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Thursday, April 25, 2019


‘Mahaprabandhak of Maruti Suzuki Ltd has done a ghoshna in a Samvaaddata Sammelan of its vistaar yojnaa in India for 2020'
‘Ford Figo facelift has ekdum braabar engine capacity of its pichhlaa wala varient’
‘10 aisi kaaren jo aap 10 lakh rupaye mein khareed sakte hain in the year 2019’

How would an English-reader treat if such a headline published in an English magazine or English daily newspaper? Will a reader appreciate such piece of text which has lots of spelling errors, grammatical errors, linguistic errors and has a lot of inconsistencies in the usage of words/technical jargon? Is it good enough for an English newspaper reader that these headlines are written using English alphabets but the Hindi words are written there? Technical terms are fine but why the other linguistic terms are used in Hindi here?
If it is not tasteful and if it is not acceptable for the English content and for any English-reader, same is true for the Hindi-reader and for the Hindi content also. Why do the Hindi content writers or publishers think that content written in English language should be absolutely perfect but the quality check is not necessary for the Hindi content?
I generally review magazines only but recently I have noticed a popular website in the automotive domain,, where they have started putting articles in Hindi around three months ago. I have gone through more than 100 (One Hundred) of Hindi articles posted there and found it very disappointing. I am not surprised if only 2 or 3 Hindi articles out of 100 articles have got ‘Likes’ from the readers that were posted in the last three months. That made me to write this review, not to highlight thier mistakes but to bring thier attention to the areas where there is scope of improvement, where they can take some corrective steps.
What if a brand name is misspelt repeatedly and it is written incorrectly at various places and that too within the same article? How would you take it if you read MARUTI is written as MAARUTI and then MAROTI and then MARUTIE or MAROOTI? Or if you read HONDA as HAWNDA or HONDAA or HAUNDA? An excuse can be that if the readers are getting what it is meant for, it is fine. But why a brand owner will tollerate if he finds that his brand and product names are represented incorrectly, for example, if SUZUKI is written as SUJUKI or SUZOOKI or SUZUKE or if CIAZ is written as SIAZ or CIYAZ or CIAJ or if EON is written ION or EYON or EEON etc.? I assume, if the brand owners have not reacted on such errors it clearly means they are not reading these articles or they have not noticed yet. Otherwise such errors cannot be taken for granted that can spoil a reputation of a brand.
I understand that it is not a literary content product where readers go and care for the language, it is a product of domain specific information and editorial reviews & opinions. But information alone cannot hold a reader for longer but the language and the jargon plays a vital role to create a strong bond between the audience and the content. In these articles, not only the technical terms are written incorrectly but usage of Hindi words are also wrong and lots of common Hindi words are written misspelt. As a content critic, I see a huge scope of improvement in terms of quality in this product. I am sure, since it was started, readers might have brought this into CarWale’s notice, but I don’t find any improvement after 100 days are passed and more than 100 articles with the poor language are posted here.
While I am writing this review about Hindi content of CarWale, I can remember that many other publications and content products who have had same issues with the language and they failed even though their content (information) was brilliant. Most of the time publishers do the same mistakes when they come up with idea of launching the Hindi edition of their existing brand (English edition), they do ‘a try’ or they do it with ’no investment’. I have seen and experienced lots of such ‘half heartedly’ launched Hindi products and their failures also, and after failing their analysis also – ‘It didn’t work because advertisers didn’t show faith in Hindi edition!’
In this review, I am sharing my experience in following points hoping that it can be helpful to such publishers and may be who are planning to come up with the Hindi edition as a brand extension for their existing English edition-
  • Do not try. Do it with the conviction. I have seen many of such half-heartedly started launches that failed because of lack of confidence. If you yourself do not have faith in your product, why will your client or advertiser will have? Most of the time our sales executives tell this in the first line- ‘we are testing the water…’, or ‘ we have just started for a trial…’ and obviously advertiser never signs the deal.
  • Do not take it as a language edition, treat it as a stand alone product. Most of the time Hindi or any other vernacular language edition is treated step-motherly and in many cases such products die because of this only. It would need proper commitment, focus, dedicated resources, time and money as we require to launch and nurture any brand for that matter. Generally, publishers think that they will put resources and money on this once they will get a good response out of this. And, they expect such results within first six months of launch. Do you think that it is correct?
  • Its not mere a translation job, its absolutely fresh content development. My experience is that most of such language editions just die even in their infancy. Most of the publishers do blunder that they assume that it is just a translation job and the rest we have already in place and that is where they lose the opportunity to build another stronger product that could have helped them to create even bigger brand.
  • Quality from the beginning. I have seen publishers compromising on the content quality in order to cut the initial cost. Their logic says they will put money once this ’trial’ product will start getting response. I have never seen such unprofessional way to launch any other product in any industry. On the contrary, marketers put their best quality for the sampling to hook the customers  May be, later they can start compromising the quality once the product becomes popular in the market. But, the publishers think opposite to this. Publishers need to put money in creating good quality content first, they can cut costs on other sides or they can generate other money generating streams later.
  • Content Re-versioning. It’s just not enough to translate text from English to Hindi and using same visuals and layout for the both editions. Sometimes you need to change the complete presentation of an article as it is to be served to a Hindi reader from the way it was originally presented to an English reader. Not only the translator/rewriter but the editor/visualiser also need to have great understanding of its Targeted Hindi Audience; their socio-economic understanding, their preferences, their likes-dislikes etc. This is very critical aspect where most of the publications fail.
  • Product Customisation. This is very important, As I have said that it should be seen and treated as a separate product, it needs its own identity to meet the needs of its TG. Surely, the major chunk will remain the same as your English edition has, but Hindi edition must address some consumer and small scale developers issues and interests as well.
All the above said issues are ‘strategic’ issues that are mostly tackled by the key decision makers or the publisher of any media company, but the most important part is the ‘execution’ that is taken care by the editor or the editorial team. If this product is going to remain as the secondary or by-product only, then whatever minimum resources you put on this project, that must be the best in their domain. For Hindi publication, the execution part is more critical and complicated than the English edition as it needs great experience & understanding of language versatility & dynamics unlike the English language that is standard for the people from J&K to the Kanyakumari. Hindi team or the person needs special skills to handle the Hindi softwares, fonts & keyboard complications, manual proof reading, consistencies in usage of terms, creating your own stylesheet etc. The execution team must have capabilities to think strategically as well as execute the project independently.
I hope that CarWale team will take a note from this review and will take some corrective measures soon to improve their product and readers will see a great product in terms of information, flavour and presentation also.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

