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Archive for the ‘Then and Now’ Category

Ski Canada New Look

Posted by admin On July - 22 - 2014

Ski Canada magazine, which outsells all it’s domestic and U.S.-based competitors, isn’t playing it safe.

Working with K9 Strategy+Design (who has been art directing the magazine for 8 years) and, the 2015 Gear Guide issue has received a complete makeover.

Publisher Paul Green says, “It was time for Ski Canada magazine to refresh its image so we went to K9 Design, our long term partner in the magazine’s art direction. Assignment: capture the vitality of alpine skiing in an all new look for 2015.”

Norm Lourenco  of K9 Design says,  ”We’ve designed Ski Canada for over 8 years but never redesigned it. To say we are stoked is an understatement, but we realize the enormous responsibility and sensitivities that come with redesigning such a celebrated and respected Canadian publication. Our goal is to strengthen the 42 year old brand as a current, authoritative voice on all things ski. Every redesign is a balancing act between yet-to-be-realised new readers and current loyal readers – you’re constantly asking have we gone too far, or not far enough. For Ski Canada, we’ve introduced elements that will bring a bit more fun to the reading experience, while still maintaining their role as the leading publication that is synonymous with skiing.”

The cover price has been raised from $5.95 to $6.99.

The new look goes on sale September 8th, 2014.

Fairmont Magazine Reveals New Look

Posted by admin On June - 23 - 2014

The importance of “refreshing” your magazines look and feel from time to time is the subject of a seminar that I will be presenting, along with Jennifer Neal of K9 Design, at the Manitoba Magazine Conference on Friday June 27th, 2014.

This pertains to not only newsstand and paid circulation titles, but to controlled titles too.

It was recently brought to my attention that Fairmont Magazine has just undergone a makeover.

Natasha Mekhail, Editor in Chief of Fairmont Magazine provided this background:

“Fairmont Magazine is an award-winning luxury publication distributed across the hotel brand’s 70-plus properties around the world. Every issue presents a mix of engaging storytelling and striking visuals that, while focused on Fairmont destinations, services and programs, carries the same rich, narrative tone as top consumer magazines, such as Conde Nast Traveller and Travel + Leisure.

We know that our readers are often on holiday when they encounter the magazine in their room; we know we’re competing with their novels, phones, and tablets. They won’t read our magazine if it doesn’t pop for them – nor will they read if they get a whiff of hard sell. In fact, we like to describe Fairmont Magazine as a travel and lifestyle publication that just happens to appear in a hotel. Still, the one place where that may not have come across was on the cover.

Past covers involved a fashion shoot showing a model at a featured hotel styled to embody the spirit of her destination. After several of these, however, our team and our clients agreed that, while beautiful, the staged images lacked a certain spontaneity and intrigue that would make readers look at it and say, “I need to know where that is.” Around the same time, Fairmont adjusted its own branding, subtly moving away from “hotel as focal point” for travel, and towards “hotel as gateway to the destination.” This move gave us license to stage a lifestyle cover.

The first thing you’ll notice in Example B: it’s not in a hotel. Instead, we shot an emerging Baku artist in an installation he designed for Azerbaijan’s pavilion at the Venice Biennale. The oil-rich city on the Caspian Sea, which many describe as the “next Dubai,” also has an incredible wealth of modern artists, who’s work often riffs on Azeri handicrafts, such as traditional tapestries.

We also moved to a full-bleed from a framed image, giving more presence to the cover photo. With this fun, playful cover (the artist actually asked if he could make a suit out of the same fabric as his set – and of course we said yes!), we’ve given Fairmont Magazine that “wow” factor, that spurs readers to pick up the magazine and find out what this incredible shot is all about.”

Cottage Life West (Winner!)

Posted by admin On May - 15 - 2014

When Cottage Life magazine acquired Cottage magazine, the decision was made to re-brand the magazine as Cottage Life West.

Here’s what Editor Penny Caldwell had to say:  ”Our objective with the Cottage Life West edition was to provide cottage and cabin owners in Western Canada with content exclusive to their region, which broadly covers Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. The editor and regional sales team are based in BC. It is a strategy that is supported by the successful new Edmonton Cottage Life and Cabin Show that debuted in April.”

Here are the covers:

The first is the 2014 04 issue, which went on sale March 24, 2014.  The second issue is the 2014 05 issue, which went on sale May 5th, 2014.  You’ll also see the old covers from 2013.

