A RESEARCH REPORT ON THE CHANGING FORMATS OF MAGAZINES
A RESEARCH REPORT ON THE CHANGING FORMATS OF MAGAZINES CONTENTS 2 Defining Magazines 3 Printed Magazines 6 Experimental Three-Dimensional 9 Digital Magazines 11 New Technologies 12 Print on Demand 12 Print and Digital Working Together 14 Will online magazines make the printed magazine obsolete? 15 Conclusion 16 Bibliography
By Daisy Dudley
THE CHANGING FORMATS OF MAGAZINES The formats in which we read and receive magazines are changing. Whether it be through increased tactility in printed formats or the multimedia experience of the digital publication, magazine consumers and producers alike should be aware that there is more on offer than your standard glossy. The big question is, printed or digital: which is the format of the future?
DEFINING MAGAZINES In We Love Magazines (2007, p.7) Andrew Losowsky argues that the commonly accepted meaning of the word magazine, ‘a commercial, periodical publication intended for general consumption’, is no longer sufficient. He explains that magazines for charitable causes are not commercial and those produced as a one-off or irregularly cannot be classed as periodical. Furthermore, the word publication generally refers to something printed and of a preconceived expectation of size and format, which digital and three-dimensional magazines do not conform to. Therefore he draws the conclusion, on par with Jeremy Leslie’s definitions in his Creative Review column (Sept, 2009, p.52), that perhaps the only consistent definition is that ‘a magazine is something that appears in numbered editions (even with a special publication referred to as a one–off)’, the importance being that one can refer to a particular issue. Leslie (Creative
Review, 2009) expands upon this by proposing a second factor that defines a magazine from other published media such as a blog. This is that it consists of content that is edited and selected by the producers to create a conscious presentation of the subject matter to the audience rather than just a continuous feed or a series of links. These new ideas for the defining factors of a magazine come as a direct result of the increasing variety in magazine formats. What size, shape and form a magazine is should no longer be assumed. The online magazine directory produced by Colophon, The International Magazine Symposium [website reference 1], allows the user to search for a magazine through four different ‘types’; paper magazine, blogs, digital magazine and PDF. However, subsequent to my research I propose that these types are re-categorised into four bands of format; printed, experimental three-dimensional, digital and print on demand magazines.
PRINTED MAGAZINES The standard printed magazine is the traditional format we all know and love. For the vast majority of us when asked to picture a magazine; a glossy front cover, full colour, coated stock and sized approximately 230mm by 300mm is what immediately springs to mind. However, there is increasing variation in even the most conventional of magazine formats. For example Pop magazine (Autumn/Winter, 2009) utilizes a large spectrum of format variation in a single issue. This issue alone consisted of a variety of paper stocks, page sizes, an inserted, staple bound ‘book-zine’ and a perforated foldout
poster. Another example of a printed magazine using creative format techniques is Amelia’s Magazine which throughout its ten printed issues included lazer-cut, flocked, scratch-n-sniff and holographic front covers. [web ref 2]. So why all this experimentation? Sometimes designers choose a format just because it works. The producers of A-1 sized The Manipulator chose this format because it lends itself to the reproduction of artwork featured by the likes of David Hockney and Bruce Webber (Leslie, Issues, 2000, p.10). Experimentation in design and printed format tends to be most common in independent
magazines than mass consumer titles. This is because most commonly they don’t have to sit on the newsstand; they tend have niche audiences and be sold in specialist bookshops or galleries and therefore don’t have to compete for attention in the same way. (Yolanda Zappaterra, Editorial Design, 2007, p.8). Therefore they don’t always need to rely on attention grabbing techniques such as cover lines and bright colours that more generic titles rely on. However, experimentation with print and production can add interest to more mass distribution magazines such as Wallpaper*.
