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Abilities Rocks the Chair

Posted by admin On July - 10 - 2014

The Spring 2014 issue of Abilities magazine is very interesting.

Here’s what I’ve been told about the magazine from Cameron Graham, PhD:

“Abilities magazine is a lifestyle/consumer magazine for Canadians with disabilities. It was founded by the late Raymond D. Cohen over a quarter century ago. Published quarterly, it is approaching its 100th issue.”

“Our readership is about 80,000. Roughly a third of that is through individual subscriptions, the rest through bulk subscriptions distributed via disability-related organizations to their members. ”

“The magazine is prepared under the guidance of a board of directors representing the disability community, so it is very much “of” people with disabilities, not just “for” them. We publish content that is intended to inspire and inform, and to link people to opportunities. Occasionally we provoke, hence this cover.”

“Here is how the cover came about. Our editorial committee was meeting one evening earlier this year to plan themes and content for upcoming issues. One of our board members, Joel Dembe, a Canadian wheelchair tennis player and Paralympic athlete, was trying to convey to us that our ideas were a little tame. He showed us this logo and we just burst out laughing. The logo came from the website of a nonprofit organization in Spain called yeswefuck.org. They are doing some highly provocative work in changing people’s perceptions of disability.”

“At some point over the following few days, one of our graphic artists mocked up an Abilities cover with the logo on it. As soon as we saw it, we realized that it had the potential to be a really strong cover. We were obviously concerned about how our audience would react, but after talking it over, we concluded that it would work as a question about how Canadians with disabilities perceive themselves. We needed strong content to match the logo, and we succeeded in getting it. Without that content, the cover would be gratuitous.”

Kudos to the team for having the courage of their convictions to create this powerful cover.

Special shout out to Matt Hilliard Forde for bringing this to my attention.

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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. www.circ3.com

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