The regular covers of Cottage Life look like this:

The Western edition retails for $5.95, while the Eastern edition remains at $6.95.  All retailers from BC to SK receive the Western edition, while the rest of the country gets the Eastern edition.

First Covers

Posted by admin On August - 16 - 2013

An interesting look into the past….

Canadian Living’s New Look

Posted by Scott On July - 22 - 2013

Canadian Living is debuting a new look with their September 2013 issue.

The new logo has beefed up in size and impact.  The sky-bar area is working much harder with three strong hooks. The main sell line is up top, not down low like so many fashion magazines.  Bold use of the number 30 adds quantity to the quality.  Good positioning of the starburst button.  And love the tag line and treatment.

It’s great to see such a legendary brand not afraid to shake things up!

Check out that special “TRY ME” price of $2.99.

Bonus:  Every issue will have 4 covers…The Food cover will always be the lead, but each cover has a unique advertising opportunity (Fitness, Fashion, Home).

Here are some additional comments from the editor:

Let’s start with the brand new logo: The masthead is a take on Corinthian Bold and we love the strong simplicity of the single line with the tagline nestled below but getting to this simplicity wasn’t that easy. We felt strongly that both “Canadian” and “Living” were words too long for one line so we played with at least 25 different ways of stacking them: we tried both words at different sizes, different weights, in all caps, in all lower case, right justified, left justified, and more. After all of these combos, we had a favourite but when we showed it to our publisher Caroline Andrews, she wasn’t so convinced and asked us to try both words on one line. “Ridiculous” we chimed after she left but dutifully tried it anyway and got carried away for hours. We played with a skybar, main lines and big numbers and it all started to come together. By about 11:00 PM that night we knew Caroline was right (go figure, she has 24 years of experience in the business) and we had several one-line options to show her but had narrowed them down to two favourites. In the end, our cover team all agreed on this new logo and we brought the template into the studio to overlay as we were shooting our food features.

We’ve been talking about this Refresh of Canadian Living for months now and we knew to do it successfully, we had to nail our cover image so we asked for help. We polled a targeted group of Canadian Living readers and newsstand buyers and asked them to pick their favourite of four potential covers. In this survey we were also able to discover which image and which cover lines generated the highest preference and appeal.

The Smoked Salmon Pizza cover was the resounding winner and the test group loved our main sell line as much as we did: 30 days of easy, healthy & delicious recipes!

 Sidebar: There are four exclamation marks on the front and we know that’s a lot (“too many” says our copy editor Jill Buchner) but we’re just so excited about these stories and couldn’t help ourselves. 


Homes and Cottages gets New Look

Posted by admin On March - 21 - 2013

First published in 1989, Homes and Cottages has had several different name and design tweeks over the years, but until now has never undergone a complete re-design.

Refreshing the brand in this case yielded a very nice result.

According to publisher Steven Griffin, the re-design had several goals:

  • Produce a higher-end, more sophisticated-looking product for the consumer marketplace
  • Attract more readers
  • Attract more advertisers

However, the publication was clear that it did not want to be confused with a decorating magazine.  Rather, the goal was to still to focus on ”the nuts and bolts functional approach of the editorial content”…endeavouring to make it the best Canadian renovation and building magazine in the marketplace.

The re-design process started with a focus group.  “The most challenging part of the re-design was that as a split run magazine with both a trade and consumer version, there are many audiences.  Every feature article appears in both versions, but the conten had to be presented to each group in different yet relevant ways, ” said Steven Griffin.  “By containing the image area on the cover to a square, we are now less dependent on finding a vertical shot.”

“Overall we set out to make the book more consumer friendly without alienating the trade group, builders, architects, designers, etc.  The resulting update looks elegant without being stuffy or trendy.  The increased trim size (changed to a wider format) provides a unique size and lends itself to grreater image selection.”

The re-design was handled by K9 Design Co.

New Look. 

Old Look:


Posted by admin On March - 19 - 2013

The third issue… post re-design… of Alternatives Journal looks like a winner.

Here’s what Editor Eric Rumble, has to say:

“Early on in production of the Greenbelts issue of A\J, we got excited about the idea of having a Balkan lynx on our cover,” says A\J editor Eric Rumble. “We thought this intriguing and endangered creature was an excellent ambassador for our feature story about rejuvenating biodiversity along the old Iron Curtain route across Europe. Plus we figured that lynx are good looking enough to compete with any celebrity mug on the newsstand.”