मैं हूँ किसान - किसानों की खराब हालत जैसी ही पत्रिका

इस वर्ष का मेरा पहला रिव्यू, और वह भी हिन्दी भाषा में! संयोग से जो मैगज़ीन रिव्यू के लिए मेरे सम्मुख आई है वह भी हिन्दी भाषा में ही है इसलिए हिन्दी में ही रिव्यू करना और भी सार्थक हो जाता है। यह है हाल ही में शुरु हुई मासिक पत्रिका - ‘मैं हूँ किसान’ जो कि कृषि एवं किसानों से जुड़े विषयों पर सामग्री प्रस्तुत करने के उद्देश्य से जयपुर स्थित हैनिमैन चैरिटेबल मिशन सोसाइटी नामक संस्थान द्वारा प्रकाशित की जा रही है। यह संस्थान लगभग दो दशकों से कृषि एवं किसानों के हितों और उनके विकास के लिए कार्यरत है।  

मैगज़ीन की हालत बिल्कुल अपने विषय के अनुरूप ही है, कृषि की जैसी दुर्दशा है वैसी ही हालत में यह पत्रिका भी है। मैंने अपने रिव्यूस में पहले भी कहा है कि किसी एक क्षेत्र में अच्छा-खासा अनुभव रखने या संबंधित विषय के बारे में बहुत सी जानकारी-सूचनाएँ एकत्र कर लेने या उस क्षेत्र से संबंधित लोगों-अधिकारियों-विभागों आदि में जान-पहचान हो जाने मात्र से लोगों को अक्सर यह गलतफहमी हो जाती है कि वे उस क्षेत्र में या उस विषय पर एक बढ़िया मैगज़ीन प्रकाशित कर सकते हैं। और बस, उनकी इसी गलतफहमी का परिणाम होता है, ‘मैं हूँ किसान’ जैसी स्तरहीन मैगज़ीन। एक मैगज़ीन शुरू करने के विचार में कोई खराबी नहीं है, लेकिन ऐसे प्रकाशकों को यह समझना चाहिए कि जैसे उनके विषय के संबंध में उनकी दक्षता है, ठीक वैसे ही मैगज़ीन का प्रकाशन और संपादन एक अलग विधा है जिसकी जानकारी होना भी आवश्यक है। 

‘मैं हूँ किसान’ पत्रिका को देखकर ही पता चल जाता है कि इसका कोई ब्राँड विज़न नहीं है। दरअसल इस पत्रिका के निर्माण में व्यावसायिक स्पर्श की कमी स्पष्ट रूप से दिखाई देती है। मैं इसके चार अंकों को बारीकी से पढ़ने के बाद इस पत्रिका का रिव्यू कर रहा हूँ जिसमें पब्लिशिंग और संपादन से संबंधित त्रुटियों की भरमार है। इसका यह बुरा हाल तो तब है जबकि इस एक पत्रिका के एक नहीं, दो नहीं बल्कि तीन-तीन संपादक हैं - एडिटर, चीफ एडिटर और एडिटोरियल - सीईओ (यह अनोखा पद अपने मीडिया अनुभवकाल में मैंने तो कभी नहीं सुना कि यह होता क्या है, करता क्या है)। 

सिर्फ इसकी टैग लाइन ही यह कहती है कि यह पत्रिका ‘किसानों की आर्थिक आजादी का सार्थक विकल्प’ है जबकि इसके चार अंक पढ़ने से इसका यह उद्देश्य कहीं नज़र नहीं आता। हर अच्छी पत्रिका की एक पर्सनेलिटी होती है, एक छवि होती है, एक रूपरेखा, एक स्ट्रक्चर होता है जिससे उस मैगज़ीन की पहचान बनती है और यही विशेष पहचान उसे दूसरी मैगज़ीनों से अलग खड़ा करती है; इसी बुनियाद की अनुपस्थिति ही ‘मैं हूँ किसान’ मैगज़ीन की सबसे बड़ी कमी है। इसके चारों अंकों में कोई स्ट्रक्चरल समरूपता नहीं है जो कि इस पत्रिका की संपादकीय अनुभवहीनता को दर्शाता है। इसी प्रकार की इनकंसिस्टेंसी इसकी भाषा, लेखनी, लेआउट और डिज़ाइनिंग में भी नज़र आती है जिससे एक पाठक की रुचि भंग होती है। इनकंसिस्टेंसी की हद तो इसके कवर पेज के टाइटल को देखकर ही पता चलती है कि सबसे पहले अंक में इसका टाइटल ‘मैं हूँ किसान’ लिखा गया है जबकि इसके बाद के अंकों में इसे ‘मैं हूं किसान’ लिखा गया है, सिर्फ पहले अंक में इसकी टैग लाइन और 'लोगो' डाला गया है जबकि बाद के अंकों में से ये गायब हैं। इसकी वेबसाइट की स्पेलिंग maihunkissan है जबकि इसके कवर पर इसे ‘mai hu kisan' लिखा गया है। 

इस मैगज़ीन के विभिन्न लेखों में लेखन संबंधी विषमताएँ तो हैं ही, साथ ही लेखों में मूलभूत स्ट्रक्चर की कमी इसकी सामग्री को बेहद नीरस बना देते हैं। ऊपर से व्याकरण और वर्तनी संबंधी अनगिनत त्रुटियाँ इसकी संजीदा विषय-वस्तु की ओर ध्यान जाने ही नहीं देतीं बल्कि एक पाठक को इस पत्रिका से विमुख कर देती हैं। इसके लेख जानकारीपूर्ण और किसानों के लिए उपयोगी हैं लेकिन संपादकीय स्कैलेटन की कमी के कारण इसके अंकों की सामग्री का फोकस भी यहाँ-वहाँ हो रहा है जिससे इसकी टार्गेट ऑडियंस भी तय करना मुश्किल है। कुल मिलाकर इसका प्रत्येक अंक किसी एक मैगज़ीन का अंक नहीं बल्कि कुछ स्वतंत्र लेखों का संकलन मात्र लगता है।

जैसी स्थिति संपादकीय विभाग की है, वैसा ही बुरा हाल इसकी डिज़ाइनिंग का है। यहाँ भी कोई विज़न, कोई समरूपता, कोई छवि नज़र नहीं आती। जैसे इस पत्रिका के लेखन और संपादन में कोई एडिटोरियल स्टाइलशीट काम में नहीं ली गई, वैसे ही डिज़ाइन विभाग भी डिज़ाइनिंग स्टाइलशीट के अभाव से ग्रस्त दिखाई देता है। फोटोग्राफी संबंधी कोई गाइडलाइन काम में नहीं ली गई हैं ना ही लेआउट के लिए किसी अनुशासन का पालन किया गया है। यहाँ तक कि डिज़ाइन और पेज लेआउट के मूलभूत नियमों का भी इसमें ध्यान नहीं रखा गया है। डिज़ाइन एलीमेंट्स या तो कहीं हैं ही नहीं, या फिर जहाँ हैं वहाँ बिना किसी सोच-विचार के, रैंडम ही डाल दिए गए हैं। यहाँ तक कि हर अंक के साथ इसके फोलियो तक में बदलाव हो रहे हैं। फॉण्ट्स का चयन, उनका आकार, रंगों का तालमेल आदि सबकुछ तुक्केबाज़ी सा लगता है। कुल मिलाकर मैगज़ीन का डिज़ाइन और लेआउट बहुत ही बचकाना और अनुभवहीनतापूर्ण है।  

बेहतर मैगज़ीन्स के कवर पेजों से ही उनकी छवि स्पष्ट झलकती है। यहाँ ‘मैं हूँ किसान’ के कवर पेज ही इसके डिज़ाइन की दुर्दशा की कहानी बयाँ कर देते हैं। चार अंकों के चार कवर, और चारों की अलग-अलग स्टाइल। इसके टाइटल को भी निर्धारित नहीं किया गया है, हर अंक में इस पर अलग-अलग प्रयोग किए गए हैं। कवर की ग्रिड भी तय नहीं है और इसके मूल एलीमेंट्स भी हर अंक के साथ बदल रहे हैं जिसके कारण हर अंक का कवर किसी अन्य मैगज़ीन का ही प्रतीत होता है। कवर के मेन विज़ुअल भी बहुत ही बचकाना तरीके से स्टॉक इमेजेस को जोड़-तोड़ कर काम में लेकर बनाए गए हैं जिसके कारण वे अपना प्रभाव छोड़ने में पूरी तरह से विफल हुए हैं। कवर की विफलता में संपादकीय एवं डिज़ाइन, दोनों विभागों की अनुभवहीनता स्पष्ट रूप से दिखाई देती है।

संभवत: इसकी अधिकतर फोटोग्राफिक सामग्री इंटरनेट से ही ली गई है इसीलिए उनकी गुणवत्ता भी स्तरहीन है। चूंकि इस तरह की सामग्री अलग-अलग जगहों से इकट्ठी की जाती है इसलिए उनमें विज़न और क्वालिटी से संबंधित असमानताएँ होना स्वाभाविक है लेकिन ऐसी परिस्थिति में प्रीप्रेस विभाग की जिम्मेदारी और भी बढ़ जाती है। लेकिन इस मैगज़ीन में तो मानो प्रीप्रेस का काम हुआ लगता ही नहीं है। फोटो फिनिशिंग, कलर करेक्शन आदि जैसे काम तो जैसे इस मैगज़ीन में हुए ही नहीं हैं। टेक्स्ट व अन्य डिज़ाइन एलीमेंट्स की छपाई सराहनीय है। 

मैगज़ीन के कवर के लिए बढ़िया पेपर काम में लिया गया है, हालाँकि भीतर के पृष्ठों के लिए कम वज़न वाला और कम ग्लॉसी कागज काम में लिया जाता तो यह मैगज़ीन एक नियमित मासिक मैगज़ीन जैसी दिखती। फिलहाल यह किसी स्मारिका या प्रोडक्ट कैटेलॉग की तरह दिखती है। मैगज़ीन का आकार भी अभी तक तय नहीं हो पाया लगता है, पृष्ठों की सँख्या भी अभी बदलती रहती है। इसका सिर्फ पहला अंक सेंटर पिन बाउंड था जबकि बाद के अंक ग्लू बाइंडिंग वाले हैं। मैगज़ीन को पूरा खोलकर पढ़ने पर इसका एक-एक पेज निकलकर गिरना शुरू हो जाता है। 90 रुपए में मासिक मैगज़ीन के हिसाब से लगभग 60 पृष्ठ यूँ तो ठीक ही हैं लेकिन इसकी कंटेंट डेंसिटी बहुत कम लगती है। 

