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Friday, September 03, 2010

Sound Box: It doesn’t look sound enough!

Trade magazines have one plus point over B2C magazines that they have focused & identified target audience. That is why Publishers and editors of such publications can create a great magazine for that niche sector. But unfortunately in the most cases, such magazines face carelessness in content presentation - in terms of editorial and design, both.

Select Publishing Company (also the publisher of Indian film trade weekly - Box Office India) has launched a monthly magazine recently for the people who are related to the music industry – SOUND BOX. Being a music trade magazine, this is targeting everybody who either is on the side of making music or is on the other side where music is used in his businesses like music stores, music channels, mobile & online companies etc.

Launch issue of Sound Box looks good at first glance, because of its irregular size or may be color scheme. But the moment you start browsing it, reading it… it disappoints a lot! There is neither substantial content/information for the trade nor the content is presented in professional manner.


Although it is a trade magazine and that too related to such a vibrant industry, still Sound Box is carrying very less content to read as a monthly magazine.

Editorial structure is so bad in this magazine, if you discount the News section and the Guide section of the magazine, a very few features (8 precisely) and interviews remain as the main content.

There are so many inconsistencies & mistakes appeared in folio and TOC that reflects nothing but editorial confusion. Poor structure of most of the articles clearly shows that they are written without any story boarding. Even the cover stories of launch issue is too cluttered and so badly structured that it becomes difficult to navigate through the articles.

Poor sub-editing has resulted very boring & dull titles to the articles. And so is the language in the articles. Trade magazine doesn’t mean to be serious only, and if it is related to such joyful and happening industry like music, then there is definitely lot of scope for good and enjoyable reading. There are several proofing errors also in the magazine.

Because of inconsistent presentation, the News section & Guide section, both have become too cluttered and very confusing.


As I said, it looks good at first glance! Designer has used Cyan, Magenta & Yellow colors prominently to design the entire magazine. That definitely gives a different look to the magazine but this scheme looks little odd for its genre - music.

Similar to the editorial, in the design aspect also has same problem of lacking of clarity & consistency in presentation.Unnecessary introduced design elements, poor cluttering, too many fonts, so many effects & random styles used in headings, too many experiments…! Photographs which are used as cut-outs are badly done. Various elements are placed very carelessly that show indiscipline and absence of design style sheet in the magazine.

Text boxes across the issue have different style and fonts that gives a very amateur look to the magazine. News & Guide sections, because of content inconsistency, are designed worst.

Badly designed cover of launch issue tells itself the philosophy of its design. Poor copy, badly placed cover stories and thoughtless elements are not making an attractive cover at all.


This is very unlikely for B2B magazines, but the printing of Sound Box is good. Except a few pages only where registration is missed, entire magazine is looking excellent in terms of printing. Prepress work can be improved as in a few photographs colors are not natural.


Non-glossy inside pages of Sound Box are looking classy. I just can’t understand if entire magazine was made of matt finish like non-reflecting paper, then why only the cover of this magazine is having glossy coating? This laminated cover is just not going along with the rest of the magazine and simply spoiled the personality of the magazine.

Sound Box is a monthly B2B magazine and it is priced at Rs.150. Looking at content quality, quantity and the presentation this price looks on higher side for the 62 pager perfect bound magazine.

Sound Box is created for the audience which is already identified by its publishers, now only thing is remained to make it little bit focused, more disciplined and rich in content…that’s it.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Thank God…our infrastructure is better than Trafficinfratech!

It seems like if one has got some contacts in some industry sector or if he has a database of key people in that trade, he starts a publication for that particular sector. Without giving the necessary attention to the publication or without putting essential efforts for making a great magazine, he simply launches a substandard magazine. Most of the Business to Business publications have similar kind of history of their inception… and so is their destined result – a bad magazine!

Trafficinfratech is recently launched bi-monthly magazine for the traffic related infrastructure, systems and technology. This very niche magazine is launched by Virtual Info Systems Pvt Ltd who also publishes ‘Clean India Journal’ and ‘Buildotech’ and hosts a couple of trade shows.


This bi-monthly magazine is meant to target the people who are associated in planning, creating and deploying the traffic systems, security measures, latest technology and environment friendly infrastructure in place.

