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Friday, February 29, 2008

Good HomeMaker: A Mess of Good Content

Good HomeMaker, a monthly magazine is launched by Pioneer Books Pvt. Ltd (publisher of Meri Saheli, Arogya Sanjeevani, Ved Amrut & New Woman) for Urban-Metropolitan ladies & housewives, who do not speak-read English comfortably as compared to Hindi but who are familiar with English lingo and common words related to fashion, beauty, interior, style & life style.

That's why, perhaps, editors of the magazine have used Hinglish style of writing & copy, which leaves the product of absolutely disconnected with both- English & Hindi speaking readers. It is even more difficult to draw the line which word you should write in Hindi & what should be English. And even when using hindi, how much literary it should be or how much from the set of layman's daily vocabulary. Good Homemaker's inaugural issue is victim of this uncertainty and looks horrible when you read such a copy.

Fully Packed! It is 166 pager magazine only, but it is loaded with lots of articles, sections, columns which gives lot of reading material in a single copy. It has tried to touch almost every aspect of today's up-market aspiring woman- from her home, décor, relationship, food, health & parenting to style, gadgets, Travel, corporate…everything! Rest is covered through the regular columns and features as beauty basics, fashion, cooking, gossips etc…!

Content pages give you a feel of wholesome content enough for the entire month. It is structured very well. Structure looks clutter at times because of its broad spectrum it covers. Most of the articles seems as contributed by different outsiders and that is why you cant find any consistency in writing style, tone and depth of information.

Section names are irritating! The way 'Aha Zindagi' magazine (one of Bhaskar publications) has put the word 'Aha' in most of their section names, Good Homemaker has also overused the word 'Good' in almost every section name.. without caring whether it sounds good or not; Good Décor, Good Relationship, Good Products, Good Parenting, Good Money Plan, Good Makeover, Good Style, Good Cooking, Good Home, Good Story, Good Gadgets…!!

You must be wondering whether these are the section names of a Hindi Magazine or an English Magazine? As I mentioned, not only these, but twice or perhaps the thrice in the count, there are more columns, subsections & feature are named in English only! It may be advocated in both- for & against, but then there should be clear guideline of usage of such English words. Then you can't use jargon from literary Hindi or even from slang. It irritates and leaves a bad taste of reading.

Below average! Lots of design trials-experiments & mistakes are done with the design. Starting from the cover, every story is given in different font, color, size, effects…its badly cluttered. Height of color trial is using two or more colors to write even a single word?? What could be worse if 'matraas' are printed in different color and rest of the word is printed in different.

Cover looks very shallow because of lack of stories on the cover though as I mentioned, issue is loaded with lots of stories which could be put on the cover to attract news stand audience.

Usages of Numbers across the magazine is also inconsistent- sometime it is in English & sometimes it is in Hindi numerals.

Good Homemaker is printed at very less LPI and because of that you can see lots of circles in photographs. Lots of pictures seems sourced from the internet and that is why they are printed in poor quality. Almost every page has registration problem; in result pages look blurred. Quality of photographs is good but could be color corrected well.

Good Homemaker is printed on 70gsm LWC paper. Cover is slightly better and at the invitation price of Rs.30 it’s a good value for money. It’s a perfect bound magazine unlike Pioneer Book's other magazines which are center pinned. That is why it has got a strong spine which gives it a great look & feel.

As conclusion, all I can say that if you can tolerate its excessive use of English terms and inconsistencies in writing style, which irritates you a lot when you read, you will find a decent amount of informative & valuable content in term of each issue of Good Homemaker.
Content .......................: ●●●◐○
Design & Layout ..........: ●●◐○○
Printing ........................: ●●◐○○
Product ........................: ●●◐○○
Value for Money ...........: ●●●○○
‘VIRDI’CT ......................: ●●●○○
How to use ‘VIRDI’CT..??
●○○○○ Browse & leave it
●●○○○ Borrow & Read it
●●●○○ Buy it occasionally
●●●●○ Buy regularly
●●●●● Subscribe it now!!!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Cheers Men... your world got bigger, better and bolder!

Yes, its seems the time for a change for everyone. In last few weeks or months, so many magazines have redesigned and revamped. Few have got a new look, few have a new periodicity, few have got entirely new avatar…Makeover for improvement, change for betterment.

Filmfare, Maxim, AVMax, Mans' World are the few names, who have got new faces recently.

You must be aware that Filmfare, a publication of Worldwide Media, has gone fortnightly last month as it was earlier a monthly magazine for around 54 years. This new periodicity will allow them to put newsier & interactive content for their readers which was the growing demand. This is not the only change, In fact WWM is also launching a German edition for the same in the month of February to make it global.

Maxim and AVmax are other two magazines which has got some cosmetic changes in their design. Maxim, when it was launched around two years back in India, was very close to their parental magazine. Though it was customized according to our audience and country norms, still it used to give the same feel of original Maxim. Now, with new design changes that feel is gone. I understand that design is something which is personal in a way but I didn’t like it new avatar, it was far better as it was earlier.

At the same time, AVMAX has got superb facelift. All of sudden it gives you as if you are going through some international magazine, strong Master head, bold & properly placed cover stories, layout of inside pages, everything seems improved. What a design & layout can do with a magazine, this can be a great example to prove that. Without changing its content structure, only design style sheet has offered a great reading friendliness in it.

MW, a new master head for 8years old, men magazine, Mans' World also got revamped this month. Its got bigger (in the size of T3, World's no.1 gadget magazine), better & bolder as they claim it on the cover itself; and I second it. Since, 8 years this magazine has been constantly feeding men's content quench. But, since last two years it was losing its mind share because of other competitor launches like Maxim, Ampersand, The Man, FHM etc.

This new, bigger avatar is for sure a great change they have made to get back at its position. Content wise its almost same as it was earlier except a new business section, DOSSIER is introduced and Gallery section where they used to showcase upcoming & grooming models is shifted right in the FOB section with a new name called MW Eye-Opener. Design wise it has improved significantly, there are lots of subtle changes which keep a readers connected with their old layout and there are changes like, body copy font, few sections' headings, of course the physical size & master head are the obvious changes which gives a reader the great offering. Over all MW is looking great after its makeover.