Pop: magazine with its accompanying ‘book-zine’ designed by M/M Paris and perforated pull out poster. Auntumn/Winter 2009
In a talk organised by the Editorial Design Organisation (Pentagram, 29th Nov 2009), Wallpaper* editor-in-chief Tony Chambers spoke in detail about the magazine’s relationship with more experimental production techniques. He believes in ‘the value of spending money on production to push the boundaries of print’. Wallpaper* who have in past issues utilised techniques such as; die-cuts, U-V inks, transparent and sticker paper-stocks, pull-outs and gate-folds, feel that whilst being expensive to produce is it worthwhile for several reasons, the first being that their affluent audience appreciate that they are receiving a ‘special’ product. Secondly, the room for creative freedom has attracted and excited some of their guest editors who apparently try to ‘out-do’ one another in terms of extravagant production. For example, architect Zaha Hadid orchestrated seven different die-cut pages which referenced one of her latest designs (Oct, 2008) and most recently Karl Largerfeld, in the most expensive production cost issue of Wallpaper* to date (Oct, 2009), used sticker paper to peel away the clothing of the cover model. Chambers argues that in order to compete with the capabilities of the Internet, ‘a magazine has to be just as much about product design as it does print design’, and features such as Hadid’s die-cut piece illustrates how Wallpaper* is achieving this.
Whilst Wallpaper*’s print run may be more expensive than your standard glossy, Chambers points out that the opportunity to explore features such as paper stocks and pull-outs is attractive to advertisers wanting to make an impact. Since interactive and unusual elements in turn equate to the reader spending more time engaged in the advert. Interiors brand Habitat utilised different paper stocks with a two leaved advert. The first was a translucent tracing paper covered in sketch-style outlines of the product shown on the second page. Using an interesting design feature like this can initially con the reader into thinking the advert is part of the editorial, this in turn strengthens the brand’s association with the magazine and causes the reader to spend more time engaged with it.
“A MAGAZINE HAS TO BE JUST AS MUCH ABOUT PRODUCT DESIGN AS IT DOES PRINT DESIGN.” Tony Chambers, Wallpaper* Editor-in-chief
Wallpaper*: Cover of issue guest edited by Karl Largerfeld with removable cover peeled off and left on. October 2009 Cover and spread from issue guest edited by Zaha Hadid with Hadidâ€™s work die-cut into pages. October 2008
EXPERIMENTAL THREE-DIMENSIONAL In some cases magazine publishers and designers push the boundaries of format to the extent where they can no longer exist within the printed publication category and therefore require a category of their own, experimental three-dimensional. Magazines such as La Más Bella, Shift! and Visionaire make a glossy printed magazine look like old news. La Más Bella, (Spanish for ‘the most beautiful’), was founded in Madrid, 1993, it is published annually and throughout the years has taken the form of anything from a tapas making kit (La Mas Bella Tapa, 2009), to a wallet (La Más Bella Tu, 2003), to a vending machine (The Bellamatic, 2001). When questioned about their experimental perception of magazine formats Diego Ortiz, copublisher of La Más Bella responds ‘The concept of magazine is very wide, just think different! Everything can be a magazine. For us it’s natural, so why not?’ (Interview by Andrew Losowsky with Diego Ortiz, 2009. [web ref 3]) Another magazine that’s ‘thinking differently’ is Shift! that ‘as a publication wanted to redefine print, focusing on its tactile and formal possibilities, within a contemporary context.’ (Anja Lutz, We Love Magazines, 2007, p.134). Lutz feels that their approach of starting each issue of Shift! from scratch in terms of idea,
concept, people involved and form has set a platform for creative freedom. The content of each issue is responsive to the theme addressed, for example 19,99–A Commercial Shift! was an issue consisting solely of advertisements. The physical format also references the issue’s theme such as Meat/Flesh which was bound with a butcher’s hook [web ref 4]. Arguably the most extravagant example of an experimental 3-D magazine is Visionaire. The latest issue is an ‘electronic daily calendar’ (similar to a digital photo frame) featuring 365 artworks. As attractive and conceptually unusual as this issue is, it also costs $295 [web ref 5]. I visited Visionaire World the New York gallery space dedicated to the magazine for my (only) chance of a closer look. The range of format experimentation, one issue a range of illustrated polo shirts (the full set of 12 priced at $1000), the next a pop-up book, was inspiring in terms of pushing the boundaries of the conventional magazine. However, the desirable Soho location and aloof assistant reiterated the essence of elitism that comes with its price tag. Described as ‘a must have accessory among the fashion-set’ [web ref 6], the question is when does a publication stop being a creative investment and start being a brand driven gimmick?
