It marks the culmination of many months of research and development by art director Ross Lesley-Bayne and editor Paul McNamee, focused on producing a title that has attitude and DNA of The Big Issue while taking a great leap forward, say the publishers.
The magazine splashes this week, as Britain marks the centenary of the end of World War 1, with a hard-hitting investigation into measures in place to help homeless veterans.
“We wanted to make a magazine that felt right for now,” says McNamee. “We’re living through a period of incredible social and political change and while there is clearly a move by some readers towards online, we realised that a trusted authoritative voice in print that could pick through the noise had a big future. Our readers trust us. We want new readers to join them.
“We listened to what readers told us about what they liked, we looked at what worked, we got rid of things that had served well but were unnecessary and we introduced new elements. And always, our vendors are front and centre of what we do and what we produce. I’m hugely proud of what we have delivered. We remain a voice for those in Britain without a voice.”
Amongst the new additions are a Vendor City Guide – an alternative look at major tourist cities from the unique perspective street magazine vendors can bring. The first kicks off in Copenhagen.
There is also a new fact checking news page called Fact/Fiction. Its aim is to take a look at recent headlines and establish what is true and what is not. The first one kicks off asking: Do 10% of Brits really qualify for an Irish passport?
There is a new section called Change Makers, a celebration, say The Big Issue, of The Thinkers, the creators, the agitators. It is a profile piece looking at somebody who has come up with an invention or an idea that is moving the dial.
The arts and culture section has also had a complete overhaul, with new tech and food sections introduced.
“For the last three years we’ve enjoyed Year on Year sales increase. In the last 18 months we’ve also upped our digital and social offering. We’ve invested in our teams and grown our reach. This is the next, vital, element in a publishing success story that is building for the future,” added McNamee.
“We wanted to create something that vendors could really get behind and sell. It’s a vibrant, modern feeling magazine that is still unlike any other title out there. The new look comes as we continue to grow what we are doing digitally, which helps to position The Big Issue as one of the leading titles in Britain. We head into Christmas with renewed energy,” added Publishing and Business Development MD Russell Blackman.
The redesigned Big Issue is out now across the UK for £2.50.