कृषि एंव किसानों के विकास के विषय पर हमारे देश में पहले से ही बहुत सी अन्य पत्र-पत्रिकाएं-सामग्री प्रकाशित हो रही हैं, जिनमें से कुछ तो इस क्षेत्र में बहुत वर्षों से अपनी जबरदस्त साख बनाए हुए हैं। यदि ‘मैं हूँ किसान’ को इस क्षेत्र में, इसके पाठकों और विज्ञापन संस्थाओं के दिलों में अपने लिए जगह बनानी है तो उसे काफी संजीदा और व्यावसायिक ढंग से काम करना होगा। अन्यथा इस प्रकार की मैगज़ीन या तो साल-छ: महीने भर में चुपचाप बंद हो जाती हैं या फिर हज़ारों पत्रिकाओं की भीड़ का हिस्सा बन कर रह जाती हैं। बढ़िया मैगज़ीन तैयार करने के लिए बड़ी टीम की नहीं, बढ़िया टीम की आवश्यकता होती है।

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Sunday, March 08, 2015


A study based upon 350+ Indian magazines published in the past month! 

Broadly, for their newsstand appeal, editorial vision, visual communication, cover story lines and the design discipline. But microscopically, they all have several reasons to be in the list of TOP TEN for this month.

We have gone thorough more than 350 magazines published in India in English or Hindi language during the month of January. Magazines were considered from all the genres including News, Business, General Interest, Lifestyle, Men’s, Women’s, Fashion, Home, Entertainment, Technology, Culture, Children, Arts, Travel, Parenting, Health and Hobbies.

Covers for this study and for the representation purpose are sourced from newsstands, publications’ own websites & online magazine stores.  
JAN 2015

Monday, February 09, 2015


Best of 5000+ issues of 400+ magazines from all the categories and across the genre that were released in one year in India.

Look at all the covers in less than 8 minutes -

To watch the same video in High Resolution, click the link - TOP 100 COVERS

Monday, October 14, 2013

Times What’s Up?!: It’s cool…!

Do you remember one of my older reviews about ‘Which? Right Choice’ magazine? It was quite an unusual kind of magazine to help consumers to make buying decision by providing them purely editorial perspective and unbiased verdicts on variety of consumer products and services. The USP of WRC is that they don’t accept any single advertisement or advertorial or sponsored feature (not even for the covers) to put in the magazine to ensure its positioning in readers mind that this magazine is absolutely editorial driven, not the advertisements.

Now ‘Times What’s Up?!’ is recently launched magazine by Times Of India group which is also in the same genre but interestingly it is just opposite to WRC in terms of content. TWU is merely a compilation of advertorials and promotional features except of very editorial articles. A very unique proposition and solves fairly its purpose to help consumers to in buying.

It is also mentioned in the TWU’s tag line that it focuses on consumer durables, IT and ITES segment. It contains all the advertorials and promotional features in the form of editorial pages. For a (consumer) reader, it serves its good purpose as it helps him to know about the product, the technology, the concept, the usage, the application of any featured product.

But the catch in this kind of content is that readers cannot absolutely rely on such information to make a firm decision to buy a product because most of the articles have no specialist or editorial credibility, they are just advertorial pieces from the companies’ mouth.

Content of magazine is well structured in various sections and articles are written in very short and crisp manner. The cover story only goes up to 4 pages; else every story is wrapped up in one or two pages maximum. Despite that, articles are structured and have several extra info boxes and hooks that make the magazine a content-thick and interesting read.

After a long time I have gone through a magazine which has a good design in terms of creativity and discipline. As it was necessary for this kind of genre, it has got lots of design elements in the magazine. Every page has some fix and variable elements but everything seems placed thoughtfully and in the discipline. Hence, entire magazine when you flip through cover to cover, it looks beautiful and create interest to read it.

Cover, I feel, is little cluttered and not impressive for this genre of magazines which can be tweaked further. Also, for some reason, the launch issue was carrying ‘What’s Up’ as its masthead but second issue has ‘Times What’s Up?!’.

Inside pages are designed pretty well as they have consistency in using elements yet creative. Except a few places where things are placed or treated inconsistently, otherwise all the pages look good.

As most of the content is promotional features and are sponsored material, it could be justified only if they were printed well. In order to achieve this it is taken care brilliantly and printing is come up very impressive. Images are perfectly sharp, clear and skin colors are just perfect. It has got detailing in almost every photograph so all I can say that pre-press and press has done their job well.

Again, since it has lots of sponsored material, to make it look better, it has got good quality of thick paper for inside pages and even thicker page for the cover which is then laminated to give it a richer look. Monthly issue of 52 pages is priced at Rs50 which if you look at its product quality and the reasonably good content, it seems pretty fine. Even it has made of higher GSM paper, but it has 48 pages only plus 4 pages of cover, that is not sufficient enough to make it as a perfect bound magazine with a spine, hence it is centre-pinned product which does not feel bad in slightly tall in size. Because of condense presentation, it looks quite content heavy but it should have more pages to accommodate more articles to feed a reader as a monthly periodical.

As I mentioned, it is a special and probably the first of its kind of magazine. But, I liked because it is put together well.

You might feel that my review of TWU is also paid or sponsored but trust me, I have never taken a single penny for my reviews in last seven years and I promise that my ‘VIRDI’ct will never be sold for any amount. That is why I can write my unbiased feedback on the publication which is helpful for the publishers to improve their magazines.

