Words: Cliff Joannou
Back in March 2020, I suggested to our publisher Darren Styles that it might be time to give Attitude a makeover. It had been a few years since our last redesign and it’s important to switch things up now and then. After all, complacency is the foundation stone of apathy (this also applies to boyfriends, friendships, families, and sex…).
And so began the early stages of deciding what form a new-look Attitude would take. But then Ms Rona landed, lockdown hit, and plans were paused. With our team working from home and scattered across the UK, it was hardly the starting point conducive to a meaningful creative process. And, what’s more, as an independently published title in the face of an economic gale, the focus — understandably — shifted to doing all we could to survive the pandemic.
Covid subsequently rewrote the rule book for almost everything in our lives, from working habits (video meetings for which I have to remember to wear trousers) to shopping patterns (I can get tequila at the tap of an app — divine). The impact on printed magazines was equally significant.
Although we never missed an issue, publishing every four weeks, as each lockdown came and went, with a lower footfall passing through airports and train stations and fewer shoppers on the high street, retail sales took a hit. On the flip side, print subscriptions jumped 10 per cent and digital subscriptions 15 per cent. But like any business, we’ve had to reset. And since you go big or go home, and we’re no longer at home, we’ve gone big.
The Simpsons' Waylon Smithers leads Attitude's new-look March/April issue (Cover illustration by Julius Preite)
Welcome, then, to the all-new Attitude magazine. It’s the biggest and most beautiful in the publication’s history and marks our greatest reinvention in years. It’s intended to reflect our status as what is now the biggest LGBTQ+ media brand in the world, but also to provide a better fit for a discerning (and demanding) audience long known to appreciate the finer things.
Our page-size is bigger and there are more of them (180), the design is bolder, the paper quality enhanced and the investment in great writing and spectacular photography is at its highest level ever. This is the best of us. It’s an ambitious move at a challenging time, but — as Dame Joan Collins famously said of us — “you get nowhere without Attitude, only Attitude gets things done.” And who are we to argue?
We’ll be publishing a little less often — six big issues a year rather than a dozen smaller ones — but even allowing for a cover price rise on account of our now epic production standards, thanks to some generous discounting, it still costs just £18 for the half-year and £36 for the full year when you subscribe by direct debit, saving 15 per cent. Please do pop by attitude. co.uk and sign up if you love what we’ve done.
We know many readers save their copies of Attitude, with some longstanding subscribers owning collections going right back to the first issue ever published in 1994. We hope and believe our latest incarnation stands in strong comparison with all that has gone before and is a worthy addition to the bookshelf.
We’ve dived deep into the heart and soul of what Attitude meant to us and to you, our readers, building on the parts we loved the most while also adding to the mix. Your new Attitude will deliver more longer-form features, more politics (with a small ‘p’) and, of course, more of the entertainment scoops you’d expect from the world’s premium LGBTQ+ media brand. When Waylon Smithers spoke about finding gay love in a world exclusive first interview, where else was he going to go? (The Springfield Shopper aside, perhaps.)
The next phase is to overhaul the Attitude website, which we aim to deliver in time for Pride season. As we emerge from the worst of the past two years, we are excited by the future once again: making plans to travel, party, see old friends and make new ones. And as I’ve said before and I will say again now: thank you for allowing Attitude to be a part of your journey.
The new-look Attitude March/April issue is out now. Get your copy here.