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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

GQ:Gentlemen Quotient of India

After Vogue, GQ is the second launch in India by Conde Nast India Pvt. Ltd.. In the month of October, when Vogue India is celebrating its 1st anniversary, Indian edition of GQ is also stepped in Indian market. The acclaimed authority in style & culture, Gentlemen’s Quarterly well, GQ is launched as monthly magazine in India to conquer the heart of urban Indian men (not the boys…).

Conceived in 1958 in US, GQ with the 14 international editions has established a respect for its high standard of writing, stunning photography & fashion features. It now in India..!

Content
Lots of features to read, beautiful photographs to look at, style & fashion to explore... in short, all that you expect from GQ. Because it is the launch issue, it may be a reason that it is really a fat issue of 326 pages and probably its regular issues may have lesser pages per issue (Don’t you remember Vogue India launch issue?).

A decent mix of very few pages of firangi with lots of desi content…! Four major stories of inaugural issue are photograph-intensive stories and so are very prominent in the issue. Though I found cover story little unconvincing to be the lead story for the launch issue but Aditya Mittal’s interview by Karan Johar is really a joy to read. GQ Talk is another section which has interesting material (one shouldn’t miss) by famous columnists like Chastity Fernandes, sanjay manjrekar, Rajiv Masand & Suhel Seth.

GQ’s top bar on the cover shouts-a-loud about luxury, style, sport, cars, gadgets, girls… and it is right there in the issue. In the launch issue, where text on one hand is penned by sharpest columnists including Vir Sanghvi, Iain Ball, Altaf Tyrewala & Che Kurrien (editor- GQ India), on the other hand the issue is well supported by beautiful photographs contributed by cutting-edge photographers like Pascal Chevallier, Raghu Rai, Tom Parker, Prabhuddha Dasgupta & Stefano Galuzzi.

Inaugural issue of GQ India has lots of proofing as well as subbing mistakes which is dangerous for its reputation.

Design
It is not impressive. Design is most critical aspect of any publication which itself should speak editorial philosophy without stating in words. It should be self-explanatory and reader should not interpret in his own way.

Starting right from the cover up to inside pages, design & layout is very inconsistent. Localization of characteristics of a publication is fine but I found it downgrading from its US or UK editions! Why? Do GQ publishers think Indian readers that way only? They should have realized if people are buying US or UK edition here in India at Rs.650-800, they like GQ as it is. Stories can be localized by selecting local celebs but how can you give inconsistent & jumbled layout to the readers even if you are reducing cover price?

The kind of photograph GQ India is carrying on the cover (I am talking about the main cover only, not the full fold-out), GQ’s parental edition doesn’t carry at all... nor the cover story (unless it is a special issue… And by the way, inaugural issue is not the special issue and that must represent how regular issues will look like). The cover shot is not looking editorial shot for GQ but is looking more of shot taken for a commercial for suiting-shirting!

Too many colors & too many styles in a single issue! And that’s why chances of errors become higher. Lots of pages have design errors which could easily taken care if things were simple & less complicated. Every single story is unnecessarily carrying too many color elements and typography as well. More number of elements, more things to manage. If you miss a bit, that causes scope for errors... and that kind of mistakes you can see on lots of pages.

Few of pages are looking horrible because of cluttering of typefaces. Same is also valid for using photographs to make a collage. For instance, one page of the main cover story is made of such a poor collage that it looks like a page from a school kid’s scrap book. Few of pages have grid problems and some of the pages are not locked to the baseline and that is why design has got spoiled everywhere.

Excessively prominent usage of particularly cyan, magenta, yellow & special green colors across the issue is just not understandable.

Printing
The strength of GQ lies in photographs and that is at excellence in the entire issue. And printing is also maintained its standard to do the right justice to that kind of photographs. A few pages shows registration problem which leaves a bitter taste while going through the issue.

Product
As GQ is a photograph intensive magazine, it requires very good quality of paper to support a class of printing. GQ India has used a very good quality of paper to justify its printing expectations which its readers have in mind. No matter if next issues come with lesser number of pages than its launch issue, still it is worth of Rs.100.

As a conclusion, I can say that GQ India is going to be a tough competitor for already established magazines in this space in India like MW, Andpersand, 'm' & The Man etc.

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