City Pages’ new mini-pages

City Pages has slimmed down and gotten a haircut.

As several Braublog readers noted this week, the local alt-weekly’s page size shrank — it’s 7 percent smaller, says publisher Mark Bartel. Two other changes: the pages are trimmed instead of ragged and stapled instead of loose.

The move is revenue-neutral, Bartel notes, but provides “an improved reader experience. Being stapled now with trimmed edges gives it a cleaner look, easier to handle, more desirable to keep around and refer back to.”

As you can see below, City Pages’ new size is now nearly identical to its sharply designed entertainment-side competitor Vita.mn (though the latter is not trimmed or stapled). Bartel says editorial changes include “more space to food and restaurant news and reviews, and expanded the music and concerts section”; some simple listings have been moved to citypages.com.

City Pages old and new, with Vita.mn
City Pages old and new, with Vita.mn

On the news side, City Pages’ mix of alt-weekly reportage and tabloid fare isn’t affected. Editor Kevin Hoffman says story lengths have not changed; instead, art director Mike Kooiman shrunk the font size slightly.

While the new CP is easier to handle, some graphics and layouts do seem squished. (The Dec. 8 cover design, featuring Minnesota Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom, apparently printed too small.) City Pages’ dense-text look has seemed dated for years, and squeezing it into a smaller space doesn’t help. Hoffman says a full redesign from Kooiman is due out in a few months.

Bartel says CP’s owner, Village Voice Media, did not dictate the new format, though many of the chain’s papers have “made the change for the same reasons.” The advertising rate card hasn’t been altered in a couple of years and didn’t change for the new template.

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Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Andy Gifford on 12/14/2010 - 10:02 am.

    So, VVM is taking the zine approach, via attrition?

    I understand the costs of running a print operation, but I wonder if there’s a “hipster” component to this move.

  2. Submitted by Jay Boller on 12/16/2010 - 07:24 am.

    “Almost certainly not.”

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