Entire magazine is carrying articles majorly related to traffic management, infrastructure, safety and few are talking about technology and news etc. But these sections are visible only on content page not inside the magazine. Most of the articles are contributed by the experts from the sector and that is why they are looking as they are written as a chapter of a book. Even an informative and business article can be written differently when it is written for a magazine. Or they can be subedited that way for the magazine purpose. That is why magazine is looking nothing but a compilation of a few white papers on the subject.

Most of these kinds of business magazines have a common problem of inconsistencies… inconsistencies of article structure, formatting, language and the jargon that is used. Each article is contributed by a different person and everyone has his own style of writing… (if at all the contributor is a writer in first place). In such cases, editorial supervision becomes very-very critical which is clearly lacking in Trafficinfratech.


It is horrible! Not a single rule of magazine designing is followed here in this magazine. Generally people give excuse that it is not required to give much attention in design for B2B magazines (though I don’t agree with this logic) but it doesn’t mean that design rules should not be followed at all.

Basic grid is not followed in the magazine… leave the magazine aside, it is not followed properly even in one article. Baseline is left unlocked, margins-columns-gutters are not fixed, leading-kerning are adjusted manually…and what not! Photographs, boxes, quotes are either entering in the body text columns or they are running into the margins.

Most of the articles are simply pasted from MSWORD to the layout software and that is why articles are still carrying the original formatting of MSWORD document.

In the name of design, unnecessary design elements are introduced in folio and those too are not followed consistently. Body copy and box copy both are using same font and size. Entire magazine is designed in sans family only in a few photographs serifs are used for the captions. Captions are placed in some images/photographs and at some places they are missing. Even those are there, are not in any discipline.

Photographs, Infographics & illustrations used in the magazine are also poor. Since these elements are sourced from different points, the quality, the style, the presentation is also different and that inconsistency leaves a bad taste to the reader.

The cover of launch issue of trafficinfratech is the worse. This is very unprofessionally conceptualized & designed cover that represents the entire magazine’s design in true sense. Looking at the cover only, one can get the idea of design standards he can expect on inside pages. Poor cover stories, poor placement, poor treatment, poor imaging, badly placed elements… overall a bad cover!


Photographs are good but spoiled in bad treatment. Few are placed badly few are not corrected before press work. Otherwise printing is good and text part is printed well. Prepress work is poor if it was perfect, printing could have been even better.


Paper used for Trafficinfratech is good and reasonably good printing is giving it a better look. If content was more apt and if design was little bit disciplined, the magazine would have been a good magazine. Since it is a business to business magazine, you won’t find it at regular newsstands. Bi-monthly Trafficinfratech is carrying very less content to read in two months and it is priced at Rs. 100.

As conclusion, Trafficinfratech is a badly presented bunch of articles which are written based upon inputs & white papers given by people from this industry.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

International catalog for Indian homes

'Trends', a new magazine launched in India by WWM & Times group JV. In fact, it is not a magazine but it is a series of topical books which are in shape of magazines. Since these are produced this way and made available at premium book & magazine stores only, they are positioned as ‘bookazines’. For the longer shelf life these bookazines don’t have the publication date on the cover. In order to follow the trend of its International edition, the Indian edition will also have 10 issues only in a year.

‘Trends’, as they claim, is the most read reference world-wide by the professional designers & architects. It has already 10 international editions ( before coming to India. Internationally it has various titles like Home and Apartments, Kitchen, Renovation, Exteriors, Commercial Spaces, and bathrooms etc. But, here in India only Home series is launched.


They call it a great source of reference but I see it as just a compilation of couple of good home designs. To broaden the scope of content they have included Kitchen, Interior, garden & commercial designs altogether in single title- Home Trends.

‘Home Trends’ is collective showcase of (mostly) International & Indian designs. It is good for the professionals to get the ideas and perhaps to showcase their work here.

Though it is not in a regular magazine format, still it has some sections those, more or less are the compartments in which they have put similar designs together. In the name of article, there are around a ten of beautiful pictures of every design and very few words (400 on an average) for layout in 6-8 pages, that’s it. Inaugural issue has showcased almost 25 designs in one issue but all (well, most of them) are in the same layout. This monotonous presentation makes it even more look like a catalog or a brochure for ideas only.

