It has been four years since two of South Africa’s top selling magazines, YOU and Huisgenoot, have had a makeover. The weekly mass circulation titles needed “something fresher, something new”.
And they really did do something fresh and new, and not only on the magazine redesign front. Editor in chief, Izelle Venter, stars in a YouTube clip that tells readers and advertisers just what they were thinking when they hired Pica award-winning designer, Anton Sassenberg, to take the magazines in hand.
“It was time for something fresher, something new. And we looked at what our readers want. We went through quite a stringent process of calling readers in and saying ‘do you like this new design’?”
Venter says readers gave the look the thumbs up. “They said it’s cleaner. They understand it better. They understand the logic of the magazine better and they said their magazine suddenly feels ‘like a celebrity’, someone they can aspire to, someone they’re proud to associate with,” Venter says.
The magazine’s paper stock hasn’t changed. It still has the same feel. But Venter says the new design has created “easier navigation and a better visual presentation of information. The layout is cleaner and makes it easier for the reader to browse”. It also has new, and modern, fonts, using mainly Helvetica and Caslon.
The magazine has four main sections: news, lifestyle and advice, Hey YOU (for young readers) and entertainment. But it’s the lifestyle segment that has Venter talking up a storm. “It’s on a par with all the lifestyle titles in this country as well as the glamorous female titles.”
Venter believes lifestyle products – in terms of advertising – “tend to think we’re not good enough for them but I think we really are now,” she says.
YOU and Huisgenoot have a strong digital presence, particularly on Facebook. Venter says “there is much greater connectivity and interactivity between our print copy and the content being provided digitally”.
They’re already commenting on the new look. But some believe that with a revamp, a price increase could follow…