For more Indian magazines reviews:

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Gorgeous Looks: Not looking even average

Pratishtha Publication has recently launched this bi-monthly title – ‘Gorgeous Looks’ with the tag line of ‘The Health, Beauty and Lifestyle Magazine’. Now, each one of these three areas from the tag line are so wide and broad that you need to be very careful to decide your boundaries and scopes for the coverage and lifestyle, as I see, is the most misused genre in magazines publishing. Anything which does not fit into any category, that somehow gets a seat in lifestyle category. Exactly same is the variety (?) of content when you go through the issue of GL. You actually get lost and forget what kind of magazine you are reading by the way.

GL is a vaguely structured magazine which tries to feed its reader every taste from the kitchen. It covers health, beauty, travel, fashion, interior, portfolio, spaces, jewellery, shopping, celeb-talk, wedding, gifts, parties, cooking, art… everything in just in one issue. If you start browsing magazine from cover to cover in just one sitting, you will be kept hopping in various topics of life... (Oh, I forgot that it claims to cover lifestyle also).

And in this effort of giving everything, it lost from its core positioning of looking Gorgeous!

It seems that mostly articles are contributed from various sources/contributors and that is why they don’t look that they belong to one single magazine. Because of the poor subbing, every article has its own style & format of writing. There are several mistakes in proofing that also spoil your taste of reading.

Articles are structured as they were originally typed by authors in Word or Notepad and then they are laid out on the pages in the same formatting… including bullets! There is nothing in the name of design, just random placing of images on pages and the text running around... that’s it.

Oops, I missed the biggest design contribution in the magazine is – section slugs! OMG, it is like a huge round rubber-seal kind of element of a diameter of almost 2inch and it is appearing every single page… it’s so irritating and spoiling the layout (which was already not impressive).

Cover is just a blunder in the name of designing – it has just a celebrity photograph on the cover and that too over-worked hence it has become a flat picture without any texture or details. There is not main cover story here although it is the newsstand selling consumer magazine. In the name of cover content, there are some bulleted words under two section names and rest under the – Other section.
And designer has done nothing here in the name of design but has just copied from word & pasted here using default leading and formatting. Oh, he/she has added black out glow behind the text which has just spoiled only the main image.
Contents pages are not better than the content page of a school text book.

Inside pages also have lots of design related errors and undisciplined work. Even the regular elements are not used in consistency. When you pick up any magazine from this genre, you expect to see a beautiful work and soothing page design, but GL disappoints at core.

Not a single image is printed its original color. Reason might be simple that all the images which are used in the magazine are stock images or might be taken from the web. Mostly photographs are having non-Indian faces and printed in pink or reddish color tone…some images are having white color of skin, some are cyan heavy. Poor prepress work and image correction caused this bad printing. Registration is ok and there is no fringing on any page.

GL is a bi-monthly and is priced at Rs50. Issue has around 100 pages from cover to cover. Looking at the price, the size is fine but the content quality is not such that you should spend even that on this magazine. It is printed on fairly good paper but ultimately a reader buys a magazine for its content not for the page quality only. It is perfectly bound magazine with a spine with a decent thick cover.
In order to covering everything under one title (as its editor-publisher, Amit Sharma also claims in his edit note), this magazine is not more than a compilation of variety of articles collected from here and there and put them together in form of a magazine. If they really want to make it sustainable and impressive magazine to create its space in Indian magazine reader’s mind, they really rethink on its edit & design with some focus.

For more Indian magazines reviews:

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Travel with Style: Does not take you anywhere

What comes to your mind when someone promises you to take for a 'Travel with Style'? Obviously, a stylish and luxurious traveling experience! I also expected the same when I picked up this magazine from newsstand which is launched last month only by Sampan Media Pvt. Ltd. But it wiped out all my expectations from this magazine when I read it thoroughly. 

As it is in the travel vertical, there are good numbers of national and international titles are already there on newsstands for the targeted Indian reader, you should be very-very clear and perfect about what you are presenting. TWS, which has a lag line - Stylishly Different... actually is very different from what you expect from the title… and that disappoints.

As I have mentioned earlier, it should have a clear focus on the content structure to create its own niche in this already saturated vertical, it has no idea where to head. In the name of luxury-style and travel, it has tried to pack everything from the world in one magazine. Result? - a lost and badly structured magazine.

It has a very weak and shallow FOB which has some nonsense news from the globe. Then it starts with health (?), some random questions from a celebrity on travel, then some pages on luxury cars, then a coverage of India Bridal Fashion week (?), a story on wildlife trip, then again Fitness, then some senseless interview, then one trip for South Australia and another for Delhi - back to back, one article on Armani products line, feature on some random photographer, shopping in Mumbai and eating in Italy... phew!

Clearly there is no editorial direction and have no clue of maintaining the flow of content presentation that is required for a good magazine. They don't have any idea what their reader wants to read. All the articles are appearing as if they are coming from several different magazines instead of looking from one single magazine. Most of the articles don't have any structure... they just start right from the headline and finish at the end. Copy desk work is also an average, not impressive. Paid features also laid out in editorial content style hence, there is not any difference between both.

Very poor in the class... especially when your magazine belongs to such a lively genre where there are no limits for the creativity. Magazine page areas on some pages are going beyond the folio…!! The designers have not followed even simple and basic rules of page layout for a magazine. Every single page and stories are just a - jugaad!

Starting from the cover, there is no connection of the main visual with the magazine’s personality. Very bad cover story lines and top of that their treatment. Designer has tried all the effects and cluttering he could do… unnecessary and irrational – tilts, outlines, colors, typefaces, serifs-sans serifs, odd leading, placing, alignment of elements, shadows, block behind the text… what not! Worst part is that the word ‘with’ in the masthead of the magazine is placed differently in the second issue only!!