Text is very less in the entire the magazine hence very less is left to do for the sub editors. Still there are lots of widow & orphan linesacross the magazine. Photo Captions are good & are quite helpful to understand the rationale behind the design. Very few designs (articles) only have floor plans along with the photographs.


Though the magazine has some compartments to keep similar articles together, but design of this magazine is failed to highlight those compartments. They are visible only on content’s page.

Design, as I said earlier is very-very monotonous. And still it is not perfect or flawless. Since the magazine has very less design elements, it could be just flawless. But there are carelessly placed elements or images which makes a lousy layout. Most of the Photographs used in the magazine are excellent and gives a classy feel to the magazine as a whole.

Across the magazine, column width of body text keeps changing from article to article in order to adjust with the photographs. Few photographs are going into the bleed and on the opposite page only, other photographs are placed in page area!

It is understandable that parent brand has its own design guidelines to follow but those can be tweaked (with mutual consensus obviously) little bit keeping the socio-psycho understanding of local audience in the mind. Cover, as the trend of ‘Trends’ carries one beautiful photograph to represent the title and that’s it… No cover story, no theme on the cover! I think, keeping the positioning of this product in the mind, it is kept deliberately that way. It may not be good for newsstand/shelf sale but I think that publisher of ‘trends’ might have thought of compensating this dip in sale in some other way.

In India, putting one photograph (only) on the cover is going to be more problematic for store sale because unlike its international editions here, all the issues will have same title- ‘Home’, that may confuse the buyer and people can miss some issues.


Entire magazine is photographs heavy and photographs used in the magazine are just excellent. Same level of prepress job has enhanced even more the visual appeal of the product. Printing of the magazine is good.


Paper which is average for a magazine but I think it should be better than a normal magazine’s paper as it is going to have longer shelf life and it is going to be kept as a collectible. ‘Trends’ is available in modern retails outlets and prime newsstands at cover price of Rs250. Looking at the quantity and the quality of ‘ideas’ a professional designer can get from an issue, the price is fine. Still, at the same price if it could have used better paper, it was just perfect.

Finally, ‘Home Trends’ is a good source for the professional designers who keep looking for ‘new’ ideas and reference.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Ashvarttha: All is well…!

You must agree that wellness is just another booming sector today and that is why we have been witnessing so many new launches since last recent years – 4thD Wellness, Complete Wellbeing, Men’s Health, Prevention, Doc n Doc, Asianspa India etc…some for general reader and some for trade or industry people. Earlier, we had very few national level magazines and a couple of regional language magazines on this subject as a broad category. But, in the last 2-3 years, even this genre is divided further into more specific and focused verticals like health, cure, prevention, care and even luxury spa etc. All is about wellness…!

‘If you don’t have any disease, it doesn’t mean that you are healthy’ – this is the whole concept behind this recently launched magazine (by Parimal Communications) called- Ashvarttha (Tree of Peepal). Publisher & Editor, Niharika Peri claims that the ideas are inspired from the ancient but the approach is absolutely modern in this magazine that has a mission to move this world ahead in a healthy way.


Unlike other wellness magazines, Ashvarttha is not an easily understandable name as a title of a magazine that clearly tells about the genre of the magazine and that is why a tag line – ‘The Wellness Magazine’, was necessary to put over the masthead.

Though it is wellness magazine which is very focused subject to create the content around, still inaugural issue has many stories which are nowhere or hardly connected to the subject. There is one interview of Actress Sharmila Tagore, one travel story, another interview with a cop on his job which has no connections to wellness. As it is very thin and having very less content to read as it is a bi-monthly magazine. Top of that, stories which are not related to the subject, disconnects it from its targeted reader. Even the advertisers appeared in inaugural issue do not belong to the genre of this magazine.

Entire magazine has no edit structure, it’s simple a collection of couple of articles that’s it. Any article could have placed anywhere in the magazine. Most of the articles are not structured properly and even worse is the cover story of the inaugural issue that is presented so badly that you cannot find where story is leading, where it is ending.

Poor copy and mediocre subbing don’t leave a good reading taste.


Designing and layout of Ashvrattha are same thoughtless and irrational as its content is. Even a quite big creative team has no idea of the basics of a magazine page design. Almost every page in this page has its own style, layout, grid without any consistency. Almost every text element in this magazine is using sans font while only just a few elements are using serif… that too without any reason or any design sense.

