The highly anticipated redesign of Chatelaine magazine, which hit newsstands this week, represents a sea change to some (note the beachy cover) and more of the same to others. Here, experts from the worlds of media, women's marketing and design chat with The Globe about what stands out to them.
Creative thinker and design guru Bruce Mau divides his time between Toronto and Chicago where his namesake studio develops brand identities for clients such as Indigo, Coca-Cola and the Museum of Modern Art. He has also collaborated on several book projects including S, M, L, XL with Rem Koolhaas, Massive Change and The Third Teacher.
- The look: If you look up magazine in the dictionary, it looks like a magazine … it's such a genre category that a fresh new look inside the genre is not exactly a fresh new look.
- The words: Well, it does say "fresh new look" on the cover.
- The audience: I think that the idea of a suburban mom not having urban interests is changing.… Passive consumption is really a thing of the past. And suburban moms, believe me, aren't passive. They're producing. Where a magazine fits in your life now is a question that doesn't seem to be particularly deeply engaged in what [Chatelaine]is doing.
- The bottom line: I think it's smartly done but smartly done within the genre. Not particularly innovative but nicely done.
Nancy Vonk is the co-chief creative officer of Ogilvy Toronto. Working with partner Janet Kestin, she conceived Dove soap's Campaign for Real Beauty, considered among the most high-impact recent ad messages on women's body image.
- The look: I enjoyed the cover's retro look. The model happens to be striking a pose and wearing clothes that made me think of old Vogue covers and I think that's actually the gold standard.… I did certainly notice a new feel to how the food is presented; it's more Martha Stewart, more ambient and more sensual. There's more context and interesting themes instead of the functional presentation of past. I taste it more. There's more eye candy.
- The words: It's a little schizophrenic because the high-impact pages are all in the back half. So it takes a long time before we get that reward. And it's very fragmented through the first half; there's not as nice a unifying feel.
- The audience: I do think there's an overall younger sensibility - both in who we're looking at in the articles and the overall feel.… It feels less housewifey - more inclusive of a larger cross-section of women. I think it's insightful and credits readers for their intelligence.
- The bottom line: I'm going to call it a nice evolution not a revolution.
Eveleen Dollery joined Chatelaine as beauty editor in the sixties. Assuming an additional role as the fashion editor, she then moved on to become the fashion and beauty editor for Miss Chatelaine (now Flare). Altogether, she was with both magazines for nearly 35 years.
- The look: Wow, this looks more like Canada's top magazine! It's the first time I bought it since I left. It's definitely going to appeal to a more sophisticated, young crowd. Because I don't think it did in the past.
- The words: I noticed there's one good reading article. I think there should be at least two or three stories. However, there is something confusing to me about those up-front pages. They don't click together. It doesn't take me into the magazine properly.
- The audience: It looks like trying to target more of the Flare readers. They may lose older customer but many of them aren't around any more. That story about being "Beach ready in four weeks"? Well, women have to be of a certain age to be ready for the beach.
- Bottom line: It looks terrific. Clean and bright and snappy.