New Look…Click to Enlarge Image

Old Look: 

Suncrusier Make-Over…Ad Sales up 12%

Posted by Scott On November - 22 - 2012

A new cover template for Suncruiser has just been created by art director Cassandra Redding.  The new and improved magazine is set to debut on newsstands in both Canada and the United States.

The logo has been completely re-worked, the sky bar area has been cleaned up, the type has been beefed up, large numeric benefit-oriented sell lines have been added, and more hooks have been squeezed in without cluttering up the cover.

“This has been a very exciting transition for us.  Traditionally, we published in the middle of January in order to service the Seattle and Vancouver Boat Shows, but the appetite of our advertisers got us thinking about publishing earlier and finding greater reach.  We were a bit nervous about bumping up our deadline by 5 weeks this year, but in fact it has already paid off.  We had an increase of 12% in ad revenues and we can attribute it directly to reaching the BC, AB and Washington State markets.  We also decided for a complete cover re-design and are looking forward to seeing how it performs on newsstands,” says Jason Tansem, Publisher.

The Special Annual retails for $6.95, on newsstands December 10th.

New Look for Alternatives Journal

Posted by Scott On November - 1 - 2012

Canada’s oldest and most-respected environmental publication, Alternatives Journal (A\J) has covered environmental science for more than forty (40) years. Their first issue was published in 1971. 

A\J’s editorial mission is to be “Canada’s Environmental Voice” by providing a forum for civilized debate and, when appropriate, to advocate for positive and sustainable solutions.

Here’s what publisher and creative director Marcia Ruby has to say about the bold new re-design:

“ We undertook this redesign project for both strategic and tactical reasons. Tactically, we wanted to make a bigger impact on the newsstand, a key battleground for growing both revenues and brand awareness. It is still too early to fully comment the success of this goal, but due in no small part to our new redesign, we have secured a broader distribution arrangement that will see more copies of A\J on more newsstands across Canada. So we consider that a good first victory. ”

“Strategically, as Canada’s most-established and most-respected environmental magazine, we felt our unique brand of intelligent and informed journalism should contribute to the much larger goal of finding a balance between economic and environmental sustainability. Canadians from coast-to-coast are facing challenging questions and changing climate realities, and they seek clarity and perspective in an easy-to-access format, supported by a strong scientific and research background. It was with this sense of urgency and with this heightened need in mind that we began this redesign project, and based upon initial feedback, A\J is now well-positioned to serve the needs of concerned Canadians and the broader environmental community.”

“We would like to thank Norm, Jenn and the entire team at K9 Design Co for taking the time to truly understand the nature of our needs and then diligently working towards developing a creative vision that perfectly balanced innovation with ease-of-execution. Thanks too to Scott Bullock at CoversSell.Com.  Our magazine is better for their efforts and we salute them for their contributions to our strategic evolution.”

Below is the first issue from Summer of 1971, the Sep/Oct 2012 pre re-design issue, and the new look Nov/Dec 2012 re-launch issue.



To view other Then & Now transformations, click here:

If you’d like to submit your magazine’s first ever issue with a new look, email jpgs of the covers to:

OWL celebrates 35 years with new look!

Posted by Scott On September - 6 - 2012

The September 2012 issue of OWL magazine is cause for celebration.  The magazine is strutting a new look to celebrate their 35th Anniversary….impressive.

Here is what Editor Kim Cooper has to say:

“During OWL’s 35 year legacy, the magazine continues to grow and evolve to stay current and engaging to our 9 to 13 year old target market. By moving away from a fully illustrated cover and incorporating bold and vibrant photographic and graphic type treatments, we aim to capture the attention and spark imaginations of our sophisticated readers of today.”

We like it!



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Circasaurus (48)
Cover Fight (6)
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Covers that Sell (146)
Esquire (10)
Hall of Fame (17)
New and Net-worthy (160)
Quiz Show (4)
Texas Monthly (10)
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Then and Now (21)
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About Me

Scott Bullock’s Newsstand Cover Quiz Show is legendary in the industry. Using covers as the catalyst, this interactive and entertaining format is a light-hearted but hard-hitting spin on Packaging 101. Testing the cover savvy of magazine professionals across disciplines, the Quiz Show pits publishers against editors, circulators against art directors, retailers against wholesalers -- ultimately leading to new common ground in the quest for better covers. Scott is the Owner of Circ3, Smart Circulation Solutions, a circulation consultancy.



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