|Janine Falcon, face kit editor, TheKit.ca, founder/editor, Imabeautygeek.com:
Canadian House & Home is much more restrained, for an audience that prefers a less obvious festive-season approach. That beautifully appointed kitchen conjures up thoughts of a leisurely breakfast -- steel cut oatmeal with raisins, please -- soon to be followed by front-garden snow angels and snowball fights after the table is cleared. Its simple holiday decor is hugely appealing as something I could do with minimal fuss. Of course, I'd need to hire a handsome chef to work that kitchen and make said oatmeal breakfast, and organic coffee, French press maybe... I'm sorry, what was the question again?
Jason Logan, cover designer, Maclean's, Canadian Business:
This magazine looks a little better typographically, a little easier to read, and cleanly sells a nice mix of domestic, architectural and how-to content; but despite the big word "Celebrate!" on the cover the sterilized gunmetal blue image doesn't make me want to clink those IKEA glasses. And does ANYONE put a wreath in their kitchen?
Deborah Morrison, publisher, Canada's History:
I like the flash of red across the top and the bold “Celebrate!” but think the rest of the cover loses its punch because there are too many different ideas competing for space.
The green showhouse banner seems thrown on, and disconnected from the Christmas theme, and the rest of the cover lines seem to be a little generic. For me at least, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of celebrating or decorating ideas happening in the cover image so it’s missing that 3-second pop! that tells you what you’re buying. I don’t like picking favorites but I have to admit – I’m going to have to go for the Ultimate Make-ahead Christmas Dinner over the Swedish Meatball recipe.
Style at Home's twinkly cover puts Christmas front and centre -- oh geez, it's that time already? (Dangit, where is that Pause Button?) The red-less palette calms the panic some, however. I love that soft, soothing blue-green against that airy white and silver-and-gold sparkle. Suddenly I want to decorate. And I bet this mag is full of pretty-up-your-place ideas, because the image as well as the cover lines tell me so. I'd just need to hire someone to help do it all up then take it all down post season.
What does "32 rooms to celebrate in style mean?" Why do we need a grey drop shadow on a grey background for the logo? Why is that chair so uninviting? I like glittery-silveriness of the whole scene and I imagine the focus on down to earth things you can do to get ready for your white, Christian, Christmas will sell a certain number of magazines but I would worry that the image is generic without the warmth that traditional images usually evoke and might get lost in a sea of similar playing-it-safe magazines.
It may be a smart strategy to choose a colour palette that’s just slightly outside of traditional holiday fare to make your cover stand out. I have to admit I do think the gray background on the masthead is a bit too bleak for the holidays, but there is a cleanness to the cover layout that says “style and elegance.”
I think they have effectively used a variety of service and sell callouts like the “make this garland” and “32 Rooms to celebrate in style,” to reinforce the main selling proposition: the best decorating ideas. Finding a way to put eight different sell lines on the cover and still come across as uncluttered certainly caught my attention!