The pleasures and possibilities of getting lost

Magazine design Hole & Corner magazine

There’s been some resonant coverage in the national newspapers recently about print publications. The Guardian posted a gallery of beautiful magazines setting out to prove print isn’t dead and considers the resurrection of the magazine in the digital age:

These magazines are…a result of the possibilities offered by the new technology that was supposed to kill print culture – they sell and distribute online, they crowdfund, they invent their own business models on the hoof.

We’re really proud to have been involved in some such crowd-funded and community-driven projects like The Peckham Peculiar My Favo(u)rite Magazine and Revealing Craft (to name just a recent few) – all of which have used the intersection of physical and digital to create something quite special. Print succeeds today in novel and unexpected ways, evidenced by exciting (and now full-time!) enterprises like Stack Magazines, a brilliant subscription service that posts you a different independent magazine every month. Buying a magazine or newspaper isn’t just about getting the news, it’s also a chance to experiment and discover something new – a way of bringing people and ideas together and creating something to be turned over and read again, not thrown away at the end of the day.

Not driven by celebrity or publicists’ schedules, the curated storytelling, often around a single theme, is closer to the storytelling of novels – they’re narrative journeys of ideas, pictures and activities…they offer the pleasures and possibilities of getting lost.

We’ve seen all sorts of orders go though the presses since we started Newspaper Club, and still so many surprise us. We’re looking forward to seeing what happens as we continue to develop the The Newsagent to help you find, and get lost in, some really brilliant newspapers.

Posted by Sarah | Comments (1)

Filed under: news

1 Comment

  1. Thu, 27 Feb 2014 at 11:32 am
    Tim Milne Permalink

    It’s curious that the debate around the future of print is surfacing now — my company, ARTOMATIC championed the idea that digital-will-create-a-new-value-for-printed-matter over 15 years ago when the digital future first crystallised. Much of what we predicted: nicer books, collector editions, explosion in screen-printing and letterpress, more sumptuous packaging and theatrical retail has all come to pass. However, I believe the long-term sustainability for magazines (and newspapers) is less resolved.

    The original utility of print — to distribute information — is redundant. Printing, since its medieval invention has always been a vehicle for content and that’s now cheaper and faster via digital channels. The long-term sustainability for print, in any form, is only ever going to lie in its physicality (e.g packaging, because you can’t wrap food in bytes). Is it better to have a physical thing than a digital (representation of a) thing?

    Magazines haven’t yet answered this yet. The plethora of niche titles isn’t anything new, it’s what magazines have always done—find obscure topics and audiences who like them. Their value-as-an-object isn’t really exploited in the way it is with luscious hard-back books or limited edition music packaging — of course, their choices are limited to mat laminating and some foil block to the cover — but, while their publishers continue to believe their value lies in their written and pictorial content, they’re going to have an uncertain future.

    Magazines are physical objects with which we have a strong emotional relationship — the allure of their physicality makes us want to own them and keep them; that’s why we buy them rather than find the content online (which is out there, so it can only be that). If their publishers want a brighter future, they should think about how to make more of that — make them more desirable objects — and not kid themselves it’s about the content.

    If you want to see the ultimate expression of that idea, CONTAINER is a magazine made of objects (apologies for the plug, but it was created to explore this idea).

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This is a post by Sarah from the Newspaper Club Blog. Filed under news.

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