Cover of inaugural issue is designed badly. It has no consistency of selecting fonts for various cover stories. Every story line is using different effects and colors, which make it too cluttered cover that gives a discomfort reading. What could be worse than that cover image is horizontally flipped of the lead image used in cover story inside.

Inside the magazine, page numbers & other folio elements are unnecessarily given in too many colors that on one hand are inconsistent and on the other hand leave chances of errors.

Across the magazine, there are lots of design inconsistencies in usage of drop caps, font usage for titles & introductions and gutter lines.


Most of the photographs used in the magazine seem like those are taken from stock and are in good quality, still designers have spoiled a few of them by over-sizing them. Photographs which are printed in smaller or appropriate sizes are printed well. Pre production & color correction work is fine. Overall printing is good.


Being a bi-monthly magazine it should have contained lots of content, lots of information, lots of articles but Ashvrattha has only 40 pages precisely. Paper used for the magazine is good. That thin issue made of mix of relevant & irrelevant articles is priced at Rs. 75 which I think is just not justified.

All I can say that Ashvarttha is just a thoughtless & very unprofessionally executed magazine which will not be able to appeal its target audience nor the relevant clients unless it is tweaked drastically.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Youth Eye: Absolutely Unconscious

Though actual tag line is ‘Collectively Conscious’ but the way this magazine goes, my title suits better.

By the way, I am talking about a monthly magazine – ‘Youth Eye’ which is recently

launched by Pragati Printing & Publications co. and as its title suggests it is targeting youth only! But, after going through initial issues of this magazine it very clear that the publisher & editor of this magazine have no idea how to create a magazine.The articles are so general in nature that they can appeal anybody (rather nobody)!


Editorial structure of this magazine is extremely unplanned and unfocused. Though, in the first issue only, they have managed to convey their negligence of publication by giving very amateurish section names like – Youth Fashion, Youth Passion, Youth Hangouts, Youth Health, Youth

fitness, Youth social commitments…!!! God only knows whether these were section names or articles because they have got

disappeared in later issues while these were prominently shown on the cover of inaugural issue. I can’t understand if this magazine is for youth only, what could be the reason of putting the word ‘youth’ as a prefix to all the section names so explicitly.

While reviewing this magazine, third issue was already released in the market and shockingly all three issues have different structure for content representation! Price is changed (reduced from Rs.75 to Rs.60 precisely), paper size is changed, navigation is changed, back cover is carrying another option of front cover, size & placement of mast-head is changed… and top of that they call it ‘innovation’!

Selection of article also vague…it is not more than a compilation of randomly picked articles from here and there. That is why there is no consistency in writing or in presentation. Any article doesn’t leave a good taste after reading because of its pathetic copy desk work and poor

subbing. Advertorials are placed badly in the magazine so that it confuses the reader and this is harmful for the credibility of magazine as well.


It is horrible! What all design

flaws are possible are there in this single issue. Even the basics of magazine design are not in place… grid is missing, alignments are bleeding, text is bleeding into the folio, pictures are pushing text columns, base lines are not locked, leading is varying, body copy typefaces are changing… and what not! Designers have tried all possible designs, layouts, colors, fonts at fullest. And I wonder how one editor can allow making blunders like

these (unless he himself has no clue of designing)!

All three issues have different layouts for inside pages. Even a single issue has variety of design errors. It clearly shows that design team has no style sheet or guide lines to follow. They did whatever came in their minds.

Selection of photograph is also bad and so is the level of illustrations.


Picture quality is very poor and so are the other design elements which are used across the magazine. Remaining is ruined by the pre-press team. Even on the cover photograph of Pooja Chopra for the inaugural issue is just spoiled by overdoing corrections.

Most of the photographs are not showing true skin colors that shows color correction work is done carelessly in the magazine. Printing is fine but because of poor pre-press it lacks in quality.


Even for the production, cheap glossy paper is used for this magazine. Average 80-90 pages are just compilation of some irrelevant articles and random and lousy photographs. And paying Rs. 60 for this kind of substandard content is also not advisable.

To sum up all I can say that ‘youth eye’ is just an example of a magazine that has no editorial focus and is just launched without any magazine publishing knowledge. I don't think that youth can enjoy reading this or if they can get any benefit out of this.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

IT NEXT: It’s for CIO of tomorrow!