Visionaire Suprise: magazine in the form of a series of complex pop-up books, spread by Steven Meisel. November 2008 La Más Bella Tu : La Mas Bella magazine in the format of a wallet. 2003 6
In Spring 2001 Nice magazine was released, it cost £7.50, had the title printed clearly on the front and consisted simply of a block of wood the same size, thickness and weight of a standard consumer magazine. In MagCulture (2003, p.51) Leslie questions was this ‘the ultimate experiment in magazine format? …[Or] an artful joke about the state of magazines or a serious comment about the destruction of forests for paper?’ He concludes that either way, it was a best-seller at all of the shops selling it. Experimental three-dimensional magazines whilst being very diverse in appearance are unified through the fact they have a function beyond the body of information and entertainment contained in a conventionally formatted magazine. Whether it be a fashion ‘must-have’ or an environmental ironic statement, these magazines are forcing the reader and consumer to question their expectations of a magazine and what a magazine even is.
“THE CONCEPT OF MAGAZINE IS VERY WIDE, JUST THINK DIFFERENT! EVERYTHING CAN BE A MAGAZINE. FOR US IT’S NATURAL, SO WHY NOT?” Diego Ortiz, Co-publisher of La Más Bella
ROBERT DE NIET Art Director and University Lecturer What is your purpose for reading magazines? To keep me informed with what is happening within the fashion and magazine industries, for work as a lecturer, art director and consultant and they’re enjoyable. Would you spend as much money on an internet based magazine as a printed one? No I would not spend as much money on an online magazine due to the fact that I like the tactile nature of print and I like to archive them in my reading room. Do you think there are any advantages to a printed magazine verses an online magazine and vice versa? Online is good because of its speed and the intergration of other things such as audio, moving image and hot links to other things. Print is good due to its high resolution, its tactility, portability and that magazine journalism is normally better researched and by better writers. Do you think in the future the development of alternate formats could mean that the standard printed magazine is obsolete? The print magazine needs to change into a more long form object which sits in between online and books. The difference between books and magazine is that of content and the ephemera.
Nice Magazine: A solid piece of wood sold as a magazine. 2002
STEPHANIE JEDRZGEWSKI Graphic design student Do you read magazines in any format other than the standard printed ones? PDF’s I use for my iPod, I put editorials on there and look at them whilst travelling. I read magazine samples online sometimes before I buy it and use http://www.thefashionspot.com/ to see what other people think of the magazine before buying it. I’m a conscious consumer! Would you spend as much money on an internet based magazine as a printed one? No, I would spend less because I don’t feel I get as much out of it. It’s disposable which isn’t what I want from a magazine. I want to keep it and archive it and refer back to it. I wouldn’t mind, but if I had to choose I would pay extra for the printed one. Do you think there are any advantages to a printed magazine verses an online magazine and vice versa? Advantages to an online magazine would be that it’s readable whilst travelling, and the printed magazine can get damaged, but generally it is better to read a printed magazine because it is more interactive and can be archived. For someone like me who likes editorials, I prefer having the real thing! Do you think there are any disadvantages to a printed magazine verses an online magazine and vice versa? Printed can be heavy, harder to store. If you collect them for years [like me] you will end up with too many – scares me a bit. It’s more of a sit at home and read thing.
