Vocab Lesson 10: Trade/B2B magazine

Vocab Lesson 10: Trade/B2B magazine So as a design or advertising student, you've probably heard of Advertising Age. If you're into fashion, you also probably know WWD (Women's Wear Daily). And if you're into architecture, you're likely aware of Metropolis, maybe even Interior Design and arcCA magazines. But what about Institutional Investor, Dairy Today or IEEE Spectrum?

All of these publications and the others shown above are examples of trade magazines, also known as b2b or business-to-business publications. They are a category of publication that is separate and different from consumer magazines (the magazines you typically see on the newsstand or at a bookstore).

What makes trade publications different is that they are geared towards professionals in a certain industry or "trade." Obviously The American Lawyer is for lawyers and RN is for nurses. As such, their content AND their advertisements are aimed at the people in those fields and not the general public. Some of these publications focus mostly on the news in that particularly industry, while others offer articles to help educate and inspire their readers.

Most b2b magazines are subscription-only, but you can also find many on newsstands in larger magazine and book stores. Many of these publications charge a much higher subscription rate and cover price than the typical consumer magazine due to their specialized knowledge and information (think about how Print and Communication Arts are in the $40-60 range for a year compared to the $10-15 price for a magazine like Glamour).

Because their content is focused on their specific industry, the design and art direction can be challenging, especially in the less-picturesque fields. Interior Design magazine and WWD will clearly have beautiful photos to work with and eye-appealing products to feature; while a publication like RN has to figure out how to make medical photos and illustrations appealing while still being accurate. One example of this challenge is Dairy Today magazine that was recently redesigned by Pentagram. Check out their blog post here to see how they approached and tackled the task.

Please note: Many of these Vocab Lesson terms are applicable throughout the media and publishing industry, but not always: for example, in this case, the term trade means practically the opposite in book publishing. A trade book is one that is published for distribution to the general public.

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Want more? Check out our previous Vocab Lessons here.

"Vocab Lesson" is a recurring feature on our SPD Student Blog. Tune in every Wednesday for a new word of the week. And if you come across a term you can't quite figure out, email it to us at 
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  • Nancy Stamatopoulos

    Trade magazines are also frequently presented with budgetary challenges. There's a plus side to that... especially if you're a recent grad. That is, you gain a lot of experience. Lower budgets means smaller staff. With fewer people, you become the jack of all trades; and your job can be very hands on (as well as eclectic.) Here at our weekly magazine we have the opportunity to do our own photography and are now embarking on video and web projects — a great experience, as well as résumé builder.

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