Covers Sell

Covers Sell

Archive for the ‘Then and Now’ Category

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!

Rotman…New Look!

Posted by Scott On August - 22 - 2012

Rotman magazine has a new look!

Rotman Management Review is published three times per year by the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management.  For the past decade, the Rotman School has been developing ‘a new way to think’ about leadership, and Rotman magazine reflects the School’s mission to shape the mindset of the modern leader. First published for alumni of the school, the magazine’s audience has expanded in recent years to include paid subscribers, business leaders and journalists worldwide.

Now, with ambitious plans to expand their newsstand reach in both Canada and the U.S., K9 Design and have been working with the publisher on a bold new look.

“As the Sales & Circulation Associate at Rotman Management Review, I’m excited to be working with Scott Bullock, K9 Design, and Coast to Coast, to increase our circulation onto newsstands with our graphic new cover,” says Kate Mills.

Editor-in-Chief Karen Christensen says, “As we begin to expand our reach on North American newsstands, we needed a more commercial version of our cover for the newsstand segment.  K9 Design has created a bold look that will enable us to stand proud on newsstands alongside our aspirational peer group, which includes Harvard Business Review, strategy+business, and Fast Company.”

K9’s Creative Director Norm Lournco says, “Our approach to this cover was one with great respect. The cover was already well known in its niche market. The logo for the nameplate had to remain the same so we worked with all of the other elements available to us that we could affect change with. Introducing large, bold cover lines, call out boxes, typography hierarchy and a fresh colour palette will increase visibility in a very heavily populated category. I think the resulting cover is a great reflection of staying true to the Rotman brand while giving it enough punch to amp -up the call to action on stands.”

As for me, it’s an honour to participate in the re-design of a new cover treatment for Rotman Management Review. The new look and feel is bold, business-like, and smart, and will help propel us to an aggreessive re-launch through the wholesale supply channel, in both Canada and key U.S. markets, later in the year. The magazine will be priced to compete head-to-head against the Harvard Business Review.

Legion…Then & Now

Posted by Scott On August - 16 - 2012

Legion magazine was first published on May 15th, 1926. This makes it the 3rd oldest continuously published magazine in Canada, behind Maclean’s (1905) and Canada’s History–formally The Beaver  (1920.)

“Legion Magazine began publishing in 1926 to serve the members of The Royal Canadian Legion. Over the past two decades the magazine has evolved into an engaging and attractive popular magazine that focuses on all aspects of Canada’s military past. Legion Magazine serves up a blend of Canadian history and military heritage with a healthy portion of news and information on our veterans, the military, current issues, seniors and health. ”

The magazine has undergone a number of different re-designs over the years…here are a few of the major changes so you can see how the brand has evolved.  The current art director is Jason Duprau, who graciously provided the images from their archives.

The magazine made itself available on newsstands effective with the May/Jun 2009 issue.  Since that time the magazine has published two SIP’s.  Both SIP’s sold for $14.95 and were huge newsstand success stories. 

The magazine has over 250,000 active paid subsbcribers too!

Insert Card We Love

Posted by Scott On July - 23 - 2012

Check out the new insert card (blow-in) from Maclean’s…it came in my subscriber copy.

Here at we love it that Maclean’s is celebrating the history of their magazine’s evolution, from 1908 to 2012, as the card highlights four different cover designs used over the decades.

Maclean’s remains one of my favorite Canadian magazines, and continues to post strong newsstand sales, both for their regular and special issues!



Azure (10)
Canadian Geographic (10)
Check Up (47)
Circasaurus (48)
Cover Fight (3)
Cover of the Week (139)
Covers that Sell (139)
Esquire (10)
Hall of Fame (17)
New and Net-worthy (155)
Quiz Show (4)
Texas Monthly (10)
The Beaver (10)
Then and Now (18)
Uncategorized (8)

WP Cumulus Flash tag cloud by Roy Tanck and Luke Morton requires Flash Player 9 or better.


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.



    See you at the Newsstand .....
    Garden Making issue 4 promo at Chapters Our Feature pktNewsstand Marketer of The Year 2010Scott in the countyIMG_3227Can Geo's Overwaite RackCanGeo201006 SafewayGeo201006Chapters End CapWall of Covers at Native PeoplesDay at RacesVespa at BeachCanadian Geo's Great Wall of CoversGarden Making issue 2 promo at Wal-Mart New Release RackGarden Making issue 2 promo at Chapters End CapPools at CostcoWalmart PromotionPools, Spas & Patios at ZellersHome Depot (Pools, Spas & Patios + Canadian Geographic)Garden Making Launch at ChaptersKen Whyte's Wall of CoversBucky