Time for a tiny format for newsweeklies

Time for a tiny format for newsweeklies I've always been a fan of the format of 50s newsweekly. Quick, a digest-sized celebrity and fast news magazine that was published from 1949-1953. Quick was tiny in size, just 4 1/2 x 6 inches (considerably smaller than the Reader's Digest and Jet sizes of today), and it promoted the fact that readers could " carry it in your pocket or your purse...and read it wherever you are." Like the name says, articles were short and fast; it was a highly portable read. The cover designs started out with black and white photos and a single background color, but soon moved to full-color celebrity photo portraits. Quick always promoted itself as a "news weekly," and carried a mix of current events and a heavy dose of celebrity news and lifestyle updates.

In the past couple years just about every newsweekly in existence has redesigned and reimagined itself, from Time to Newsweek to BusinessWeek to Entertainment Weekly. And of course they're all experimenting with various types of e-readers and digital technology to make the magazines more portable and more accessible. I think it's time to suggest a radical move to any newsweekly brave enough to take it: change your format to a Quick-sized magazine. Imagine the savings in paper and printing alone! And how cool would it be to see Time magazine in this tiny, handy format? Art directors all know that everything looks better in a smaller format, so how about it Time and Newsweek?

You can see the complete March 12, 1951 issue, every page scanned, here. And you can read a very brief history of Quick here. 

Visit here for a gallery of 14 classic Quick covers. And we've got a few more gems here...

Quick covers.jpg

(Left): August 15, 1949, baby Prince Charles. (RIght): July 21, 1952, Johnnie Ray.

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(Left): October 27, 1952, Lana Turner. (Right): February 20, 1950, Roy Rogers.

Visit this page for a gallery of Quick covers.

  • lundclub

    If you find the May 31, 1949 issue of "QUICK News Weekly," please let me know.

  • lundclub

    I collect these, and out of the 209 issues published, I have only four more to get:
    May 24, 1949
    May 31, 1949
    June 20, 1949
    Aug. 1, 1949
    If anyone knows where I can get any of these for a decent price, please let me know.

  • lundclub

    Amendment to above:
    I now have all but the May 31, 1949 issue. Please let me know if you find it.

  • Neil Jamieson

    I agree that long form pieces are tough to read at digest size but that just means the editors and designers have to be smarter about their story telling...and as for design, i don't think i entirely agree with "Brightpavilions". Just one look at "Prevention" (which I think is one of the most organized, smartest and well thought out magazines out there at any size) and you see the potential of the digest format, heck when a digest sized mag wins General Excellence at the National Magazine Awards we should all be taking notice (good job Reader's Digest 2009!). Does the digest format generate decent newstand numbers though? Coming from a weekly magazine (People) where getting the newstand formula just right is the key, it would be interesting to see how the newstand buyer responds to a mini Newsweek or a tiny Time...Lets get Focus Grouping!

    (Thanks for the great post Robert!)

  • Eric Weir

    Coming from a Time subscriber, while there are short articles in the front of the book, the features are all long form journalism and that's not going to translate to the small size. I like to read more than a paragraph a page, plus your'e missing out on being able to run a nice combo of graphic/and text. Think of looking at photo features on war or nature at postage stamp size. Considerably less effective.

    In Detroit (and a few other cities) there was this mag called Six Degrees. It was a mini digest size, and they recently rebranded and went to a standard size. It just works better.

    I had the opportunity several years ago to design 12+ page mini digests that were a supplement in an alternative weekly pub when there was something like outdoor festival concerts happening. It had the schedule of acts and small bios of the bands, food, artists etc. That worked well. Something people could grab and hold on to as a pocket reference. But actual articles/journalism in the mini digest size, just doesn't work for me either words or design.

    But maybe it's just me?!

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