Inside pages are also badly layout. When you are reading a magazine from such a lively genre, you have some expectations of standard and class from it. Main body copy fonts are so dull and varying columns widths and gutters are changed as per the requirement (mood). There is no consistency in headlines and other design elements like, info boxes, tables, infographics. As the result, you don’t feel a ‘wow’ factor while browsing pages of TWS.

Prepress work is also not impressive. Some images are good but some are printed in weird colors. On many pages, even the skin color is not produced properly. Except of few pages where registration is shaken a bit, rest of the pages are printed well.

Although 84 pages of content for a monthly magazine seems very less to read, but a good quality of inside pages and good paper used for the cover and a perfect binding gives a great look to this magazine. I wish it was presented well in terms of design and photographs; it would have been worth of its cover price which is Rs100. And the segment of audience this magazine is targeting is, does expect a great quality and a rich product to read.

Though, Travel with Style has its tagline of being stylishly different but the way this magazine currently is, it seems funny. To justify its positioning, publishers and editorial team need to think again on editorial structure and accordingly the art team need to put the magazine together to make it sustainable magazine in its genre.

For more Indian magazines reviews:

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Innovation + Win = Innowin: Is this a right equation?

Everything that is out of the box is not an innovation. It is not necessary always is the result of creativity but also can be because of negligence. This belief of mine became even stronger after going through recently launched magazine – Innowin.

This quarterly magazine is published by Spenta Multimedia (renowned publishers of several custom & consumer publications) on the behalf of Marico Innovation Foundation. The moment I saw the launch issue on the stands, when I picked the issue in my hands, it looked different but was that enough? Here’s how do I feel about this magazine after going through it closely.

I find its content is badly structured... even editor seems forgot what needs to put where, things are put randomly without any discipline.

FOB and BOB are also not impressive. Foreword of launch issue has a proper title of the write up and editorial has just repeated slug?? Its Foreword is written as an essay and editorial is written as a letter?? And then, both have signed off by real signatures :)

Immediately after editorial, a historical infographics starts abruptly, without any section opener or any introduction! It is designed so badly that it looks out of the magazine. This is the only article in entire magazine that has colored background and has gone into bleed. 

For the convenience again, books are not reviewed but excerpts are published to fill up the pages - not just 2-3 pages but all 8 pages.

First time in any magazine, I have seen a regular column is published in two parts?? BTW, first part is covered in three long pages and will be continued in its next issue (keep in mind that this is a quarterly publication, so you have to wait for next three months to read its conclusion).

Countless Inconsistencies! No design guide lines! Even the leading is different for photo captions on two facing pages - Foreword & Editorial. Poor photography... though it is hardly there in the magazine, except a few mug shots. And most of the photographs, arts, illustrations are downloaded from the web.

No rules are followed for the columns width and height, every column is stretched sideways and downwards as per the convenience. Infographics are good but looks alien to this magazine... and they are too many in the magazine. 

Too many fonts used without any rationale. Images are used to fill the places and that is why there is no symmetry in images, they are starting from anywhere and ending at anywhere on the page layout. I agree that blurbs and quotes are used often as fillers but here they are placed inconsistently.

Poor illustration! Not at all a news stand friendly cover!!

After going through the launch issue, I felt that it was a wrong selection of cover story (it is like a magazine is made for technology enthusiasts and cover story is ‘what is technology’ OR a magazine is for chefs and cover story is ‘what is cooking’)

Bad placement & bad treatment to the cover story! Bunch of text on the left corner is placed left aligned, I don’t understand why?

8 (eight) case studies, which could be the selling point or powerful hook for this issue, is placed in the corner as last item! PLUS word suits well when you have already put a good number of stories and then you offer it as an EXTRA, here only one story is given and then PLUS comes :)

While in entire magazine, nowhere Serif font is used, why only Mast head is in serif?? Mast head is also not aligned. It is going towards the right hand side, entire design is right heavy.

Secondary stories are having text in smaller font size than inside body text!! And, these three stories are not having consistency in presentation. QR code looks like a part of illustration and is not aligned properly.

They need to understand that Green color is weak color for any newsstand selling magazine. Price line is not aligned with any element on the cover. Also, price has a slash dash to secure the amount on the cover… as if it is written by a pen and one can add digits to it :)

Date line is not aligned properly. Date line has an alien character which has nothing got to do with the subject of the magazine nor it is used anywhere in inside pages again. Designer has used slash and double slashes in the slugs and folio… which could be used here to make a link. 

The leading is not properly done… End of Line has the same leading as wrapped line. Also, leading is bigger in top three stories than the bottom stories??

Excellent... everything is perfect. As I mentioned earlier, magazine hardly has photographs but whatever is there are printed good. Except some movie shots which are used in one article, every image is printed fine.

As a quarterly magazine, 104 pages are too less for an Innovative reader, either its periodicity should be increased or its page count. Currently it is priced at Rs100 which is not really high for its TG. It is printed on very good quality of paper and is perfect bound with a thick spine.

Innowin, the name itself is a bad try of showing off the nature of this magazine that it is about innovation and winning but it doesn’t impress me even a bit. Articles are not impressive nor are presented well, so as a whole issue doesn’t leave any impact on reader so that he will wait for three months to read its next issue. Editorial team must think about various aspects very seriously, not innovatively. They need to work towards to make this magazine useful, instead of making it innovative product.

For more Indian magazines reviews:

Monday, July 30, 2012

National Geographic Traveller India

I don’t think that across the globe someone who reads magazines and he does not recognize yellow framed magazine- National Geographic. Though in India don’t even have its Indian edition, still we all know what this yellow frame stands for. National Geographic magazine undoubtedly is most respected for its editorial strength – in terms of research, writing and of course photography.

