It seems it was made for these times. While Real Simple launched 20 years ago and became an instant hit, its aesthetic is finding new relevance in a digitally saturated world.
“I think everybody wants to and needs to simplify their lives,” said Liz Vaccariello, EIC for Real Simple, in an interview with Samir “Mr. Magazine” Husni. “They want to simplify ideas. I think that’s really the outcome of this Internet age, every consumer, every reader of all ages is now overwhelmed by content, ideas, by points of view and opinions. I firmly believe that’s why magazine media has never been healthier, because of everyone’s need for curation.”
That need for curation spills over into our daily lives, which makes the idea of Real Simple easy to sell, according to SVP Group Publisher Daren Mazzucca.
“Simplicity really lends to creating more valuable time to do the things that we want to enjoy. And that’s how we sell it to advertisers, that presents a beautiful environment for the advertiser to deliver their message to the consumer,” he told Husni.
They live the ideals in their magazine, too. Their mantra of simplicity and organization helped them make the rapid swift to remote publishing as the pandemic hit this spring.
“I told everyone initially to pack like we’re going to be going to a snowstorm for a week or two, bring home your materials. Little did we know we would be home for eight months,” Mazzucca said. As the weeks turned into months, they had frequent remote team check-ins, and focused on their employees’ health, safety and well-being.
Still, Vaccarro says they all long to return to the office and sit around the table.
“That’s precisely what I miss, I miss standing around the art table. And I can look at a layout on a screen and send a note to Emily Kehe (creative director) about what I think about it, but that huddling over it, that moving it around and the looking at the wall, moving the pages around, I miss that,” she said to Husni.
In these days of multi-tasking in tighter quarters, the messages in Real Simple may be more important than ever. Vaccarro believes their magazine fills a vital role, just as important as a daily vitamin regime.
“A lot of people say that the magazine is their ‘me’ time,” she said. “They put down the phone, they put down the computer, I think the time spent is like 90 minutes with the magazine. It’s a soothing experience. A prescription of getting a subscription to Real Simple.”
It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years since Real Simple hit the newsstands … and it’s hard to imagine the newsstand without it now. We wish the team at Meredith much continued success!