Flip-flop Over Flap at 'Portfolio'

January Issue Ditches Left Side Flap In Favor of Cover Lines

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Conde Nast Portfolio has received some criticism for its covers so far, which have tried to distinguish the title from other business magazines with landscapes, concept covers and the relegation of cover lines to a left-hand flap. Let's see if the critics like what's coming now any better.
Now flap-free.
Now flap-free.

Starting with the January issue, the flap -- which was a concept popularized by Tina Brown when she edited The New Yorker -- is history and Portfolio has cover lines all over it just like everyone else. Editor in Chief Joanne Lipman said it was nice, but...

Pros and cons
"What the flap allows us to do is showcase great photography and it also allows you to very clearly tell readers what's in the magazine," Ms. Lipman said. "We wanted the flap to show this magazine has a plethora of interesting articles.

"The flip side of the flap is that because it's very narrow, we had a flap curl issue," she said. "When people spent a lot of time with the magazine, the flap curls."

The advertising on the reverse side brought only a tiny bit of incremental revenue. And the set-up constrained editors' ability to play up articles in different ways or even run a tease across the top, where it could be seen on crowded magazine racks.

The January issue runs a line across the top that screams newsstand crack: "Bono and the Rock Stars of Technology." The cover story about corporate espionage gets the biggest text down below, while blurbs run down the left side and a red button over the logo offers "Wall Street's Next Crash."

Can always bring back the flap
"With the kind of cover we're doing here, we can have a little bit more freedom, with the lines that you use, your language, the attitude," Ms. Lipman said. She also said Portfolio can bring back the flap if it wants: "We figure we can do the flap, we can not do the flap."

It would be nice to do some newsstand sales analysis, by the way, but Portfolio hasn't released any sales figures yet.
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