|Greg Keilty, Publisher, SkyNews:
Canadian Gardening handles the newsstand environment better. It has a strong, clear logo. The deep purple and blue flowers are riveting. Most of the cover lines offer straightforward benefits – "20 Expert Tips", "Every Garden Needs Hardy Muscari", "20 Spectacular Spring Bulbs", and maybe a tantalizing photo spread – "Discover Canada's Forgotten Garden".
However, I have two big quibbles. First, the reversed white type in the very skinny font is too subtle for the newsstands. This is particularly true of "Our 20th Anniversary Issue" which positions this as a very special issue but is easily overlooked.
Second, the cover line in the prime position, "Fresh for Spring!", seems to me a throw-away that doesn't advance the sale. Some important stores show only the top 4-1/2" of cover – the logo and the throw away cover line. If I'm grazing, that's not enough to pick it up. Having just "Our 20th Anniversary Issue" there in a bolder face would have been much more likely to make me pull it out, and then I'd see the luscious flowers and the stronger cover lines below.
Ethne McCredie, vice president, Abacus Circulation:
Image definitely says “spring” and I like the colour combination of green and purple. Great use of numbers and verbs in the coverlines. “Fresh for Spring” isn’t really specific enough and it also looks like it’s part of the 20th Anniversary coverline. How about “Fresh ideas for Spring”? 20th Anniversary would stand out better if it was a medallion or starburst.
Not sure about the “We inspire. You make it grow”. Thingie. I’d ditch it.
Are the three references to “20” purposeful? 20th Anniversary, 20 expert tips and 20 spring bulbs?
The bold coverline fonts are strong and positioned nicely so they don’t detract from the image.
Tanya Watt, art director, Flare:
This is a bold dynamic cover that will jump on newsstand. The image is very graphic and allows for the type to pop. I'm not crazy about the choice of font but it has been treated well. The colours in the image are very appealing for a spring message, that comes across instantly. I love the top bar treatment with bolded type. I think this is a solid spring cover that commands attention although it emits a tranquil vision that gardening is often associated with.
Garden Making's first cover gets a lot right but needs some tuning for the newsstands. The logo is strong and "Premier issue" is almost big enough. If you saw the top half of the cover in the gardening section you'd pick it up. It strikes a look that positions it as substantial, suitable for real hobbyists.
The main cover line, "... Magnolias" is big and easy to read. If you want to know about magnolias, we have a sale. But if you need more convincing, the rest of the cover doesn't help. The two secondary lines are "How to" and "6 steps" with the salable benefits lost in small type. The skybar doesn't help much as the type is also small with no emphasis and the middle one, "New plants", doesn't tell me anything. The editor wisely identifies it as a magazine for Canadians but again the type's too small.
The close-up of the big, beautiful magnolia bloom almost works but it's a bit pale and fuzzy on my copy making it hard to identify quickly and I may have moved on to the also-attractive and easier to grasp photo on Canadian Gardening.
The photograph is absolutely lovely, though perhaps a bit too dark at the bottom. Tagline “inspiring & informing Canada’s gardeners” could be stronger. I like the Canadian (sells more copies) so how about “Canada’s guide to gardening”. Adding a calendar date in the Premier Issue medallion would perhaps stand out better e.g. Premier Issue! New for Spring 2010!
Skybar cover lines are tough because of space restrictions, but adding some of those magic words should still fit in nicely: “10+ fresh spring containers”, “15+ new plants” and “Easy seed sowing tips”.
Cover line fonts are too skinny and a bit difficult to read. The other 2 cover lines are good, but this cover definitely needs at least two more.
Although this is a classic design, the cover falls flat. The cover lines are too small and get lost within the image— which I don’t think is strong enough to begin with. The logo is too small for the size of the cover but the white and green knockout well. The use of negative space is beautiful and refined but the effect is too delicate for newsstand. I don't get a spring message right away from the image or the main cover line (Magnolias can bloom in late summer/early fall for example)—"spring" needs to be larger somewhere. This is pretty and safe but will get lost on newsstand. Overall this looks like a trade magazine as opposed to a consumer publication.