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#PPAconf: Why cover design matters for the Big Issue

May 10th, 2012 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Events, Magazines

In the past year, the Big Issue has changed dramatically, regaining its reputation as a “magazine with teeth”, according to editor Paul McNamee.

Speaking at yesterday’s PPA conference in London, he said: “We are a very different magazine than we were a year ago and a radically different magazine from 24 months ago.”

The Big Issue has seen big changes since it teamed up with Dennis Publishing. With editorial now run from Glasgow and one national edition of the magazine, McNamee concentrated on  “the four Cs”, cover, content, columnists and community, to give the magazine some bite.

He told delegates: “The cover was the most important. [A bold cover] could attract a lot of attention and make a lot of noise.

“We had to find a way to find our own space again.”

Simplifying the cover’s design to one element, McNamee showed the delegates how the front page was markedly different to what it was before the magazine’s relaunch. He said: “[The cover has] one, single element to it every week that has power and impact and something to say.”

Along with enlisting footballer Joey Barton as a columnist and strengthening the magazine’s relationship with its vendors, McNamee said he believed the end product is something which will stand the test of time.

“We’ve been going for 21 years now – hopefully, we’ll be around for another few yet.”

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