DIGITAL MAGAZINES The Internet has enabled magazines to transcend from physical to virtual existence. By digital magazine I mean, for the most part, magazines published via the Internet. The sub-categories of digital magazines are harder to define due to their transient nature. However the main examples are; website, such as daily men’s fashion and lifestyle title Selectism, http://www.selectism. com/ [web ref 7], PDF, such as I Love Fake, http://www.ilovefakemagazine.com/ [web ref 8] or moving image or show reel based such as http://www.thisisamagazine.com/ [web ref 9] and Humus, http://www.humus.nu/ [web ref 10]. These formats may exist in their own right or be an alternative version of an existing printed magazine. There are several reasons that would suggest the superiority of digital magazine formats over our beloved printed ones. Firstly digital and online magazines can embody all the benefits of multimedia such as moving image, animation and audio. The digital version of ‘Truth & Movies’ magazine Little White Lies, http:// www.littlewhitelies.co.uk/ [web ref 11] is laid out in a conventional magazine format however each film or artist mentioned is accompanied by a link to view the trailers, music videos or interviews. Aside from digital versions the
website of magazines often showcases the brand’s ventures which go beyond the printed page. Lula magazine’s website, http://www.lulamag. com/ [web ref 12] chooses not to reveal the entire contents of their magazine but to provide moving image and music that adds another dimension to selected featured editorials. http://www.lulamag. com/ uses pastel colours and slow fade transitions between pages to emulate the dreamy, feminine atmosphere of the printed magazine, therefore not succumbing to the need for speed usually associated with the Internet. Other online features such as playlists, radio, blogs, social networking and emailed newsletters are used by magazines as a way of expanding the brand’s reach and allowing the reader greater interaction, engagement and a stronger relationship with the magazine. A second advantage of digital magazines is the ease and speed of publishing and distribution. ‘By definition, the world wide web is a global medium, whereas it is very difficult to reach an international audience with a printed magazine... But with a website, a magazine can reach the world without ever having to leave home.’ (Patrick Burgoyne, MagCulture, 2003, p.18) Online magazines eliminate the need for expensive printing and distribution costs.
Furthermore by removing the physicality of a magazine this removes the need for storage space. Some enthusiasts embrace the time and space required to archive magazines, but for readers of more throw-away titles such as weekly gossip magazines or supplements they’re likely to be just that, thrown away or recycled. The paper and printing industry is the 4th biggest industry in the UK (Clark, C, 2008 Lovely as a Tree: Print Issues [web ref 13]). The initial production of paper requires a lot of energy and water and litho printing most commonly used to print magazines uses energy, emissions and water as well as creating toxic chemical waste (Clark, 2008, [web ref 13]). Paper is biodegradable but in the process it produces harmful methane gas which contributes to global warming. In the UK 66% of the paper we use is recycled but features such as glossy, coated stock and glue binding make magazines particularly hard to recycle (How is paper recycled? Environmental Impact, 2009. [web ref 14]). When bearing this in mind simply looking at the magazine online rather than insisting on the physical ‘ownership’ of it makes sense to avoid wasting the earth’s resources.
http://www.humus.nu/: spread from online magazine, the notebook style layout emulates the tactility of print. Illustrated by Rina O. Issue 13, 2009 http://www.ilovefakemagazine.com/: spread from PDF magazine powered by http://issuu.com/. Illustrated by Reed and Rader . Winter 2009
The Mag+: tablet and layout prototype images by Bonnier. December 2009
NEW TECHNOLOGIES A recent development in digital magazines is the exportation of the magazine format to other digital devices. Magazines have recently began making applications of the iPhone and iPod Touch. These range from rather simply condensed versions of the magazines website (Nylon) to whole new formatting of existing printed titles (GQ American edition). Wound magazine ‘the biggest Arts & Fashion Title in the world’ [web ref 15], is one of the first magazines to be available as an iPhone application. ‘It’s not an image of a magazine, it’s a fully interactive magazine in the palm of your hand.’ [web ref 16] Despite magazines on iPods being a new concept in itself, the real excitement amongst the publishing and technology crowds surrounds tablet based devices. There has been much speculation about a tablet designed by Apple rumored to be called the iPad and launched later this year. Several other companies have released prototypes for tablets as well such as Microsoft’s Courier and laptop company ASUS’ Eee Reader. These tablets will be much like the Amazon Kindle but more suited to magazines. Despite a slow start since its launch in 2007, this Christmas the Kindle became the most popular gift in Amazon’s history. (Allen, K. 2009 Amazon e-book sales overtake print for the first time. [web ref 17]) Similarly impressive on Christmas Day 2009 for the first time more digital books were brought from Amazon than paper ones, implying that consumers are ready to embrace reading from digital devices and therefore may be interested in a magazine equivalent [web ref 17]. Whilst no magazine tablet has yet been released on the market several American titles such as Wire and Sports Illustrated (published by Time Inc) have released prototype teasers of what their tablet edition may look like. The research
