’Franchise India Publication’, the publisher of various other publications like Estate World, The Franchising World, Retailer and many web portals has recently launched a new magazine- Small Medium Entrepreneur. As name suggests itself that it is to target the small & medium sized businesses & entrepreneurs in the country where couple of other magazines already are there to target the same genre. It is quite common of having many magazines from same genre with very similar or resembling titles but at least their treatment should be different if you want to create your own identity. Here, ‘Small Medium Entrepreneur’ is carrying the words ‘Small Medium’ in very small size but the word ‘Entrepreneur’ is kept very large on the cover that resembles very closely to another magazine from same genre. It seems that it is done deliberately to ride upon other established magazine’s credibility.
It would have been better if this magazine was launched in Hindi language, at least in that way it could have its own unique proposition and untapped audience too.
The magazine is badly structured editorially and content viz it is very shallow as a monthly periodical. Launch issue is conceptualized without any vision. Biggest mistake is putting such a big story (60 pgs precisely) in the launch issue that occupied more than half portion of the magazine. The story idea itself is good but the issue chosen to carry this story is not right. Launch issue generally works as a sample of a publication which gives a taste to the reader to hook the reader into it. In the launch issue, stories need to be planned to convey the editorial structure to the reader… the structure of this issue should reflect the entire content blue-print of the magazine to the reader so that reader should come back to the newsstand to pick up the next issue.
Launch issue of SME consists of one feature, one profile, one start up story, three guest columns and two-three very generic kind of articles only. Sub-editing & copy desk job is mediocre and there are proofing errors which spoil the mood of reading.
100 Best Small Businesses & Entrepreneurs of the year 2011- cover story of the launch issue is structured badly & presented also very unprofessionally. It’s nothing but a compilation of testimonials taken from various entrepreneurs. ‘Junoon, Jugaad and Luck’ is the centre of the testimonials which I think is a brain child of editor and is enforced upon entrepreneurs to say anything or something on that! And poor entrepreneurs in many cases have replied ridiculous.
The way its editorial structure is not robust, design is also vague. Designer has done blunders at fundamental level of designing a magazine. Body copy typefaces are changing randomly, text is overflowing in the folio area of pages, alignment of body text is changing abruptly, columns widths are floating on almost on every other page, typefaces used in entire magazine are immature.
Looking at the issue, it seems that designer got stuck with one ‘idea’ and applied it at anywhere and everywhere in the magazine. For example, if painting effect was the idea for the cover story, it is unnecessarily applied on group president’s picture also. You cannot find any thought behind any design or layout in entire magazine. Not a single photograph of any of ‘top 100 entrepreneurs’ is put the way it is put full length photograph of group president on his page!
Rest of magazine is designed so badly that you actually don’t need any publishing software to do layout for such pages, same could have done using any word processing software also. Lots of inconsistencies in design, elements, colors and the way things are put or text wrapped around the images across the magazine. Photography is hardly used in the magazine. The images or illustration are taken from web or stocks and those are used here very carelessly. Content lacks info graphics as support.
Logo for the biggest story ‘Top 100…’ is created carelessly. At some places it has background at some places it is used without solid background... at some places it is in different color... at some places it has different size, leading, kerning, treatment...! Copy desk has messed up even with the text used in such a small logo.
Let’s talk about the cover of the inaugural issue. There are many points where I disagree and dislike the cover- editorially as well as design viz.
- profile on Metro shoes is one of many entrepreneurial stories of 4pgs only but it is put as main cover story while there is BIG generic story which is around 60 pgs long but kept it at bottom as if it is just like another story in this issue. It can be annual editorial property of this magazine and it should be treated in that way only.
- Poor visual for the main story as the prop gets camouflaged in the background.
- It seems that editorial team got obsessed with the phrase coined by them- Junoon, Jugaad & Luck… that is why it is unnecessarily attached with main cover story though it has got nothing to do with this particular story.
- Unnecessary usage of free hand writing font, or probably they have thought that these are Hindi words so… ;)
- Unnecessary usage of various colors.
- Photo caption on the cover? Anyway, it is hanging in the air and that too right aligned!
- Badly designed logo for the biggest story of the inaugural issue… unnecessary cluttering in the text- outlines, multiple colors… poor and useless tag line of the logo… poor sub-editing.
- Gradient black behind the Masthead? It could have some other contrast color… as it is cover is having too many colors where they actually are not required.
- Unnecessarily used black strip at the bottom to put the text over it.
Hardly any prepress work was required in this magazine so that part is OK. Whatever photographs are there, are fine and they printed in natural colors. But some product shots have lost details because they are too dark. Printing itself is good and has come up with perfect registration.
Printing could have come up better if it was printed on better quality paper. Inaugural issue of SME consists of 114 pages. Paper quality of inside pages is average but the cover is fine as it should be. It has a perfect bound spine but not utilized sensibly. Cover price of the magazine is Rs.75 at news stand.
The domain, small business and entrepreneurs, has lots of scope for relevant information and exchange through various mediums including printed magazine. That is why couple of magazines are already there in the market and doing good. But, it needs serious and insightful content and requires a professional level presentation to create its own mindshare for a new magazine. Small Medium Entrepreneur, the way it is currently, does not impress as a serious business magazine.
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