The March 2008 issue of St. Joseph Media’s Canadian Family arrived on newsstands yesterday with a refined look and packaging, culminating a relaunch that began two years ago. “We now know how we’re going to play within this market,” says editor-in-chief Jennifer Reynolds, who’s been at the magazine’s helm since October 2006.
Canadian Family, March 2008
Parenting is one of the most vibrant categories in Canadian magazines today. Leader Today’s Parent (Rogers Media Inc.) saw a 16% increase in ad pages in 2007. Canadian Family, which increased frequency from six to eight issues per year in 2007, saw ad pages rise 45.1%. Meanwhile, Family Communications Inc. brought ParentsCanada onto the scene this spring to try and grab a slice of this hefty ad pie.
In this competitive climate, editorial differentiation is key. As the oldest and biggest mag in the category, Today’s Parent “sets the standard others are trying to be different from,” as former Maclean’s publisher and magazine consultant Paul Jones wrote in in the Nov/Dec issue of Masthead. ParentsCanada uses a celebrity editor (Dr. Marla Shapiro), celebrity mom covers and oversized format to set it apart.
Canadian Family was first relaunched in March 2006 with a complete redesign that included perfect binding, all part of St. Joseph Media’s plan to convert the 90,000 controlled circulation to paid. (Yesterday’s ABC Fas Fax report reveals the magazine now has 42,606 paid subscribers and sells an average of 9,980 newsstand copies per issue.) The magazine has set sights on “hip” moms and dads. “We’re trying to be the leaders in style and real-life issues,” says Reynolds.
The changes unveiled in the new issue reflect this. Art director Jeff Hannaford, who joined Canadian Family in October after five years as associate art director at Flare, says he chose the font Century for display copy because, “it has a friendly quality that harkens back to school books but it has the chic sophistication of a fashion magazine as well.” He’s also “freshened up the colour palette,” incorporating more “bright, vivid, young” shades.
The magazine’s main well has been repackaged and divided into five clear sections: Up Front, Family Fun, Family Smarts, Feather & Nest (home décor), and Food & Health. The organizing principle reflects that Canadian Family “is the kind of magazine people pick and put down,” Reynolds says.
The editor says she’s also trying to pack in more content, while relying on her art director to keep things neat and organized. “I believe more is more,” Reynolds says.