Reflections on Ad Club Magazine Day

by Holland-Mark | March 23, 2010

A couple of our folks went to Magazine Day last week (put on, in part, by The Ad Club) to get a better idea of what’s taking shape in the to-be-determined pub world. Keeping up with the changes in this space has been daunting of late, as the magazine industry oscillates between resignation and glee like a bipolar diabetic. It’s important, though, as our clients – including a range of monthly publications, many of which are already preparing to adapt to these burgeoning interfaces – expect us to be on top of the latest and greatest.

There’s no limit to the uncertainty and theorizing about the future of printed media. Newspapers are scrambling to hold value, magazines are trying to predict the manner in which readers will want to engage with their content – even our clients in the education sector are grappling with the value of their print materials. While the questions are many, it seems, at least at Magazine Day, that the optimism about the possibilities imparted by new technologies, namely the tablet, is doing its part to keep the focus on meeting consumers’ needs with relevant, engaging solutions.

Our publication designers shared the optimism, concluding that embracing this new dimensionality of “print” would ultimately lead to more dynamic content, more thoughtful design, and a more strategic approach to design. Here’s what a few of our designers had to say:

“The exciting part for me and my fellow print designers is that designing for the tablet – which can be done within traditional design software – will allow us to create new user experiences that combine the depth and excitement of web graphics with the rich, visual texture of a traditional magazine.

There will be pop-ups, drill-downs, video, multi-layered info graphics, scrolling content, clipping, and so on. The traditional spread will become a playground of information. And the best part is that you choose whether you want to play or just take a good old-fashioned scroll through the content. Oh, and this content, it was said by Chris Anderson of Wired, will become the most measurable content in history.”

Another designer commented:

“What’s even more impressive is how [tablets] manage to keep a tie to their print counterparts, while offering new capabilities such as pop-up boxes, video, and multi-layered explanatory graphics. These additions not only give the reader a broader sense of the topic at hand, but also offer the magazine designer the new challenge of finding the most compelling way of presenting information.

As a print/publication designer for the majority of my career, what I wanted to hear was that print magazines are fine and will continue to be so for years to come. What I didn’t know is that what I would hear was far more exciting and would leave me looking forward to the future of magazines.

VIV Mag Interactive Feature Spread – iPad Demo from Alexx Henry on Vimeo.

We’re of course curious as to what this all means for the future of what we used to call “an ad.” So what do you think?

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