and development department of international media company Bonnier, in association with design partners Berg, have released the most extensive and convincing prototype yet. The concept is called the Mag+ and aims to use ‘the power of digital media to create a rich and meaningful experience, while maintaining the relaxed and curated features of printed magazines’ (Jeffery, B. 2009 Digital Magazines: Bonnier Mag+ Prototype. [web ref 18]). Interesting features include the vertical orientation of articles and various modes for viewing text or image. Whilst most previous digital magazine layouts have aimed to replicate the page turning metaphor they feel that this ‘isn’t very honest to the form of the screen’ and that most successful digital reading experiences such as email and blogs are read vertically. (Schulze, J. 2009 Digital Magazines: Bonnier Mag+ Prototype, [web ref 18]). It has been a clever and practical move by Bonnier to release the concept video and actively encourage discussion via their website, therefore receiving designer and consumer critical analysis and interest before the product is even released. Russell Davies (Magazine machines- compare and contrast, 2009 [web ref 19]) comments that the most notable difference between Bonnier’s Mag+ prototype and that produced by Time Inc is that Bonnier’s example is focused on improving digital magazine design and experience whilst Time’s example appears to be focused on preserving revenue through the abundence of advertising. Davies (2009) continues to say that whilst ‘preserving revenue is a noble aim, but the best way to get there is to think hard about users and their experience, not by trying to dazzle advertisers into thinking magazines are just like TV’ [web ref 19]. In his web article The Revolution to Come Andrew Losowsky (2009[web ref 20]) mentions
that a likely online market-place for digital magazines for tablets could be Apple’s iTunes. However, that three rival international magazine conglomerates; Time Inc, Conde Nast and Hearst (NatMags) are rumored to be in discussions about joining forces to produce their own tablet/reader and online market-place. Hence ensuring that profits circulate within the magazine industry and not with Apple. This in itself appears to be a strong indicator of how seriously the industry is taking the role of digital, tablet based magazines in the future of magazine publishing. There has been a lot of online excitement about magazine tablets however Jack Shafer (The Tablet Hype, 2009 [web ref 21]) poses some valid points about why he thinks they won’t revolutionize the way we read magazine. The most resonating being that initially these tablets will be rather expensive. However he predicts that as tablet technology advances the number of features it has such as Internet access will increase and the price will decrease, as was the process with existing popular device the iPhone. His theory is that once tablets are capable of viewing a magazine’s website or online version readers will bypass tablet formats to read magazines this way, and that companies’ and consumers’ investment in tablet formats will become worthless.
PRINT ON DEMAND The Internet’s role in magazine development is not limited to the way the consumer reads the content, but now also when a magazine is printed and by how many copies. Whilst there are other popular print on demand (POD) services available for books, American website http://magcloud.com/ [web ref 22] is the only service dedicated to magazines and the self proclaimed ‘future of magazine publishing’ (Powazeck, D. 2008 Introducing MagCloud and the Future of Magazine publishing [web ref 23]). MagCloud allows anyone to upload the PDFs of their magazine. The titles are advertised in the site’s browse section and once ordered a high quality glossy magazine is printed (with HP indigo printers) and delivered to the buyer. Dereck Powazek, founder of MagCloud explains that he wanted to combine the best parts of web ‘no waste, personalized content, open to all’ with the best parts of print ‘sexy print quality, permanence, no batteries required’ [web ref 23]. This process has the potential to play a crucial role in the industries reduction of waste and resources since in eliminates the production of surplus and unwanted copies. According to Powazek, the average sell-through rate of a magazine is 30%, so 70% of magazines are not even read before going into refuse. From an environmental point of view the POD method seems to very logical.
