Portfolio magazine debut issue a big disappointment

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So, after seven months of waiting I finally receive my debut copy of one of the most delayed and heavily invested in magazine launches in decades. First off, the Conde Nast sales folks did a bang up job of cross selling into the property. There are quite a few fashion advertisers within Portfolio’s pages.

However, the layout of the magazine is pedestrian. It feels like the art director spent 12 months examining fonts only to forget how to skillfully layout an inviting page of editorial.

The sheer density of the total folio speaks to its gravitas among a handful of wishful cognoscenti (330 some odd pages) but the first news or feature department doesn’t appear until page 97. That’s right. Page 97. The masthead shows up on page 62.

With all of the pitching and repitching and marketing of this new launch you would expect to see some advertising largesse within its pages. But what busy exec is going to want to slog through almost 100 pages of clutter to get to anything readable?

When you tackle the old boys turf of Fortune, Forbes, Inc., Fast Company, Business 2.0 and Wired, you need to bring your “A” game. Portfolio does an ok job but I didn’t expect just an ok job. I wanted to be blown away with scintillating insight and amazing layouts that would engage me for hours.

Instead, I fanned through it only to wonder why I wasted 30 minutes of my time to open its cover.

Save your money and stay away from this launch issue. We’ll all have to wait and see if their actual real launch (one followed by successive issues and not another vacation away from publishing reality) this September actually produces something to get excited about. For now, the old boys have time to gear up for this Fall and take this new upstart head-on.

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