Is Bigger Really Better in the Luxury Print Magazine?


The trend is clear: Major fashion publishers are going for size.

Seems bigger is better in the world of fashion magazines.

“With its March 2016 issue, Elle US debuted a new trim size of 9 inches by 10 7/8 inches, up from 8 inches by 10 7/8 inches,” writes Kate Abnett in BOF. “But the Hearst-owned publication is not alone. In the last year, Condé Nast Traveler, former ‘lad mag’ Maxim and women’s lifestyle magazine More — which has since folded — all increased their trim sizes.”

What’s behind the new sizing?

“For the most part, larger pages are a bid to increase these titles’ appeal as a platform for advertisers — particularly luxury brands — at a time when driving revenues from print ads is increasingly tough,” Abnett notes.

And, it’s a good way to add real estate to your publication without adding pages, “which can quickly increase the cost of printing and mailing,” Abnett notes.

But there may be something else at play here.

“More than ever, everyone wants to stand out,” said Stefano Tonchi, editor-in-chief of W magazine. “The future of print is in premium content with a collectible quality.” According to Tonchi, W’s oversized format “serves as a luxurious environment for our bold and immersive imagery,” Abnett writes.

It’s a bid for the affluent reader, looking for the luxury experience that print can deliver, especially in the high-end fashion market. Let the critics scoff; print is being called an “effortless” environment for luxury marketers and upping the trim size only adds to the appeal.

As publishers worry about eyeballs drifting to digital, this larger trim size may be luring more looks their way on the newsstand.

“Some also say that bigger is better for attracting attention on the newsstand. Maxim’s Bruneau points out that the December/January 2015 issue of the magazine — its first in a larger size — outsold any other men’s lifestyle magazine throughout 2015,” Abnett notes, although the jury is still out on that according to some other publishers.

It comes down to aesthetics for the upscale buyer: What defines luxury, good taste, elegance? What makes a magazine suited for prominence on the coffee table? For many, this larger trim size may be an important part of the answer.