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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.


RMK Blog said...

Right verdi'ct..!!

I'd like to add a few more...

I really don't know what exactly is happening to this trend on wellness, I see more hype surrounding it & a quick money making mechanism working tirelessly than anything else.

Coming to the magazine review... It was a nice postmortem.

I see there is a fundamental issue with these kind of publications. They are more driven by fascination / status quo / instincts than what is needed --- a Business sense coupled with passion. Which is why, in my opinion publications like these land-up in a kinda suicidal attempts.

There are many such magazines that are churned out almost every month, which is making the newsstands stack unwanted crap, which is why the deserving magazines are fighting to find a space on the stands

I see this as a sheer arrogance on the part of the publishers where they take readers for granted thinking that a reader would read what they write than looking from the other-way round.

Primarily, they fail to do the basic homework on what exactly is required to start a publication & its not the money that can be a lone parameter, though it is essential.

It also portrays on the editorial standards stooping down, by compromising on the quality of the content that should go into a magazine restricting the content writers job to cut & paste.

One thing we must also see is that the WOW factor / nostalgia surrounding a celebrity these days. This has taken a nose-dive, thanks to the over indulgence of TV, the viewers are bored looking at them very frequently than not.

Therefore, people should stop getting into such mis-adventures and do the needed spade work before launching a publication.

G.S.Virdi said...

You are absolutely right Mr. Ram in every point you have raised here...!