IT NEXT is the new magazine launched by 9.9 Mediaworx pvt. ltd. (also the publisher of digit, skoar, CTO forum, Digit Channel, Industry 2.0, Logistic 2.0 and several more…) in the beginning of this year. IT NEXT is targeting next in line CIOs to help them to reach at top seat.

More you slice any vertical, more you need to be careful for your positioning. Even a small deviation from your domain can blur the fine and definite boundaries of the positioning of your

Editorial Structure of magazine is fine, except the weak BOB part…! Also, I can't understand the need of repeating 'Update' section again in the BOB. 'Insights' and '15-Minute Manager' sections are interesting & carrying informative content.

Most of the articles are structured well but Subbing could be improved.

Well, the cover story of inaugural issue is good for general reading but the structure of article is flawed. Further, the word 'SURVEY' sounds here 'over rating' for an ordinary story. This is a good article anyway even it was written based upon inputs from managers from across country, but 'survey' is absolutely too big tag to give this story. And presenting 6 figures (only) as the outcome of this 'extensive survey' (That too so loud) shows the shallowness of the survey. Otherwise this article is written well and is quite informative. Yes, presentation of this article could be even better.

I am wondering for this cover why the 5 out of 6 stories on the cover are interrogative. 5WH is OK, but it shouldn't be so obviously in the story titles itself!

While going through the magazine cover to cover- the quality of content doesn't go consistent across the magazine. Only a very few pages in the middle of the magazine of 64 pages are containing in depth information while the rest of the pages seem average on depth part.

Good design, especially colors are quite soothing & contemporary for this kind of subject, though there are some goof-ups in the presentation of some articles. Illustrations and infographics created in the magazine are just perfect.

On the cover, cover story is just perfect but is unnecessarily cluttered. It seems as in the confusion of highlighting the right 'pull', it is given all kinds of treatments (different colors, backgrounds etc. ) to various words like- YOU, THE NEXT, CIO, 7…!
Also, '+' sign doesn't go well with 'single cover storied' cover!

Layout of 'Big Q' section is appearing just out of the place. It's very common and impractical while the rest of the magazine is very fresh and trendy in terms of look and feel.

There are some places where design has been inconsistent… may be its by mistake… (if these are corrected in forthcoming issues…)!

Prepress work is fine. And so is printing! That is why photographs have come out well and in terms of look and feel, overall magazine is looking just great.

Paper quality for inside magazine and for the cover is good. But 64 pages of content are too less to quench your thirst for the information. Since it is the magazine which you cannot see on newsstand, so you will have to subscribe it for Rs.1400 (12 Issues) and looking at content quality/quantity it seems slightly on higher side.

Overall, IT NEXT is good to browse but to hook the IT managers permanently into this, this magazine needs to be A) improve on objective content & its structure and B) absolutely firm & consistent on its positioning.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

CAREERS360 in Hindi: 360 degree of blunder!

Do you remember my ‘virdi’ct for ‘CAREERS360’ magazine ( that I have posted almost a year ago at its launch? As it is that English edition is not so impressive and now its Hindi edition is also there in the market and this is even worse. After going through this launch issue of Hindi edition, I am wondering why this product is launched at all? If it was meant to be a substandard product the way it is, then what was the need for creating it? Why the people behind this kind of poor ‘language-edition’ don’t respect their audience or at least their own product’s credibility?

This Hindi edition of ‘CAREERS360’ is just a great example of careless execution of localization of any content product. Though, it is published by Mr. Maheshwer Peri (Pathfinder Publishing Pvt. Ltd.), still in terms quality or presentation it is nowhere close to any product of Outlook group.

What is wrong in it?

Hindi edition of CAREERS360 has a long list of unforgivable problems as follows and all of these make it a bad product-

- Content (at major) is created for English edition

- Poor and even wrong translation (and sometimes literal translation)

- Substandard copy desk work (poor sentence structure and erroneous grammar)

- Careless proofing (spelling, punctuation, typo and software related errors)

- Inconsistent usage of language (Urdu/Devnagri/English/English words in devnagri script)

- At places some words are used in local slangs and some places its literary

- Inconsistent usage of spelling at different place of a single word

- No writing guidelines are followed

- No editing style sheet is followed

- Not connecting to the audience (irrelevant examples are given)

- Content is already published 3-4 months ago in its English edition

- Not a single exclusive article for Hindi edition that could be used to highlight on the cover

How can be a product so wrong?


