Cincinnati: Great Color in Design and Content

Posted: November 27, 2010 in Grade: A, Magazine: Lifestyle, Magazine: Regional
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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Cincinnati (www.cincinnatimagazine.com)

Issue reviewed: October 2010

  • Published in Cincinnati, Ohio, by Cincinnati Magazine/Emmis Publishing LP
  • Circulation: 261,480 cumulative readership
  • 220 pages, perfect bound

Audience

  • average HHI: $219,000
  • 32.8% are millionaires
  • 72.5% married
  • average age: 54.7
  • 60% female

Editorial

The editorial content of Cincinnati Magazine is a human-interest-lover’s delight. Starting off with a personal look at the Cincinnati Cyclones and following it up with an appeals attorney’s take on shoe styles and a short feature on a local woodworker. One fun story to read is I Scream For Justin, an article written by a dad who chaperoned his teen daughter to a Justin Bieber concert. Long features on a renowned circuit bender and a family that adopted two Haitian children add depth to the magazine’s human interest angle. Items of local interest include a Cincinnati question-and-answer section by Dr. Know and a thorough dining guide that stretches across 15 pages.

Design

Cincinnati uses great lines — thick black bars for separation, thin horizontal or vertical bars in a series to drop copy off of, and colored bars near the folio to differentiate by section. These lines are cohesive throughout, tying page 4 to page 216, and make each page a pleasure to sift through. The color palette is eye-catching: Bright colors, like greens, oranges and blues, are used in big bursts, but black dominates the design. The overall design tends to be more masculine than feminine but is pleasing enough to be appreciated by both sexes.

What’s Best

  • Letter from the Editor: The editor’s note by Jay Stowe is just right — it shows personality, tells a little of his personal history, and sets the reader up for thinking about college towns, which is the theme of the issue. Over on the right is a list with page numbers of the stories he mentions in his editorial. He opts for subtly directing the reader to the stories rather than the hard sell that some other editors go for. You can read it here.
  • Tiny doses of information: Cincinnati plays with the line that the editor’s note used to direct readers into the magazine; In Frontlines, the line is called Power Play and four 50- to 100-word items of related information protrude from it. In a profile of DJ Apryl Reign, the line is called Vital Stats, and three short info boxes about her play off the line. In Storefront, the line is called Covet and lists three products with their prices. The line is a cool design element that is incorporated into stories well and often.
  • Photography: The designers benefit from tons of great photos and the space to use them.

What’s Worst

  • Special advertising sections: Although I’m sure it was very profitable for Cincinnati Magazine to add in the special advertising sections Innovations in Healthcare (17 pages), The Kitchen, Bath & Remodeling Show program (29 pages) and the Five Star Wealth Managers (32 pages), these sections add up to 78 pages of advertorial copy. It’s difficult to get past all those pages to get to the stuff you really want to read. Sure, it bulks up the magazine, but it makes the reader work harder to get around it.

Overall Opinion

I have never been to Cincinnati before, but if I ever go, I will be sure to attend a Cincinnati Cyclones game, visit the Holy Cross Church to see the tree art, and dine at Tony’s because the magazine made each of the experiences sound appealing, even to a complete outsider. The design of this magazine is really strong, and the stories within its pages are compelling and interesting. For these reasons, I give Cincinnati Magazine an A.

I invite your comments! Check out the magazine or its website and tell me what you think of it.

–Tyler Reed

Editor, The Sidebar Review

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Comments
  1. lizkitchens says:

    This makes me want to go to Cincinnati

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