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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.