter articles, along with case studies, callouts, and tips that can help them with their business.

We also conducted a thorough critique of recent issues for all of the magazines. While we found the stories to be strong, the publication layout and grid structure was dated and not well-thought-out. To address this, we worked with the editors to re-evaluate the editorial structure. We recommended a front-of-magazine editorial construction that would first cover short news stories, followed a popular department. This would be followed by features and a section called Your NAR that included information about what is happening inside the organization, including a short letter from the President.

Furthermore, two of the magazines incorporated new back-of-book sections and REALTOR® magazine continued running it’s very popular department, In the Trenches. These changes were designed to provide members with a more engaging and useful reading experience, while also highlighting the organization’s activities and services.

To create a cohesive and visually appealing design for all three publications, we developed new mastheads, a unified grid system, and three fresh color palettes. Additionally, we created unique accent shapes for each publication and determined the best typography that could be used across all three magazines. This approach allowed for a lot of flexibility in the design directions.

However, it was important to maintain an editorial look and feel to ensure that the final publication did not appear like a marketing brochure. To achieve this, we incorporated more fun and fresh layout and typography, along with a mix of impactful imagery. We also added icons and QR codes to guide readers to relevant websites. Each magazine has its own unique look and feel, while still tying together with the use of colors, fonts, and a unified grid system.

The colors and design elements were loosely tied into the NAR brand standards, which helped to maintain consistency while still allowing for individuality and creativity in each publication. Overall, our redesign efforts aimed to make the magazines more engaging, informative, and visually appealing for the members of the National Association of REALTORS®.

Our current role:

  • Design and production of REALTOR®, 40 pages, 4 issues per year
  • Kick-off calls to discuss production schedule, folio, stories and art
  • Project management
  • Art research, photography and illustration art direction and aquisition, color correction
  • Trafficking, pre-flight and placement of all camera-ready ads