Magazines are a highly competitive industry. Women’s magazines, in particular, are very competitive because of the number of top-selling magazines. Most of them have a focus on fashion, beauty, celebrity gossip, and health/well-being. They also often include recipes, relationship advice, “real life” stories, and weight-loss advice.
Magazines rely a lot on the look and feel of the cover as a key selling point. They are situated near the check-out counter in most stores, so there has to be that visual appeal to capture the interest of roving eyes.
An analysis of Best Health Magazine
Best Health Magazine takes advantage of the rhetorical appeal of visual and touch in their design. It is the same length as your typical magazine, but it is about half an inch wider. The larger size increases the likelihood that you will see it. Although “trashy” magazines full of celebrity gossip, “drop 1 size in 2 weeks!” programs, and narcissistic “me”-focused articles are greedily gobbled up by most of us, Best Health’s motives are a little different. This is evident in their headlines. We still see the usual headlines about quick exercises and how-to articles for applying make up, but the difference with Best Health is that these are all basic, useful tips and tools for women of all ages.
The magazine also tries to be well-rounded in the content that they provide. They promote themselves as having “four magazines in one,” with sections for Look Great, Get Healthy, Eat Well, and Embrace Life. You won’t find pictures taken by the paparazzi or angry rants about “How to get your man to commit!” Best Health also seeks to back up their articles with some semblance of research, and includes statistical information and cites sources so that the reader can learn more about various health concerns, if they are interested.
As with all magazines, Best Health has advertisements peppered throughout, but they aren’t on every second page, the way it sometimes feels with other magazines. Because the magazine is ever so slightly bigger than the prototype, there is more room for a neat, organized design on the inside pages. It has a very clean, professional look to it. As a Canadian magazine, it takes advantage of discussing Canadian issues and cities in Canada, which will be more relevant than an American magazine in this country.
One of the most fascinating rhetorical choices that Best Health has chosen to use is the feel of the paper. Magazines typically have a glossy finish and a slippery feel to their pages. Best Health, on the other hand, has a matte cover and more of a thick, “paper” feel to it. It gives the illusion that what we’re reading is more of an academic article or a book than a magazine.
Of course, sometimes, what we really want is just a trashy magazine to indulge in. But if that’s the case, we don’t care much about citing sources or having a nice matte finish or a really well-put-together magazine. Best Health recognizes that sometimes, we do want something a little classier, with a little bit more information applicable to the real world and everyday concerns. They have the rhetorical strategies to prove it.