Watch the video below and tell me how you feel.
Angry? Cheated? Annoyed? Sad? OK? I feel frustrated. I do like the idea of women magazines, fashion magazines etc because I grew up amongst boys and somehow always needed a ‘manual’ of some kind for all those more feminine aspects of my life. But I really don’t think Vogue is the place I can relate too (for the record I do browse through it now and again in a library to catch up on fashion styles, but I do not buy it). Vogue is probably not a good example as their ads also create trends. But most women magazines are indeed full of meaningless ads and photoshopped women. I do worry about the impact those magazines have on today’s men and women.
I have reacted to a post about social media’s negative impact on the self-image of young women here, and I will expand on it in a different blog post but let me just say that if we look at online media outlets the very same problem appears, only that it escalates faster. Luckily for us, in social media, we also have the ability to follow other leaders and other types of influencers: writers, philosophers, spiritual leaders, ordinary people who cheer up children on the spectrum just by sharing a fun video on Facebook. In social media ordinary people stand the chance to become game changers.
And I think partially thanks to the conversations in social media the awareness around issues with beauty standards grows. Not just that. I also think our general awareness as consumers and our expectations for brand to treat us with respect – also becomes increasingly a priority. Brand loyalty is pretty much out of the window if we are exposed to a huge amount of information, friends recommendations and constant need to change, hack and improve, right?
But let’s get back to the world of printed magazines. I suffer. I do suffer a lot. It physically hurst me to walk down the isle in WHSmith to get to what I want. I personally think beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it is often not so much about our actual looks but about the mood we are in. Our very own beauty is how we see ourselves, how we FEEL ourselves. Which is why I love this Dove ad so much:
But very few brads do it well. Very few magazines even attempt to take this philosophy on. There is one though. I have recently found something quite interesting: Breathe Magazine. Let me quickly tell you why.
1. It feels and does what it stands for: it makes me feel more relaxed just by holding it in my hands, browsing and reading its content. It does not focus on women admiring other, more beautiful women.
The three key call to actions promoted by “Breathe” are: relax, explore, revive. It feels like it too. The colour palette is gentle and mild. Drawing-like graphics are a little bit arty, very stylish but not overdone. Photos are carefully chosen and very often black and white – I love that! Font is elegant but light. Titles of articles are well drafted, presented and work well with graphics too. When you open the first page of the magazine you notice….space! And you do breathe a little bit slower and with more care;)
The image of women in “Breathe” is very light, there are very few images of women and all of them are elegant, realistic and funny. Beaty is not so much about the looks but how we feel about the world that surrounds us.
2. It is not cluttered with ads: at least not with ads the way we know them.
The traditional problem with print is that publishers aim to make as much money as they can from the space available for ads, but in this magazine space is reserved for…emptiness, gentle colour, pattern maybe. I genuinely still find it a bit astonishing when I open the first page and see the title page but on the left, on the back of the cover – well, nothing! 🙂 There are plenty of ads in this magazine – it contains reviews of products, gadgets, courses, travel destinations – but most of those are drafted and presented gently with a lot of stress on actual value to the reader and relevance to really good, meaningful and often quite helpful articles. So that as a reader you are actually quite keen on checking out the url of that author who talks about changing location and doing what you love doing – because she did it and it worked for her. She is now sharing it and it’s worth supporting her on her journey – right? That is a very positive approach to promotion.
3.It makes sense: it is useful and I really cannot disagree with its content. You know how nice it is not to have to disagree?
I have now studied minimalism, zen, meditation, space hacking, creativity for wellbeing, mental health and positive psychology long enough to see how the articles (even if short and very top-line) can be really useful for busy people. I might be lucky to live in a cottage sourounded by a magnificent English garden in a small town at the edge of Cotswolds, but not everyone is. The tips on wellbeing, living, mindfulness, creativity and escaping/travel are exactly what a busy person needs. Many of them really work in practice and are ever so easy to implement!
4.It’s value for money: it’s print in its best form.
I like pretty books so I like to pay for a magazine that contains 120 pages of pretty, good quality print and visuals with meaningful copy. I also like the idea of using it as form of creativity for origami, card making and the like. The idea of taking out a few pages and making something pretty out of those makes the magazine a living, meaningful item. It reminds us of other roles of paper in our life. I can see myself collecting those magazines and leaving them on my shelf while others go directly to the recycling bin.
5.It makes me feel good, better even!
I reach out for “Breathe” – the only two issues we have so far here in the UK – whenever I am down, I need inspiration, I need a reminder to stop and make time for myself. It simply works.
For me “Breathe” is the light at the end of the tunnel of our modern media publishing. I hope they will start a small revolution in publishing industry so that we can see more of that. In the meantime I cannot wait for the next issue and so I follow them on Facebook and on Instagram:) I think you might benefit from it too;)