PRINT AND DIGITAL WORKING TOGETHER Other new marketing strategies and technologies are arising which link the benefits of digital media with the financial commitment of print. An example is the Wallpaper* ‘Secret’ issue (July 2008), upon buying the printed magazine the reader was given a code which once entered into the magazine’s website ‘unlocked’ a secret/ exclusive section. Similarly many of Creative Review’s online articles are only viewable to subscribers to the printed edition. A further, and potentially more groundbreaking, example is the recent rise in use of Augmented Reality (AR) Technology. AR uses a code that is printed into the magazine page, when the reader accesses the magazine’s website and holds the spread to the webcam the magazine page on the screen comes to life. Colors magazine issue Teenagers issue [web ref 24] is amongst the first mass market titles to use this technology, ‘It allows us to connect the magazine to the website, and to put video on the magazine page. This means we can bring the characters to life – they can tell a story, sing a song, whatever.’ (Cameron, A. 2009 Ink and paper- holding up, [web ref 25]). Another title to use AR is the American edition of Esquire, [web ref 26] in which the cover star literally jumps off the page and seasons in the fashion editorial change by tilting the magazine from side to side. Whilst both examples are still rather crude the concept certainly appears to have a lot of exciting potential for development. The producers must also be commended for their use of getting the reader to engage with both printed and digital formats simultaneously.
JEREMY LESLIE Magazine creative, author and writer of http://magculture.com/blog/
KATE RINTOUL Journalism student and President of UAL Fashion Society
Do you read magazines in any format other than the standard printed one? I’m always looking and experimenting [with new formats] but usually disappointed by digital. There are some lovely fanzines out there but they can be obscure and one-off.
Would you spend as much money on an Internet based magazine as a printed one? No! The beauty of magazines is that they are something to treasure that lasts forever, I still find online too transient. As my interests lie in fashion and features, I think these can only be given prominence in print, people don’t stay on sites long enough to read and well researched, lengthy features and great photographs can only be fully appreciated in print. Though online has some excellent uses such as streaming shows live and democratizing fashion I think these are only entry points to the industry.
Do you think there are any advantages to a printed magazine verses an online magazine and vice versa? Both have their pros and cons, mainly balanced in favour of print. Monocles combination of print and digital is an intelligent use of what is great about the two media. Do you think in the future the development of alternate formats could mean that the standard printed magazine is obsolete? Printed magazines will never be obsolete, they will continue to change and develop and find new directions alongside digital publishing. This is a very exciting time for information and design.
ANA RACHEL ESTROUGO Graphic design student and assistant Would you spend as much money on an internet based magazine as a printed one? No. I don’t like reading on screen, I much prefer to hold things in my hand, to sit somewhere else, to have time off the computer. Reading a mag/book is like having a break from pixels.
Though I can see why specific professions might find the constant stream of fresh information better than print, the readers of specialist magazines such as Farmers Weekly have really benefitted from user generated content and up to the minute announcements when trying to find out more information on developing stories such as the foot and mouth outbreak. Those working in medicine and finance I also think stand to benefit more form online journalism. Do you think in the future the development of alternate formats could mean that the standard printed magazine is obsolete? No and it makes me angry when I hear people saying this will happen, for certain areas I think that print will die out because it cannot produce information as quickly as online. But who is to say that quick information is good? As online journalists clamber to be number one, as google search often makes mistakes, they resort to tagging their articles with irrelevant but highly searched words. I think that even for news, print will exist in some form as it will provide a space for specialist comments and analysis. You may watch a story unfold on http://www.bbc.co.uk/ but you’ll read what it means to you in a newspaper. I think the emergence of paid for content online will aid this. In terms of fashion I think that events and shows will be reported online while shoots and features that make up a magazine will still be only appear in full in magazines. Though I do like convergence when columns or articles are presented alternatively online with videos or audio slide shows, however these are still only fashion in brief and you don’t get a full impression of the subject.
