Peter FitzGerald

The new black (Monday 21 December 2009)

Times are weird. It's more than two weeks now since we saw the physical effects of taking the plunge in a new direction - the arrival of the first purely black-and-white Circa in almost three decades. Although the design of the new issue is deliberately a throwback to the first few Circas, there's a lot more content in the current issue - 80 pages' worth, as opposed to 28, and you can get a full-colour images supplement from Circa as well.
Feedback has been almost uniformly positive, so it seems that simplicity is the order of the day. Another change, however, has been causing a bit of consternation: we are only distributing via Circa itself - basically via online purchase. It's all about cashflow. If we distribute to outlets, we have the printing and distribution costs up-front, and they are not trivial. When copies sell, we frequently have to wait more than a year for payment. Our cashflow can't take the strain at the moment. Instead, we would like people to subscribe / purchase through us.
To add value, we've also brought out a full-colour PDF image supplement - 83 pages of images to accompany the magazine. Again, it's a way of encouraging purchase through case you're not getting the hint - though it's also very satisfying for us to be able to show more works than will fit in the magazine itself.
One of the reasons black-and-white is working out is the quality of the result - the images look great, partly because we've grown so used to colour that black-and-white is refreshing, partly because Graham and Heslip, our printers, do a very fine job. Check it out for yourself.