KIND OF BLUE: Don’t expect Martha Stewart‘s newest magazine to look much like the ones that came before it. Blueprint, the company’s first from-scratch magazine in three years, incorporates many of the fads in magazine design, such as clashing typefaces, curvy brackets, navigation arrows and magnification bubbles. Margaret Roach, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia’s editorial director, said it was very much the intention to break visually with the clean, orderly aesthetic of Martha Stewart Living and its various offshoots, to send the message that this magazine is aimed at thirtysomethings, not their moms. “We think this is where they’re at a little more,” she said. “We wanted it to be lively — a little sassy, a little cheeky.” While the design director, Debra Bishop, is the same one who undertook the company’s relaunch of Body & Soul two years ago, Blueprint’s look is far more akin to magazines like Vitals and Adam Moss-era New York. (Vitals, at least, doesn’t need its look back; Condé Nast Publications, parent of WWD, shut it down in September.)
In content, Blueprint is more similar to another recently shuttered title, Budget Living, covering areas including fashion, health, home decorating, cooking and entertaining. Roach said this is an overt response to the niche-ification of women’s titles. “We recognize that there’s a lot of narrower subject-focused publications for this age group, but they don’t necessarily have a parallel to Martha Stewart Living. They don’t have a lifestyle magazine. We thought we should aggregate the subjects that are relevant to their lives.”
Blueprint is starting with a rate base of 250,000, but Lauren Stanich, the company’s president of publishing, said she sees it eventually reaching a circulation of 1 million. The premiere issue has a relatively modest 47.5 ad pages. “It’s obviously a tough ad market,” she said. “But if it’s a strong enough idea, it’s still going to work despite the economy.”
Martha herself doesn’t have a column in Blueprint, and is on the masthead only as “founder.” But, said Roach, she’s been “very involved, very inspirational,” contributing ideas including the tag line: “design your life.” “It just popped out of her mouth in a meeting one day,” she added. Well, Stewart had a lot of time to think of things like that in Alderson.