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Monday, December 12, 2011

Science for a common man: Popular Science India

I always see ‘Popular Science’ magazine as a periodical that explains the reality of this scientific universe in simple language to a common and a layman where he lives. It covers every aspect science and technology that touches our day-to-day life and may affect our future. It brings science from scientists’ laboratories to the layman’s level understanding of complicated facts & principles and that is why I prefer to call it ‘People Science’ magazine.

The most authoritative & leading source of latest science & technology world – ‘Popular Science’ was launched in 1872 in America as a monthly magazine. Since then, after the launches of around in 30 languages in more than 45 countries, it is now launched in India by Next Gen Publishing (also the publishers of Smart Photography, Car, Bike, The Ideal Home & Garden, Mother & Baby, Computer Active, Commercial Vehicle etc).


Its topic is such that it really does not require be localized and that is why Indian edition has almost entire content from its parental publication only. Hence, no complaints till the time it is relevant for its targeted readers. Structure of magazine does not come across the magazine as clear as it appears on contents pages. The section – What’ s New, looks little weird here in this magazine as the entire magazine is already positioned as latest & updated resource of innovations in the scientific world. Features are very informative and supported with facts & figures that makes an article very interesting to read.

Since it is targeting a common man who wants to know about the world, the language of articles is kept simple & jargon free to make the subject easily understandable. Though, I find inconsistencies in structure of articles the way they are written and that makes some articles disinteresting. Overall, the entire magazine is very informative and anyone can enjoy reading it. Yes, I feel that the content falls short looking at its monthly periodicity.


Since whole content published here in Indian edition is from its US edition, the only part is left to do here is design & layout the pages… and in many cases even that is kept same. Still, there are many inconsistencies and loop holes left in design. Considering it a general interest magazine and keeping the subject in mind it really needed to be a lively and vibrant in appeal. This is what the designers have tried to make it but when there are so many things or so many design elements are introduced in one magazine, it becomes big challenge to handle them and it should be handled extremely carefully and consistently.

Cover of the launch issue itself looks little imbalance and has lacking in proof reading. The cover of Indian edition does not match with the grid of its parental edition. Without enough numbers of cover stories, the issue looks very shallow in terms of content. Subject of this magazine is such that it requires lots of stories in every issue to justify its worth. Yes, its masthead in fluorescent color is coming out very well and pops up in the magazines’ crowd at newsstand.

Layout of ‘Contents pages’ looks as if randomly done and has no consistency. Same sort of inconsistency is there in the presentation of section openers. Image boxes, those are used in the top band, are absolutely useless and could be used in better way. As I have mentioned that too many elements means, too much care and too much precision is required… and this is the area where this magazine has problems and needs to have check points.

Info graphs & illustrations are very impressive and informative except one or two places which look out of place here in this magazine. Photographs are also excellent and handled very well in layout the pages. Again at some pages some goofs occurred which I am sure, will not happen in other issues.


Prepress work is fine as images are looking great. Photographs are appeared in almost natural colors and are looking good. The only problem is that it is printed at low density and that’s why pictures are not smooth but showing pixels. Otherwise, issue is printed well with perfect registration. Colors are also come out appropriate except a few pages where some particular ink is appearing heavy. Again, I hope that will be taken care in next issues.


Inaugural issue of Popular Science consists of 100 pages. Paper quality of inside pages and the cover is just perfect as it should be. Though it has a perfect bound spine still it looks very thin and gives a feel that it has very less to read. I think that it should have two more forms to justify its newsstand cover price of Rs.100.

Since it is not a hardcore science journal but is an interesting source for the mass – a common educated man, it carries lots of features, facts, insightful articles in a descent manner and at an affordable price. This is the magazine which you can read and enjoy when you are travelling or you are sipping your evening tea.

For more Indian magazine reviews: