"It's no secret the Journal had some catching up to do," says Diane Salvatore, editor in chief of Ladies' Home Journal. She's discussing the broad redesign with the March issue of Meredith Corp.'s venerable 4.1 million-circulation title, which has struggled to meet rate base at times, had issues with overstating newsstand sales, and watched ad pages fall or stay flat for the past decade. Salvatore and creative director Patrick Yardley have significantly spruced up the pages. They've shifted the busy, quick-take pages typically found at the front of women's service titles to the back and saved the front for a focus on the magazine's "Can This Marriage Be Saved?" franchise and related offshoots based around Salvatore's positioning of "heart, home, family." (Which, coincidentally, nearly duplicates the "home, family, Meredith" tagline of Meredith's most recent branding campaign.) The logo changes as well, with "Home Journal" now emphasized. The company's being cautious: 75% of newsstand copies display the new logo, and upgraded paper only appears on newsstand.
"I was impressed" by the redesign said George Janson, director-print at MediaEdge:CIA. But he warns that he'd felt the title "had lost its way," and that "its median age is the oldest in the category." Salvatore says she's after new and younger readers, but Janson points out getting the median age down successfully-like Hearst's Redbook did-takes "years and years."