Colors Teenagers: back and front cover of Colors magazine showing Augmented Reality code. Issue 76, 2009
WILL ONLINE MAGAZINES MAKE THE PRINTED MAGAZINE OBSOLETE? Despite the potential benefits posed by online and digital publishing are they enough to eliminate the printed magazine? The main things to consider when trying to draw this conclusion are the tactility and reading experience of the printed magazine, combined with the difficulties of funding online publications. The sensory experience felt with a printed magazine is greater than with a digital version; whilst a digital version can produce visual and audio experiences, a printed one evokes visual, tactile, olfactory and auditory (the flick of the pages) responses. The all-round sensory experience is much more profound. For example, whilst discussing the contrasts between blogs and magazines, thirteen-year-old online sensation Tavi explains, ‘At night I like to hug them and smell their paper and be creepy.’ (Blogs vs. Magazines. 2009 [web ref 26]). Nemone Caldwell, former art director of Sleazenation continues ‘the whole thing about a magazine is the actual physicality of if. Something you could hold in your hand, rip pages out of and doodle on, or whatever.’ (MagCulture, 2003, p.26). Digital magazines may claim to increase portability but this is dependant on one owning the latest iPhone or tablet reader. The reality of trying to access online content on the underground, or flick through a PDF on the beach or in the bath is (for now at least) simply impractical. As Patrick Burgoyne puts it
‘Print magazines work. They never crash, their batteries don’t run out and they don’t need plugins. They are portable, light (well, light-ish) and everyone knows how to use them’ (MagCulture, 2003, p.18). Also for the proportion of people who spend their working days staring at a monitor, full resolution, ink and paper provides a welcome break for the eyes and mind. Andrew Losowsky explains ‘backlit LCD screens are not the best surfaces to read long stretches of text from – most people just don’t find it comfortable to sit and stare at a permanent light source that is being shined into their eyes from the white of the page’ [web ref 20]. Not to mention the huge proportion of the world who either do not have access to, or simply aren’t interested in computers, let alone magazine reading tablets. Another point is that whilst the speed of assessing information on the Internet is now incomparable to printed publishing, simply receiving information is not necessarily why people buy magazines. Design student Sam Dal Monte argues that “We don’t actually buy a magazine for its content, there are quicker and easier ways to access information available online, we buy the magazine for its physical form. By choosing to buy a magazine you are making a certain decision about who you are.” (20th October, 2009) I would argue that certain magazines, arts and fashion ‘mooks’ as they’re referred to, are not only consumed as a result of who you are, but who you want to be. These magazines play a significant role in what could
be called ‘coffee-table culture’, they are not just for reading, but also to be seen reading. Fashion student Harley Grant argues that she wouldn’t spend as much on an online magazine as she would a printed one because she doesn’t like the sense of “hypothetical-property” associated with the Internet (20th October, 2009). So if it is ‘real’ property we’re seeking perhaps the printed magazine is, on some level, simply another inanimate object we collect in order to define our worth on this planet through the acquisition of goods. Another consideration is that the way people read articles on the internet tends to be much quicker and less in depth than print. Shater (2009 [web ref 21]) uses the analogy of reading digital content being like surfing and reading printed content being scuba-diving. He protests ‘why would you want to invest in expensive scuba-gear when you only need a body board?’ This leads us to a further major factor whilst considering the domination of online magazines over printed equivalents. It appears no one is willing to pay as much for online magazines since ‘on the internet, everyone wants information to be free - which makes charging difficult.’ (Sam Mathieson, The Guardian, 22nd Jan 2007, p.9). Losowsky comments that in order to avoid the trap the music and news industries have fallen into in giving away the same product for free online (whether voluntarily or not), future digital magazines need to get their price points sorted from day one [web ref 20].
“PRINTED MAGAZINES WILL NEVER BE OBSOLETE, THEY WILL CONTINUE TO CHANGE AND DEVELOP AND FIND NEW DIRECTIONS ALONGSIDE DIGITAL PUBLISHING. THIS IS A VERY EXCITING TIME FOR INFORMATION AND DESIGN.” Jeremy Leslie Magazine Creative
CONCLUSION Having addressed a spectrum of magazines from vending machines to futuristic tablet formats, I feel it is safe to conclude that the format that is developing at the fastest rate is digital formats. But will this mean the death of print? I think not, because the format which remains the reader’s favourite is the printed page. In the next five to ten years tablet technology is likely to be increasingly appealing to magazine publishers and the technology savvy and the reduced costs and the speed of production and distribution of digital publishing may see more and more magazines go online only. If a magazine wants to compete with the allure of the web then they should emphasize their tactile, printed quality; or as Jeremy Leslie puts it their ‘magazine-y-ness’ [web ref 28]. Ideally this will result in a newsstand filled with beautiful magazines on interesting paper stocks for readers who enjoy print and digital, efficient (paper free) editions for readers who want a quick fix of image and information magazine escapism. Therefore I feel it is safe to say that digital is not the only format of the future and therefore this is not the end of print, but potentially the end of print as we know it.