National Geographic Traveller (NGT) is another publication surrounded with yellow frame and has earned same respect for its journalistic values. Its Indian edition is launched by ACK media (very well known for Amar Chitra Katha, Tinkle & Karadi Tales) this month where it has to compete with other existing international & Indian publications like Conde Nast Traveller, Lonely Planet Magazine, Outlook Traveller, Travel Plus, Geo etc to create its own mindshare.

Publishers of NGT India had already claimed in media that Indian edition of NGT will be carrying around 80% of local generated content. I was so thrilled to pick up the copy of the launch issue, but my entire excitement got vanished the moment I started browsing inside the issue. It disappoints a reader at many fronts when he is an serious admirer of these Yellow framed magazines and he expects same level of editorial & production standards here in this as well. When expectations are very high from your product, then even a tiniest flaw or carelessness becomes unbearable… and here in this magazine, the magnitude of mistakes and negligence is very high.

Magazine is quite thoughtfully structured and is divided into logical sections & subsections like InFocus, Journeys, Voices, Navigate, Get Going, Short Breaks etc. Content density is good as this issue has lots of stories to read for the month. As happens in such travel magazines, the articles and photographs are contributed by various writers-photographers from various parts of the globe. And that diversity, on one hand brings variety of flavors in the magazine, on the other hand it brings inconsistencies also and that can be very dangerous if not handled very carefully and intelligently.

The same I felt here in NGT where entire issue doesn’t look one single issue of one magazine but it reads as a good collection of articles taken from various sources just to accommodate stories in each subsection to make the issue complete. Inconsistency in structuring an article and writing shows quite immature presentation that I was not expecting at least from brand like NGT. Main cover story of launch issue on Himalayas is also structured so badly that you lose your interest of reading a few lines only and you just leave story immediately and turn the page. It is very common mistake what many writers/editors do when they lose their focus from where they ideate or conceptualize a story and then later they take story in absolutely different direction.

Copy editing is again not at its best and subbing is also substandard. Many of the stories are having widows & orphans which could be easily avoided. Language or writing & article structuring is not in sync with each other. There are many other mistakes which show lousy proofing work in the magazine. Yes, the mistakes might be tiny but even those are not expected from a brand like NGT.

Copy for the main story on the cover is very straight – it neither provokes nor invites a reader. It should have carried a leader that could have support main story and could have given a direction to the reader to think. You cannot leave it to the readers that they will understand themselves what this story is carrying inside the magazine in more than 40 pages!! They could have easily mentioned here the key attractions of many articles like Assam, Himachal Pradesh and Dhauladhar mountains which all together have made this one big cover story.

Other stories on the cover are also put just thoughtlessly with average copy… and bottom line is kept there with no sense at all.

NatGeo is respected for its visual presentation… especially for the photographs it carries. But beautiful photographs need same standard of design support so that those pictures can look at their best. NGT Indian edition disappoints at both. A very few pictures are there those remind you that you are reading NatGeo product but the moment you start browsing pages and you go through entire issue, you don’t feel to look at many pictures again. Is this the destiny of Indian edition of such a brilliant magazine title? It is really appreciable that publisher of NGT India has decided to create maximum portion of content local here but at this standard? Selection and editing of photographs is so poor that hardly a few photographs stop a reader and hook him to look at them again and again otherwise mostly are going to disappoint those who will buy this magazine for keeping its Photography quality in mind.

Design and layout is also flawed across the magazine. Yes, it has maintained consistency at most of the pages but lost at many places also. Design elements like frames, drop caps, slugs, photo captions, leading are used without using strict guidelines. It looks like that various articles of the magazine are designed in complete isolation. Even in the same section, two articles have no uniformity. And I can’t see a great design out of this that creativity could be an excuse for doing so. Rather, a couple of pages are designed so flawed that raise doubt on designers skills also. Layouts of some stories are just horrible – completely flawed.

Cover of the inaugural issue has its yellow frame as its identity with a different (Indian) tag line – Nobody knows this world better. Then there is one golden inked peel out sticker sort of element on the mast head which reads - Hello India (another example of average copy)! Cover photograph is excellent but I don’t think that it was the best photograph to put on the cover. A great photograph cannot be always the best for the cover of the magazine, they need to understand this. How can be a designer so careless while designing main cover of such an esteemed magazine and that too for the launch issue, I can’t understand - No discipline – No consistency – No balance!! Story elements are not aligned properly, improper leading, elements are just placed randomly without considering any logic, sense, sizes or weight. 

Infographs used along with the stories are few but good while photo-captions are placed inconsistently.

As a common reader, my expectations from this magazine were very high- in every aspect. Nat Geo is highly regarded for its photographs, and printing quality plays very critical role to present them at their best. But final output also depends upon the prepress work which in NGT India it lacks a lot. Many photographs are not edited/touched up well and that is why those photographs are not standing out well on the page. Some are spoiled because some pages are not printed in accurate color so they either are having other cast on them or looking dull in absence of right mix of colors. Pictures with cast don’t match with the reputation of this brand and you as a reader don’t expect such quality from this magazine. Registration is just perfect. Printing density is fine but looks poor only on those pages where ink is low.