It is badly ‘created’! I don’t think that any reader will be able to connect to it. Bad language, spelling mistakes, mix of various languages like Urdu, English, Literary Hindi, street level Hindi and what not…! While reading such a bad language, it is difficult for anyone to concentrate and appreciate the subject or the issue discussed in the article.

I strongly believe that the content requirement for both the editions audience is exactly the same and hence the content should be also the same. The only acceptable difference is of the language, that’s it. But, its Editor Mr. Mahesh Sarma, is perhaps confused to how to treat them differently. And this perceived difference is not a small to him but it is huge and is clearly visible at many places in the magazine. Huge difference in pricing of the both the products, Content quantity served for both the readers, Quality of content (unverified, misspelled, poorly edited) given to the Hindi audience that you cannot even think of putting in English edition. That kind of negligence shows how sincerely you are taking your product and your target audience.

Just to prove my point here- the launch issue of CAREERS360 Hindi is carrying the cover story which is also published in English edition in the March 2010 issue i.e. ‘India’s Best Students’. In the English edition, this article is listing the names & success stories of 40 great students. (As it is very subjective and debatable methodology of preparing this list... but let’s not get into this for this point of time.) This list was just to motivate the students that even they can follow their path and get succeed in the life… it was no where related to language you speak. Then how come the list is cut down to 18 profiles only when it is published in Hindi edition??? Other 22, who are dropped from this list, were not useful or relevant for Hindi audience or what? I can’t even think any reason of dropping their names. If space was the constraint, it could be managed by cutting copy within the description… but at least all forty should be remained there in the list. Otherwise entire list could be given in a small box along with the description of selected ones.

Same sort of lacking of quality is there in translation (from English edition to Hindi edition)- it is bad and at some points it is wrong also! Spellings are written differently and even wrong at different places. If these kinds of errors are not bearable for English edition, how can one treat a language edition that way?

Apart from that, there is no structure of writing articles in this issue and articles are edited very badly. Same is with the structure of entire magazine that it is not clearly defined. Badly translated/adopted section names are not coming out properly.


That is also lifted from its English edition... even though it is not so great! And this could be height of negligence that while lifting design elements from English edition there are few elements were kept as it is they were designed using English script only. They look out of the place when they appear in the Hindi edition.

Lots of design inconsistencies are there that clearly shows the lack of design style sheet. No design philosophy is followed in blurbs (typo & colors) and in headlines/sub heads etc. Cover story of the launch issue and even the edit page is laid out badly. Throughout the magazine, lots of elements like boxes, tables, box heads, and titles of illustrations are treated very thoughtlessly. That leaves very bad taste while browsing entire magazine from start to end.


At least that is the only thing which can be considered ok. Prepress work also is fine (may be because all the design elements, illustrations & photographs are lifted from English edition) in the magazine.


Looking at the cover price which is kept very low as Rs.15 for this monthly magazine and the content quality it offers, it is not the product worth to appreciate.

Career, itself is the genre that has lots of scope of making a great product (regardless of language) that can spread like a fire in the jungle if served the relevant & quality content to the readers. But right now, the Hindi edition of CARRERS360 is in very bad shape which needs to be improved a lot. As Mr. Peri has said in one interview with exchange4media that Hindi market has a huge opportunity if rightly priced… with due respect, I would humbly like to say that- sure, it has huge opportunity only if ‘right served’. It can be priced at our own terms later if readers find it relevant, useful & indispensable for their life… their career!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Lonely Planet: Almost perfect travel guide!

I often say- when it is just close to the perfection, even a small mistake seems bigger than it is in the real. That small error of yours can ruin all your efforts of making your creation perfect to the T. The Indian edition of ‘Lonely Planet’ magazine which is launched last week in India by WWM Pvt Ltd (also publisher of Filmfare, Femina – English and Hindi, Good Housekeeping, Top Gear, Hello, Grazia etc.) is a latest entrant in travelling space in Indian market.

37 years old brand LP (Lonely Planet) has around 500 guides and claims the sale of 6.5 million books every year. LP has introduced its magazine in UK last year and now it is released in India where it has to compete with already existing players (Outlook Traveler, Travel Plus, Discover India, Travel + Leisure, Express Travel World – B2B etc.) in travel space.


