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.
“Nice work Virdi, I really like and follow it regularly. In fact I bought the issue of Lonely Planet Magazine after reading your review only.”
SAI, Dy. Managing Director, ITP Publishing India.
…Very useful stuff. Thks. ...Spleandid work. And a good way to communicate the message to the team. ...Very interesting observations for making magazines even better!
…Good one. pl also see latest pc world and do an analysis quickly.
…Good Reviews Virdi. Keep contributing.”
KRISHNA TEWARI, GM, SIPD, Infomedia India Ltd.
“Dear Virdi sir, it is a wonderful thing you have done to give a detailed review of new magazines. It is a very good learning platform for people in the business of communication.”
G.V. SREEKUMAR, Associate Professor, IIT Bombay
“Wonderful Virdi sir, I hope the concerned magazine publishers also read these reviews…”
AMRITA GANGULY SALIAN, Editor, Disney Adventures.
“Really good job... it was worth reading :)"
RAJAT SAHU, Head Global Marketing, Microworld.
“Hi Virdi, I enjoy reading all your anecdotes. It is extremely useful to me. We are launching InformationWeek print edition in April. Looking forward to your valuable feedback on InformationWeek. As always, I value your inputs.
…Virdi has a lot of knowledge and experience in the publishing space.”
BRIAN PEREIRA, Exec. Editor, Informationweek India, UBM Group.
“Brilliant! Thanks so much for keeping me in mailing list. Awaiting the 10 page post mortem of Forbes India. Do send soon.”
DEEPAK AJWANI, Director Online, Forbes India, Network18.
“Absolutely correct Virdi, you are in sink with the current scenario, unfortunately some of the Editors and management are still in the Dinosaur era and will not change. Sad for they will become extinct or the will make the product defunct. Keep writing and posting.
...Thanks pal very interesting… Awaiting your view on Forbes. Well you seem to be now getting a lot of page views on Linkedin as a lot of my friends read your postings.”
KAISER FARUQI, National Head – B2B, sulkha.com.
“Hey Virdi, I am going to enjoy this!! Cheers”
SENTHIL CHENGALVARAYAN, Group Editor, Network18.
“Interesting stuff Virdi”
NABJEET GANGULI, Head-Mkting & Busi. Dev., Reed Infomedia India Limited.
“Virdi, now we need the 'VIRDI'CT on the Indian edition of Stuff. Their issue is just out.”
DEEPAK DHINGRA, Editor, T3 India.
“Really detailed & nice review - it is always a pleasure to read your words - thank for sharing. I will definitely look at the design perspectives you are pointing out. Humm... after reading your review, I think I need a serious re-look on the design once again!”
JAYAN NARAYANAN, Sr. Creative Director, 9dot9 Media Pvt. Ltd.
“Thanks for the review! Could you give me some specifics on what you thought was wrong with the cover? Any other bits we could improve?”
VARDHAN KONDVIKAR, Editor, Lonely Planet Magazine, WWM Media Pvt Ltd.
“Awesome reviews…Keep it up sir! Plan to publish these as a book”
“Welcome to the Editgroup!! And surely you jest when you say that that you wouldn't dare teach us anything--you have more experience in the editorial process than most people in the industry!
Friends, Virdi has had years of editorial experience in a very special area of publishing--that of formulating special interest titles in our national language, thereby resulting in far wider reach to our audiences across the nation. I've had the opportunity to work with him in a previous assignment and am confident that he will work his magic here at Infomedia as well. Believe me, there's plenty to be learnt from him in editorial process, brand positioning and content structure--if there's an intelligent Sardar, Virdi is the one! ;-)”
MARCO ANGELO D’SOUZA, Editor, CHIP, Infomedia18 ltd.
“How come Virdi sahib, I don’t see your review of the Forbes India magazine.”
DINESH KRISHNAN, Director Photography, Forbes India, Network18.
“Very interesting - and insightful!
...Virdi, Can you pull out a few magazines and see what's the best practice? Let's then standardise this for all our magazines.
Virdi + Team Overdrive! Well done. All credit to you! ...Thanks. Glad you liked it. Whats the virdict on the Careers360 mag? Keen to see your review!”
PRAKASH IYER, Managing Director, Infomedia India Limited.
“I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.”
MARGARET LE VAN DOMINGUEZ, Artist and Designer.
“Great job sirji...”
KAUSHIK CHAKRAVORTY, Freelance Photographer.
“Virdi Sir, it was interesting to read your analysis, I did visit your site sometime back, great work…”
…Any magazine till date that received a five star rating from you?
…Many thanks for adding my personal ID for your reviews. Deeply appreciated.
…You can do me one favor, can you evaluate JCK (a very honest appraisal) in a similar fashion and show me your ranking?
...I can see huge amount of efforts in this. The presentation made perfect sense to me. I believe we at Reed have a lot to learn from this presentation :-)”
SURESH RAMAKRISHNAN, Head, Reed-Infomedia.
“I really admire how well you review each magazine. Why don’t you do that with our in-house magazines as well? Each team will really benefit from your evaluation. Me and Deepak would love if you could do an analysis of T3 whenever you’ve got free time.”
TRUPTI GHAG, Feature Editor, T3, Infomedia18 Ltd.
“I'm a regular reader of your blog. And basically wanted to send across the magazine I work for, it's called platform. we're a contemporary arts bi-monthly magazine. This is our 5th year in circulation, and it would be wonderful to hear your thoughts on the same.”
All the postings on this blog are my personal and unofficial opinions and views which should not be used as an evidence or official statement for any business purpose. My rating system has got nothing to do with ABC or IRS or any other survey or reports.