WEBSITE REFERENCES 1. The International Magazine Symposium (2009) http://www.colophon2011.com/search/ [Accessed 5th November 2009] 2. About Ameliaâ€™s Magazine (2009) http://www.ameliasmagazine.com/aboutamelia-gregory-publisher-photographerwriter/ [Accessed 15th October 2009] 3. Colophon 2009 Part 1 (7mins 14secs 2009), Interview by Andrew Losowsky with Diego Ortiz from La Mas Bella. http://www.youtube. com/watch?v=2N5nChc5nOA&feature=related [Accessed 14th July 2009] 4. Shift: Publications http://www.shift.de/scripts/publications/ [Accessed 2nd November 2009] 5. http://www.visionaireworld.com/index.php [Accessed 2nd November 2009] 6. Visionaire Press (2009) http://www. visionaireworld.com/about.php?press [Accessed 2nd November 2009] 7. http://www.selectism.com/ [Accessed 14th December 2009] 8. http://www.ilovefakemagazine.com/ [Accessed 6th October 2009] 9. http://www.thisisamagazine.com/ [Accessed 14th July 2009] 10. http://www.humus.nu/ [Accessed 6th October] 11. http://www.littlewhitelies.co.uk/themagazine/ [Accessed 6th November 2009]
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20. Losowsky, A. (2009) The revolution to come. http://www.losowsky.com/magtastic/2009/ how-apple-itablet-changes-magazinedistribution/#more-873 [Accessed 16th November 2009] 21. Shafer, J. (2009) The Tablet Hype. http:// www.slate.com/id/2239557/pagenum/all/ [Accessed 15th January 2010] 22. http://magcloud.com/ [Accessed 7th October 2009] 23. Powazeck, D (2008) Introducing MagCloud and the Future of Magazine publishing. http://magazineer.com/ [Accessed 7th October 2009] 24. http://lab.colorsmagazine.com/ teenagers/ [Accessed 10th November 2009] 25. Cameron, A (2009) Ink and paper- holding up. http://blog.eyemagazine.com/?p=345 [Accessed 10th November 2009] 26. Behind the Scenes of Augmented Esquire (2009) http://www.esquire.com/ the-side/feature/augmented-realitytechnology-110909 [Accessed 10th December 2009] 27. Tavi (2009) Blogs vs. magazines http://tavi-thenewgirlintown.blogspot. com/2009/10/blogs-vs-magazines.html [Accessed 28th October 2009] 28. http://magculture.com/blog/ [Accessed 7th October 2009]
Leslie, J. (2003) MagCulture, Laurence King Publishing London
Ameliaâ€™s Magazine Colors Creative Review Esquire (US Edition} GQ (US Edition} Humus I Love Fake La MĂĄs Bella Little White Lies The Manipulator Nice Magazine Nylon Pop Shift! Sleazenation Sports Illustrated This is a magazine Visionaire Wallpaper* Wire Wound
Leslie, J. (2000) Issues: New Magazine Design, Laurence King Publishing London Lososwsky, A. (2007) We Love Magazines, Mike Koedinger, Luxembourg Zappaterra, Y. (2007) Editorial Design, Laurence King Publishing London NEWSPAPERS S. Mathieson, (2007) Why magazine formats are starting to look online. The Guardian, 22nd January 2007. p.9 TALKS Editorial Design Organisation (2009) An Evening with Wallpaper* (Pentagram, London, 29th November 2009) INTERVIEWS All interviews featured conducted via email between Daisy Dudley and mentioned recipient between October 2009 and January 2010.
DAISY DUDLEY JANUARY 2010
Published on Jan 30, 2010