The editorial structure of LP magazine is quite disciplined. Entire magazine is divided into proper sections that help a reader to navigate it at ease. Postcards, Easy trips, Features, Insider, and Mini guides are its editorial strength. With this kind of structure one can be easily familiar and comfortable with the magazine. Quality of articles, depth of information is really impactful and writing is also enjoyable.

The ratio of Indian and International destinations clearly shows that this magazine is not for an average Indian reader who mostly travels with family during kids’ school vacations. It is surely not for those whom travelling is just visiting their native place and carrying Paraathe-achaar-Poori-saangri-Thepla-Khaakhra etc for the journey. Cover stories of launch issue clearly define its positioning that it is meant for urban upper class only.


Overall presentation of the magazine is good and is quite pleasant while browsing. But, as I have mentioned in the beginning that if small mistakes here and there could be taken care, it could have been just flawless and it could have set new standards in its space.

Inside pages are laid out with reasonable consistency while there are few mistakes here and there in some pages. But, the cover of launch issue is just a blunder. It has lots of inconsistencies and that shows lack of design philosophy and in result it has turned out as a bad cover.

The core strength of the magazine are its beautiful photographs (except a very few) and brilliant illustrations and info-graphics used is the articles.


As per the demand of this kind of content, printing should be absolutely excellent. And, LP magazine is just perfect at its printing front. Accordingly, prepress work is also perfect to bring out the final result.

The geographical maps which are very fine printed are just sharp and so clear that they have come out quite conveniently readable.


Launch issue of LP has 230 pages and it is priced at Rs.100. Looking at the content, presentation and the overall product, this cover price of this monthly magazine is quite justified. Mini Guides in this magazine are given in the form of a set of 16 thick pages which can be torn and collect separately. One beautiful calendar is also available along with every copy of this issue.

As conclusion, I would say that Lonely Planet Magazine is going to set new standards in travel magazines’ space. With a few tweaks in the product it can be the essential handbook for every traveler. It is going to give serious competition to existing magazines as well as it will make tough entry for ‘Condé Nast Traveler’ (which is also about to launch in country very soon) unless everybody creates his own undisputed and unique position.

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!!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Red Carpet: Doesn’t deserve for self!

Most pathetic publication released in recent few months (rather, in years) I have come across is – Red Carpet. This monthly magazine is launched late in the last year by owner, printer and publisher – Subodh Tyagi. It is priced at Rs.100 and is self acclaimed as world’s 1st new dimension film journal. But, it has no editorial focus and looks like a compilation only of a few substandard filmy gossips and photographs.

Nothing that you can enjoy in this magazine... neither it is informative nor is entertaining. It has no editorial structure that could define the personality of this magazine. The issue I am going through is nothing but a collection of a few interviews, some gossips & tidbits… that’s all.

And top of that, Edit note of the same issue is talking about Colors TV channel while entire issue has not even a single story on TV programs nor about TV stars! This clearly shows the editorial has no guidelines what they want to present and how they want to position their product.

Worse than its content…! Designers have no idea that how the entire magazine needs to be designed, layout or presented. Starting right from the cover, it is quite visible that its design is very immature and unprofessional. Very unlikely of filmy magazines, it has three stories only on the cover and even those are presented very badly.

Same substandard layout is done even for the inside pages of the magazine. There is no style sheet followed by the designer. No font families, no color definitions, no grids, no photographs style…everything is placed just like that… without following any rule or discipline. There are lots of design elements and effects are introduced unnecessarily throughout the magazine.

Photographs seem that they are taken either from stock or downloaded low resolution from various web sites. That is why most of the pictures are appearing poor.

As pathetic as content and design are! Prepress work is also substandard that is why a few photographs which could have been printed well, even they are spoiled.

The only characteristic that stands out about this magazine is the orientation of the ‘Red Carpet’. This is a horizontal shaped (landscape) magazine but the poor paper quality doesn’t support this shape. This landscape shape is suitable for coffee-table books not for the magazines as magazines are meant to be read in comfortable posture.

Finally, I don’t see any value that you can get out of this highly priced magazine… neither information nor even eye-candy photographs of bollywood actor-actresses.

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‘VIRDI’CT ......................: ○○○○○

How to use ‘VIRDI’CT..??
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