Case study part 1; Magazine Redesign
Soltalk is free monthly magazine in Nerja, Spain. Published in English, the magazine is aimed at foreign resident and tourists. The publication contains both national and local news, lifestyle articles, sport, quizzes, book reviews and a map of the town. As a free magazine, advertising pays for its production and occupies about 50 per cent of the content.
The magazine has been around for 17 years yet had never had a redesign or update to the logo or layout. Operating on the same template and content, the magazine needed not only a new look but some fresh content. It also needed a digital version to reach a wider and younger market, plus an improved presence on Facebook. The publication was also lacking in any sort of some marketing assets such as a media kit, price lists and flyers to help promote its advertising packages.
Getting to know you
Whilst the magazine had a good readership (return rates were low) there was no data about the actual readers. One of my first tasks was to find out who was reading the magazine. I created a survey with a prize draw for restaurant vouchers as an incentive. I collected data on reader’s age, location, nationality, their hobbies and interests and also invited them to give their feedback on the content of the magazine. Once armed with this insightful readership data I felt more confident to move forward with the redesign of the magazine.
The logo and cover
Hurdle two was the front cover, this needed immediate attention as the design was dated and tired. I started with the logo, I felt that simplifying the logo would help it stand out and bring it up to date. I made the ‘o’ yellow to represent the ‘sol’ in Soltalk.
The pages needed a new look that reflected the cover. The current design was uninspiring and dated.
I introduced a few new sections based on the feedback from the reader survey. These included a ‘What’s On’ section full of events in the area, a recipe, an explore section and feature articles such as a tapas trail of the town and special articles for sporting events like La Vuelta (which had passed through the town two years running) and articles for the Six Nations and World Cup. I added maps, infographics and attractive photography to help engage readers.
The adverts occupy 50 per cent of the magazine, so by improving their design it improved the overall look of the magazine. Advertiser responded well to new designs for their establishments or products. The challenge was producing new ideas for each individual company, many of which were real estate agents and restaurants. I had to continually come up with new and fresh ideas that helped the advertisers sell their products or services. Keeping advertisers in the magazine depended on the success of their advert so the design and message of each advertisement was paramount.
Marketing the New Look
Having survived without any form of media kit or price list I felt that these needed producing right away. I created media packs for print and email as it was common for potential advertiser to requested information about the publication.
The packs included:
• The magazine’s new and improve mission statement.
• Details about what kind of content and features published.
• Technical specifications such as page size, paper finish, printing method.
• Reader Demographics (taken from the reader survey I took).
• Subscribers (this was the mailing list and Facebook fans).
• Circulation, (includes Joomag stats, frequency and readership etc.)
• Distribution and stocklists.
Other materials I produced included a price list plus flyers and adverts encouraging new advertisers. I redesigned the company stationery including invoices and business cards.
The Online Version
The next step was to bring the magazine online so we could reach a new market and also target some younger readers.
Part two coming soon.