Because of slightly wider from a regular size and of course ‘yellow frame’ attracts you on the newsstands. 180 pages (cover to cover) of Inaugural issue are carrying good enough content to read in a month at the cover price of Rs.120. Paper quality used for the cover is just perfect, so is the center fold inside the magazine. Inside pages of the magazines are good that helps to produce clear printing.
Travelling vertical in Indian publishing market is getting very competitive now. Since there are already well-established brands exist and other international popular brands are also entered, it is going to be very tough to reach at top of genre position in India. To reach there and to stay there at top position NGT has to control over the content, structure, quality and its presentation. Then only it can sustain its global reputation here also in India. Otherwise if it continues to do as it is done in inaugural issue, it will also lose its charm as many other reputed brands had entered in India and their Indian editions failed to hold their readers who picked up initial issues based upon their international reputation.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Small Medium Entrepreneur: Business of businesses

’Franchise India Publication’, the publisher of various other publications like Estate World, The Franchising World, Retailer and many web portals has recently launched a new magazine- Small Medium Entrepreneur. As name suggests itself that it is to target the small & medium sized businesses & entrepreneurs in the country where couple of other magazines already are there to target the same genre. It is quite common of having many magazines from same genre with very similar or resembling titles but at least their treatment should be different if you want to create your own identity. Here, ‘Small Medium Entrepreneur’ is carrying the words ‘Small Medium’ in very small size but the word ‘Entrepreneur’ is kept very large on the cover that resembles very closely to another magazine from same genre. It seems that it is done deliberately to ride upon other established magazine’s credibility.

It would have been better if this magazine was launched in Hindi language, at least in that way it could have its own unique proposition and untapped audience too.


The magazine is badly structured editorially and content viz it is very shallow as a monthly periodical. Launch issue is conceptualized without any vision. Biggest mistake is putting such a big story (60 pgs precisely) in the launch issue that occupied more than half portion of the magazine. The story idea itself is good but the issue chosen to carry this story is not right. Launch issue generally works as a sample of a publication which gives a taste to the reader to hook the reader into it. In the launch issue, stories need to be planned to convey the editorial structure to the reader… the structure of this issue should reflect the entire content blue-print of the magazine to the reader so that reader should come back to the newsstand to pick up the next issue.

Launch issue of SME consists of one feature, one profile, one start up story, three guest columns and two-three very generic kind of articles only. Sub-editing & copy desk job is mediocre and there are proofing errors which spoil the mood of reading.

100 Best Small Businesses & Entrepreneurs of the year 2011- cover story of the launch issue is structured badly & presented also very unprofessionally. It’s nothing but a compilation of testimonials taken from various entrepreneurs. ‘Junoon, Jugaad and Luck’ is the centre of the testimonials which I think is a brain child of editor and is enforced upon entrepreneurs to say anything or something on that! And poor entrepreneurs in many cases have replied ridiculous.


The way its editorial structure is not robust, design is also vague. Designer has done blunders at fundamental level of designing a magazine. Body copy typefaces are changing randomly, text is overflowing in the folio area of pages, alignment of body text is changing abruptly, columns widths are floating on almost on every other page, typefaces used in entire magazine are immature.

Looking at the issue, it seems that designer got stuck with one ‘idea’ and applied it at anywhere and everywhere in the magazine. For example, if painting effect was the idea for the cover story, it is unnecessarily applied on group president’s picture also. You cannot find any thought behind any design or layout in entire magazine. Not a single photograph of any of ‘top 100 entrepreneurs’ is put the way it is put full length photograph of group president on his page!

Rest of magazine is designed so badly that you actually don’t need any publishing software to do layout for such pages, same could have done using any word processing software also. Lots of inconsistencies in design, elements, colors and the way things are put or text wrapped around the images across the magazine. Photography is hardly used in the magazine. The images or illustration are taken from web or stocks and those are used here very carelessly. Content lacks info graphics as support.

Logo for the biggest story ‘Top 100…’ is created carelessly. At some places it has background at some places it is used without solid background... at some places it is in different color... at some places it has different size, leading, kerning, treatment...! Copy desk has messed up even with the text used in such a small logo.

Let’s talk about the cover of the inaugural issue. There are many points where I disagree and dislike the cover- editorially as well as design viz.

- profile on Metro shoes is one of many entrepreneurial stories of 4pgs only but it is put as main cover story while there is BIG generic story which is around 60 pgs long but kept it at bottom as if it is just like another story in this issue. It can be annual editorial property of this magazine and it should be treated in that way only.
- Poor visual for the main story as the prop gets camouflaged in the background.
- It seems that editorial team got obsessed with the phrase coined by them- Junoon, Jugaad & Luck… that is why it is unnecessarily attached with main cover story though it has got nothing to do with this particular story.
- Unnecessary usage of free hand writing font, or probably they have thought that these are Hindi words so… ;)
- Unnecessary usage of various colors.
- Photo caption on the cover? Anyway, it is hanging in the air and that too right aligned!
- Badly designed logo for the biggest story of the inaugural issue… unnecessary cluttering in the text- outlines, multiple colors… poor and useless tag line of the logo… poor sub-editing.
- Gradient black behind the Masthead? It could have some other contrast color… as it is cover is having too many colors where they actually are not required.
- Unnecessarily used black strip at the bottom to put the text over it.


Hardly any prepress work was required in this magazine so that part is OK. Whatever photographs are there, are fine and they printed in natural colors. But some product shots have lost details because they are too dark. Printing itself is good and has come up with perfect registration.


Printing could have come up better if it was printed on better quality paper. Inaugural issue of SME consists of 114 pages. Paper quality of inside pages is average but the cover is fine as it should be. It has a perfect bound spine but not utilized sensibly. Cover price of the magazine is Rs.75 at news stand.

The domain, small business and entrepreneurs, has lots of scope for relevant information and exchange through various mediums including printed magazine. That is why couple of magazines are already there in the market and doing good. But, it needs serious and insightful content and requires a professional level presentation to create its own mindshare for a new magazine. Small Medium Entrepreneur, the way it is currently, does not impress as a serious business magazine.

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