News 

The Big Issue Magazine undergoes complete redesign

Yesterday, the first of The Big Issue’s completely new-look magazines went on sale. The redesign marks 30 years of publication.

The Big Issue Magazine undergoes complete redesign
Paul McNamee: “We started with the cover design, we made it bold and arresting.”

The magazine has been redesigned throughout, from content to layout, to create a high-impact magazine that is designed to meet the needs of both magazine vendors and readers, say the publishers.

The revamp of the magazine was led by Matt Willey, who recently redesigned the New York Times Magazine, and Paul McNamee, Editor of The Big Issue.

Following the recent relaunch of the website, the redesigned magazine has been crafted to ensure it is high on impact, with the two platforms designed to complement each other for the end user.

The new-look has been carefully created to make sure the publication reflects the changing situation in the country and the changing way readers consume magazines.

Starting with the cover, Matt Willey and Editor Paul McNamee came up with a new aesthetic – one that recalled the boldness and confidence of classic magazines, but also put the name The Big Issue as the key and core part.

The new-approach cover features The Big Issue masthead boldly, to guarantee it can be seen on the street from 50 feet away, creating even more impact.

The front section of the magazine is more immediate and incorporates a greater use of photography and curates the biggest issues of the week, enabling greater access for the reader.

There are more graphics, pull out quotes and summary boxes. The type of easy access points that are valued by all readers and, in particular, The Big Issue’s growing number of subscribers, say the publishers.

The magazine also includes new sections, including a digest of news and views that set out The Big Issue agenda, a weekly news collection of achievements within The Big Issue world and a weekly look at what other street papers, and other changemakers, are doing around the world.

The magazine had to be more impactful, to feel more active and campaigning.

Paul Cheal

Paul Cheal, Group CEO of The Big Issue, said: “Unfortunately, streets up and down the UK are unlikely to return to how they were pre-pandemic. Changing lifestyle and work patterns mean that city centres will be emptier, making sales for vendors far tougher. As we looked to return following lockdown last year, we realised we had to change and rebuild to serve our vendors more, to help them earn in more varied ways, and to also work for those who may have been our readers.

“The magazine had to be more impactful, to feel more active and campaigning, a place that would challenge those in leadership if their policies punished those most in need, and also a place that would agitate for those at risk – calling on governments to act, and third sectors to unify and mobilise. We want to galvanise readers to become changemakers.

“We want this to bring us to a whole new generation of Big Issue readers and supporters, so we can help sell more magazines and in turn help more vendors.”

Paul McNamee, Editor of The Big Issue, said: “The 30th anniversary was the perfect time to change the look of The Big Issue and it is an incredibly exciting step forward for us.

“Following the relaunch of site, the new look magazine is high on impact. We started with the cover design, we made it bold and arresting. We wanted to ensure that it can deliberately be seen on the street from 50 feet away. This is vital, as our vendors have always told us, the more noticeable the cover is, the more likely they are to sell it.

“We have re-designed the content of the magazine as well. It now offers a more immediate front section with greater use of photography and curates the biggest issues of the week. We can’t wait for our readers and vendors alike to see our new look publication.”

The Big Issue recently celebrated its 30th Birthday. In that time, the organisation has helped over 105,000 vendors earn over £144 million.

Keep up-to-date with publishing news: sign up here for InPubWeekly, our free weekly e-newsletter.