Redesigns Received’t Save Magazines

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NEW YORK, United States — How do you make a print journal that launched in 1939 related in 2018?

Samantha Barry, Glamour’s first new editor in 16 years, simply unveiled a redesign that she’s hoping will just do that. “It’s a visual punch to the audience to say, we’re changing, we’re trying something different,” she mentioned. “[It’s] a signifier that we’re going after different areas editorially.”

The brand new look features a dramatically totally different emblem, new cowl line sort and a stark color palette. “I’m not the biggest fan of pink, if I’m being honest,” Barry mentioned.

The journal enterprise, dealing with digital disruption, has seen extra editor-in-chief turnover at main trend titles up to now two years than within the previous decade, and an equally excessive variety of redesigns. New editors naturally include a distinct eye than their predecessors, together with the need to model their arrival with a brand new look. Along with Glamour, Vainness Truthful, British Vogue, InStyle and Elle have all launched redesigns over the previous 12 months and a half.

Till the early aughts, a brand new editor with a brand new imaginative and prescient and a brand new look might drive explosive progress in readership and advert income.

Tina Brown writes entertainingly in “The Vanity Fair Diaries” about how, within the ’80s, she turned Vainness Truthful into the sort of juicy dialog starter that left media shoppers craving extra. Underneath Brown, who dramatically redirected each the title’s visible id and content material combine, the journal gained a staggering million readers whereas promoting pages greater than doubled. Happy together with her work hamming up the duvet traces in a single 1986 situation, she says, “Try not reading that, newsstand browsers!”

However as we speak, when print-driven titles face the near-impossible job of competing with cellphones, reaching this type of success has little to do with print redesigns and far to do with creating extremely addictive tales, movies and audio sequence that may break information and form the conversations individuals are having on-line.

But editors-in-chief are nonetheless chasing newsstand success. That is most likely for 2 foremost causes: one, print advert gross sales are nonetheless the first driver of income at outdated media manufacturers, and newsstand efficiency has traditionally impacted promoting metrics. And two, in contrast to Barry, who labored as government producer for social and rising media at CNN, many editors come from the world of print media and easily don’t know tips on how to create an impactful web site, so that they focus their vitality on making a print product the identical method they’ve for many years.

Lately, extra journal redesigns appear born of a digitally aware mindset. For instance, Radhika Jones’s beautiful Lena Waithe cowl for Vainness Truthful appeared certain to seek out a big viewers on-line. There’s additionally Edward Enninful’s British Vogue, which he has branded #NewVogue on social media, reflecting not less than some consciousness of digital’s significance. (Enninful declined to remark for this story.)

Barry’s Glamour was additionally redesigned with the net in thoughts. “I wanted something that would stand out on social and digital, and I think the logo does that,” she mentioned. Although cropping actress Melissa McCarthy’s physique out of the duvet picture attracted criticism from girls craving extra range in measurement and form, Barry mentioned this was accomplished to make the picture really feel like a selfie: “I want the covers to feel up-close and personal.” (McCarthy was booked earlier than Barry began in her function.)

Barry mentioned she was watching metrics like time spent and engagement with each the web site and the print journal, on which she commissions client analysis to enhance newsstand gross sales knowledge.

The final time Glamour launched a brand new look, it appeared to harm newsstand. Towards the tip of 2016, media business veterans had been shocked to see the journal’s single copy situation gross sales numbers dip beneath 100,000 every month (the one exception was the September 2017 situation, that includes Blake Full of life, which bought 111,400 copies in print). The November 2017 situation, that includes Zendaya as its cowl star, sunk to a stunning low, promoting simply 48,000 copies at newsstand, in keeping with the Alliance of Audited Media. Many thought the journal’s heavy use of hard-to-read, graffiti-style fonts for its cowl traces had one thing to do with this precipitous decline.

InStyle editor Laura Brown additionally put out a brand new look together with her March 2017 situation, solely to see print newsstand gross sales decline from common month-to-month gross sales of 250,441 for the final half of 2016 to a mean of 189,623 for the primary half of 2017. (The title, remarkably, noticed a small acquire within the second half of 2017, with a mean of 189,941 copies bought.)

Nonetheless, it’s onerous accountable this failure on her redesign, when magazines that elevated readership from 2016 to 2017 had been the exception reasonably than the rule. The model’s greater downside is that its web site has did not generate constant buzz or entice a big readership, with solely 6.38 million guests in March of this 12 months, in keeping with SimilarWeb.

Gross sales figures for 2018 points aren’t out there but, so it’s too quickly to inform how Glamour, Vainness Truthful and Elle’s redesigns will fare by way of print gross sales. However even when not one of the tales in these latest points ship newsstand gross sales hovering or break the web, the one good factor is that the executives upstairs appear extra prepared to do issues in a different way within the spirit of check and study.

“It’s 2018, and, in publishing, there is this appetite for experimenting,” mentioned Barry. “Do I think I would have been allowed to come in 15 years ago and do a complete redesign — would it have been harder? Yeah, it would have been.”

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