Q5: Flicking through House & Leisure 2.0 with Julia Raphaely [interview]
by Carey Finn (@carey_finn) The new-look House & Leisure hit shelves on Monday, 15 April 2019, boldly positioning itself in the Here and Now with its tagline to that effect. Julia Raphaely, the CEO of Associated Media Publishing, takes us through the design decisions and other aspects of the brand revamp.
Q5: Could you walk us through the research and design process that went into developing the new aesthetic?
Julia Raphaely: House & Leisure (HL) is a homegrown and very established brand but, as we know, the newsstand is quite a challenging space for publishers. We decided we wanted to come up with something exciting in this space which would keep the HL brand top of mind. And not just while on the newsstand — ultimately a concept that would live across all HL platforms.
Our intention was also to come up with a concept that will get a new generation of décor enthusiasts to purchase HL. Our biggest challenge remains how to grow print readership when most of the audience these days are happy with the digital content.
Our short-term objective is always to increase magazine sales, but our long-term objective is always building our brand that acts as platform for décor content through any channel.
This thinking required a strong concept which builds on the narrative that is HL. We worked with a brilliant design agency called MUTANT and a concept was born around the HL “lens on leisure”. The team then worked to explore how to deliver the new look with the latest issue as well as across all platforms.
Q5: In your own words, could you explain the elements of the new look?
JR: Modern, brave, relevant, arresting, iconic, original and standout from a visual and brand point of view.
Q5: What are you hoping the redesign will inspire in readers?
JR: I hope the new look will catch their attention and inspire them to refocus on the brand, as well as all magazine media. I hope it will create conversation and interest. Last, but not least, I hope it will showcase magic partnerships between all creatives (agencies and publishers), and that together we will keep innovating and reinventing ourselves.
Q5: Will the identity shift ripple into the content of the magazine?
JR: Our content will remain the same in its origination, as HL at its core is a consumer-facing content brand that focuses on architecture, interior design, food, arts and culture with a purpose to inspire their audience to make the most of living here now. However, the presentation of the content across all channels will now be presented in a way that reflects a multichannel approach, and with the strong concept of the lens behind everything we create going forward.
Over the last two years, we have tackled our content with a more multilayered strategy: how we tell the story in print is totally different to how we unpack it digitally, how we “experience” that same home in video form, how the inspirational elements in the book are instantly shoppable, and how we breadcrumb it all via social media. So, this new identity simply reaffirms and strongly reinforces our layered but curated content approach.
New vs old design: House and Leisure Kitchen Issue in 2019, 2018 and 2017.
Q5: Looking at circulation figures, some would say that print publications in South Africa ought to adopt the “brace” position — what is your response to that?
JR: The print industry has been “bracing” for a while. From our point of view, we are no longer print publications. We see ourselves as magazine media brands with content that is relevant to a valuable audience and accessible across all platforms. Our job is to continue building audiences by inspiring, curating, remaining relevant and, most importantly, innovating.
- Explore the new House & Leisure online and/or in stores.
Carey Finn (@carey_finn) is a writer and editor with a decade and a half of industry experience, having covered everything from ethical sushi in Japan to the technicalities of roofing, agriculture, medical stuff and more. She’s also taught English and journalism, and dabbled in various other communications ventures along the way, including risk reporting. As a contributing writer to MarkLives.com, her new regular column “Q5” aims to hone in on strategic insights, analysis and data through punchy interviews with experts in media, marketing and design.
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