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November 28, 2005

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery 

Today, Karen went on sale in —no relation to Karen magazine in the UK. It’s a pleasant enough magazine, and I am not going to launch into any negative criticism because I know how tough it is to do a première issue of a consumer title. Actually, it’s quite good: nice stock, reasonably good shoots, no typos as far as I can tell, and a welcome breath of fresh air in a dominated by titles well past their sell-by dates. The Helvetica is neat, almost de rigueur in the fashion market since played around with it in the early 1990s. It reminds me a little of Jane, another magazine named for its boss, and treads that edgy zone between a traditional and the “street” market.
   But two things are worthy of note: the appearance of a URL at the footers of each page that doesn’t work (; and a sense that it is following our lead. The media kit’s message has some similarity, but most telling is the spine.
   I was not the first publisher to put a URL on page footers, but I don’t know of many magazines in New Zealand that do. There’s my (obviously because it began online and this is a link to its origins), and now there’s Karen. But I probably was the first down here to insist on a spine, where the words run upwards, for two reasons: we would some day be publishing in (well, we already do); and the upward-heading type symbolized the upward trend of the magazine.
   I welcome the new title and look forward to seeing it develop. I hope it establishes a character of its own. For a must be , as the first rule of . I can’t claim monopoly on these devices—goodness knows I was inspired by some features that I liked from rivals—but it’s the second sign that I have had that my decisions might have changed women’s consumer in New Zealand. It’s a pity that I haven’t inspired the same rush toward in publishing that Lucire stands for; but it’s still nice having created a .
Now that I have bought one, I am finding the typos …  
mate,keep flattering yourself  
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