Doug Bennet, publisher, Masthead:
This cover pairing reminds me of that "Oh crap" moment when a competitor's book first arrives in the office. They look like the same magazine! From the colour palette, to the shapes, to the layout, and many of the same words, there's not much to distinguish the two on the racks. It will come down to which mag has the content most relevant to the buyer’s parenting situation.

While risking clutter, Canadian Family tries to cover the most bases. Full marks for its skybar copy, essential without full-face display. But the "Oh Baby" disruptor doesn’t add value; in fact it distracts from the "246 tips...".

Finally, every parent will want to tickle that cute belly-button.

Jenn Dunstan, associate art director, Marketing magazine:
Canadian Family has a long-running history of successful, captivating lifestyle photography. This cover shoot has plenty of potential, but falls flat when squeezed into the parametres of a vertical frame.

While I applaud the timeliness of the colourful  cover lines,  they clearly overpopulate the busy image. I would have loved to have a unobstructed view of mom grasping her cheeky little guy's hand.

I'm also left pondering the tag "Oh, baby!" Is this a reference to the under-emphasized family-tested content, or is it an infant-focused content hook?

Mark Hoffberg, Fastlane Design:
Definitely the cover I preferred of the two. The text is much more in sync and although a little piled onto the cover, it gives something for all parents to be looking for.
The image use of the background mother to the foreground child is great and cropped perfectly without interfering with the rest of the cover.

Also, the “246” pull in is a much more effective headline than those on Today's Parent.

A drawback would be a picky but important one: mothers don’t appreciate kids who have clothes on that don’t appear to fit them. Baby bellies are cute, but the target audience might not like it entirely.
Doug Bennet:
Having spent a small fortune on daycare, “Win Daycare for a year!” is a brilliant contest and well-played with the contrasting colour.

As always, the cover model is adorable and well photographed; I especially like the gap-tooth. I got into the main coverline faster than Canadian Family, but since that piece focuses so much on food, perhaps the bottom-right coverline might have been more effective if another topic was broached rather than more food.

The “100% Canadian” disruptor is a necessary evil given the competition from the friends at  St. Joseph Media (see left) and U.S. titles.

Jenn Dunstan:

After 25+ years, Today's Parent is a well-oiled machine. But despite its wealth of experience, I can't help but feel underwhelmed by this issue's typographically templated cover. (Specifically, the Helvetica weights need more contrast.)

The sweet toothy boy in the cool monochromatic setting is a great calming staple for a late-winter issue, but I'm mildly concerned that there are three references to food, and yet overall, its first impression does little to convey this.

On the contrary, "WIN Daycare for a Year!" has my full attention.

Mark Hoffberg: 

For me, the text on the cover is a little muted, especially when compared to past Today’s Parent issues. The script font up top I find to be a little poorly matched and the weights and colour are all a little too different in a “generic layout” way as opposed to creating something dynamic.

On the plus side, the colours are great, the kid looks fashionable and the contest up top is something that would be every parents dream and would have people picking up the mag in a second, it could have been played up even more.
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