In what magazine’s UK editor Paul McNamee is calling ‘the most dramatic overhaul of the The Big Issue’s image in its 20-year history’, the publication is to look more confrontational and graphic, reflecting a shift to deeper and more political content.
The new look has a simple layout with a red, white and black colour palette and uses more illustration, rather than stock photography.
The focus of the redesign is on the cover. McNamee says that without a place on supermarket shelves and with more free magazines given out on city streets, it is becoming increasingly challenging for the publication, sold by street vendors nationwide, to stick out in the crowd.
The cover of Issue 000 of the new look The Big Issue is an illustration by Noma Bar. It is free from all coverlines other than the title of the main feature ‘Does the news make you sick?’
McNamee says: ‘Consumers are not going to stand and flick through the magazine and we aren’t seen in supermarket lighting so the bright red and stalk yellow of our first cover is good for this time of year.
‘Our first issue is absolutely stunning; a dramatic change. I’m nervous about what people will think, anybody is when you do something as radical as this, you want people to like it, but I’m not nervous about whether it works or not.’
Dennis Publishing has been providing design, subbing and production services for The Big Issue since they formed a partnership with the weekly magazine in June.
Freelance designer, Ingrid Shields was brought in by Dennis in December to help with the redesign. She says she saw The Big Issue’s distribution method as license to do things differently, designing the covers to be more like iconic posters than ‘poor man’s newstand covers’.
She says, ‘We wanted it to look great on a coffee table, not too edgy, the magazine has a very wide demographic, but clever with good graphic statements. We have the freedom to have the logo as more of a brand as less of a masthead. It has been an exciting project.’