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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Cell Passion: Passion for cell-phones, that's it!

Really… having knowledge on a subject is one thing and presenting & packaging it to put a magazine together around that subject is different all together…!

Cellpassion, very odd in size (21X30cms precisely if you can visualize), a bi-monthly magazine is launched this month by Cellpassion Networks Private Ltd. (also the owner of www.cellpassion.com. Editor of Cellpassion, Rajat Agrawal & the editorial contributor, Nimish Dubey have shown all their enthusiasm & obsession about cell phones in entire inaugural issue. They seem much passionate to publish their own names here & there…everywhere in the magazine. Even in Content pages, their names are prominent than the products names which they had reviewed.

Content
Most of this kind of consumer magazines, which review & test consumer products to help readers to make their buying decision, bank upon reviews & tests they carry. Readers also expect more & more number of products in every issue. Readers like to see issue carrying most of the pages full of in-depth, unbiased & latest product reviews. Inaugural issue of Cellpassion is featuring very less number of products and that is the big disappointment.

Secondly, magazine is structured poorly and it is not at all reader friendly. Sections of Cellpassion are very difficult to identify and so is the navigation. ‘Bling’ and ‘Hands on’ sections in the FOB are too identical in terms of content they are carrying & the way they are presented. What could be the better opportunity than that hottest and the most revolutionary phone we have seen ever, i-phone was launched just before the magazine was released. Though inaugural issue has featured i-phone as its ‘cover story’ but again it is done badly. It gives an impression of shallow information and top on that is scattered illogically. ‘Face Off’ section, where two products are compared with each other, could be useful and impressive it would have given more depth and reasoning for their verdict. ‘Test’ section is featuring four cell phones only and that too are presented poorly. Coverage of the event- ‘Communic Asia 2008’ is nothing but looks like post-its of event photographs & tiny write-ups of a few cell phones. It is impossible to understand the rationale behind putting a story on ‘choosing the tariff plan’ in ‘How to’ section! ‘Download apps’ & ‘Play’ sections are ok… at least in this inaugural issue.

The most important & useful section of this kind of magazine is buyers guide section which is also there in the BOB. Since it is the most critical section, ‘Select’ could have presented in better way and could have much useful information.

Language of the magazine somehow appears as it is deliberately written in a casual style which could be more intelligent and still connected with the readers.

Design
Equally bad…! Cover of inaugural issue speaks itself the standard of its design. What else could be done to make it worsen that master head is made a part of cover image! It seems like they have designed this for this issue only. I am wondering what will they in next issue? This is not the end… cover is not carrying any cover story! Only photographs of ten cell phones are given in a matrix and one line using tine font size at the bottom of the cover is saying- Apple i-phone reviewed inside’ and one dotted line across the cover is pointing to the picture of i-phone to help readers to identifying the i-phone! As the cover of inaugural issue, it should have carried the stories to represent the personality & the character of the magazine. Leaving the spine blank can be their policy but it seems ignorance to me.

Design of Cellpassion is as poor as its structure. Art Director & layout person have done their work without even thinking for a single minute. No consistency in using typefaces, color schemes, text alignments, grids, placements, elements…on every page you find them different. Text in few of sections is published in sarif and sometime it is in sans. Unnecessarily folio of the magazine is designed in varying colors. All the section names are designed differently- sometimes it is kept first letter only, sometimes it is made overlapped characters and sometimes it is carrying first letter reversed…! Some pages are made of two columns grid, some are in three and some are in four…! Few articles are carrying drop cap of 5 lines, few 6 lines, 3 lines & 4 lines also.

Illustrations are horrible! Art direction is poor and that is clearly seen in poor digital imaging done in the magazine. Designer has kept doing lot of experiments on fonts, colours & effects etc through out the issue.

Printing
Printing is OK. Though a most of the product shots seems that they are downloaded from internet or are taken from press releases. Pre press work is fine as images are published very well. Few pages have registration problem as well, but overall printing is good.

Product
Size is odd… a little bit awkward. A 100 pages bi-monthly issue with perfect binding is priced at Rs.40 which is OK. Cellpassion has got a very tough competition from already established magazine in that vertical- 'My Mobile', which has more reputed & has got huge mind share. Another competition is 'India Mobile' which not a strong brand as 'My Mobile' is. You must be aware that 'My Mobile' also has its Hindi edition which is also has its own market share.

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