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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.


Content

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.


Design

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.


Printing

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.


Product

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.


9 comments:

Sunder T said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sunder T said...

Good Post..It gives a clarity on B2B edit thing, usually ignored by average readers who see majorly the advts...

nirmal said...

Sorry Virdi, but I don't agree with you on this one. Sound Box is one of the best designed magazines in India. Considering the limited scope of design due to lack of editorial content (clearly visible) and the awful headlines, I think this is a superbly designed product.
Content presentation is perfect in the mag. I see no problems with either hierarchy or navigation. The magazine follows a strict grid structure which is rigid yet flexible as per the content. Superb use of the 3-point information dissemination structure. I find the use of the color palate very refreshing and much better than other B2C magazines. The designer has designed the entire magazine with just 3 colors plus black. Haven't seen many people do that yet...
Typography of the magazine is uber cool. For a product of this genre, the elegant mix of slab-serif, both free and commercial fonts is fantastic. Also, the thoughtful and elegant text setting of the magazine is not something an amateur designer would do. I have seen the best brands in the business do much worse typography. The last thing about the usage of the design devices (the spherical icons...) Not only do these work as eye candy, but every icon has a specific need, wherever they are used. Would you prefer the age old quotation symbol to the directional icon used in the mag? Think about it.

Last thing... Sorry if I'm being too blunt, but I think your reviews have become stale and formula driven. X% bouquets and Y% brickbats. Time to reinvent the wheel yeah!!

Nirmal Biswas
Senior Art Director,
Entrepreneur & Chip Magazine

G.S.Virdi said...

Sunder, Nirmal... Thanks for sharing your point of views!

Sunder T said...

..I think the analysis in WWW.magworld.in is very focused and it is properly structured. It covers comprehensively the Edit plan, Design, positioning of the brands,expectations from an average reader, and ideas to improve further. For any products there is scope for improvement and that is what this blog envisage for..( Virdi, correct me if I am wrong).

In fact this blog is first of this kind to review a magazine from a reader perspective. keep up the Good job,Sir!

Manoj Kumar Soyal said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
JD said...

like the design....but the magazine surely suffers from pathetic content...lousy articles...utterly insufficient in their delivery of information part from the copyright act ....nothing else....crap for 150 bucks....cover story interview is just a page long in most issues!!!!!!
more so they r not interested in knowing what people fel about their magazine...i see it close down this year!!

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