Rachael Ray Every Day Changes Its Recipe
We review the latest magazine to change its look in 2017.
For several months we here at Folio: have been saying it’s the year of the redesign for print magazines. Switching up the look of a magazine used to be something that happened long after it was overdue and, in some cases, a last-ditch effort to create some buzz around a sickly brand. Now it seems more publishers are redesigning to complement their suite of products and this week we take a look at a magazine that redesigned with that in mind.
To complement Rachael Ray’s brand, its magazine, Rachael Ray Every Day, decided it was time for a change. Editor-in-chief Lauren Iannotti says it had been a while since the magazine underwent a change, and they all felt it was time. “We wanted a product that better reflected the namesake and her brand, which has evolved over the past 12 years.” I can’t say for certain that this magazine does that, but I will take Iannotti’s word that it does. What I can say is that this magazine stays true to some of the things that have always made magazines great, while also borrowing from some of the things digital media does well.
As a former chef I’m more critical of food magazines than any other category. I find they usually try too hard to riff off of each other rather than becoming trendsetters themselves. That’s particularly true when it comes to how they photograph food. There are a few brands I think do a beautiful job showcasing food to not only make it look delicious, but also approach- able—something Ray is known for. This magazine is included in that small group.
With that in mind, let me start with the cover. I love how the turkey is framed. Finally, a bird’s-eye view of food that isn’t from the usual perspective peering down on a round plate. I’m one of maybe five or six people who don’t like turkey, but I want to carve this one up and dig in. I love the color palate here, and I’m really digging how the coverlines work around the main headline. And under that headline is actually a die-cut pullout ad for Swanson’s—the first of its kind. I do have one minor gripe with the cover: The thumbnail of Ray at the top right seems like a design afterthought, and totally unnecessary given the weight of her celebrity. In other words, readers know who she is and don’t need that superficial reminder.
The inside of the book is immediately engaging. The TOC has a timeless design, and it’s not another rip off of the Pinterest interface, something Ioannotti was mindful of. “There is a trend of mimicking a Pinterest board in a TOC, but you can’t click on it. So what’s the point?,” She quips. In addition to a TOC, there’s also a recipe index right up front with lovely thumb- nails of all the recipes in the issue. And there are a bunch! At around five bucks an issue, this is a tremendous value for anyone who likes to stock up on cook books. I say save your money and pick up a couple issues, or better yet, a subscription.
When it comes to the content, the tagline “Take a bite outta life!” is being somewhat neglected. While the recipe mix and volume is outstanding, this doesn’t feel at all like a lifestyle magazine. It does flirt with that idea, mixing in a few things related to fashion, beauty and home, but this is essentially an epicurean title. But that’s okay! Back to the advertising. As mentioned, the cover ad is smart, and unintrusive. And inside the book there are nicely placed units throughout that provide visual stimulation to a reader who’s enthusiastic about food. Some of the ads are so nicely done that they almost feel like content.
Overall, this redesign is a case study in how to transform a book without blowing it up, while also keeping the reader in mind and staying on brand. Well done.