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Good Stuff

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After reading this month’s issue of Metropolis from cover to cover (yes, in paper!), I have to say it is probably the magazine’s best yet. From the inspiring essays (John Hockenberry, Bruce Sterling and Deyan Sudjic) to Paul Makovsky’s interview with the always enigmatic Jasper Morrison, Peter Hall’s re-visitation of MoMA’s Good Design programme or Karrie Jacobs’ atmospheric review of the Kindle, this is just an extraordinary example of what magazine can and should be: an informed, topical and enlightened take on the world. It’s only a shame Metropolis keeps putting ads on odd pages… The result is a fractured, messy read. Considering pretty much all its content is available for free online, I would like to see the physical reading experience improved. We, its dedicated printed version readers, deserve it.

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Written by Frederico Duarte

March 23, 2009 at 4:20 am

Posted in magazines

There’s always a silver lining

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A magazine art director friend of mine recently posted on his Facebook profile a great article by Gabriel Sherman. Sherman is a contributing editor at New York magazine and a special correspondent to the New Republic, and in Slate‘s The Big Money he writes how this may be a tough time for magazines, but that it is also an opportunity to take a step back and look at what is really important. His spot-on analysis of the issues involved in the print publications crisis includes these two remarkable sentences, with which I totally agree.

It’s not that magazines are dying; it’s that magazines that were created solely for advertising or market-share purposes are. New magazine titles often fail from a combination of bad timing, bad thinking, and a bad choice of brands to extend. Put simply, there are too many mediocre magazines (as anyone who gazes at the newsstand at Barnes and Nobles would conclude).

In this new media age, people talk about the importance of transforming readers into “communities.” Magazines have never had a community problem. Great magazines have built enduring relationships with their readers that Facebook and Tumblr still aspire to. But in a race to grow their businesses, publishers put advertising first and editorial excellence second.

Written by Frederico Duarte

March 23, 2009 at 4:00 am

Posted in magazines

ARENA lost its niche.

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I heard Arena Magazine folded from Tyler Brûlé, during his Monocle Weekly radioshow – which I downloaded as a podcast on iTunes and played back from my Nokia cellphone on the subway. Robert Bound, Monocle’s culture editor, mentioned in the show Arena had “lost its niche” and that had been ignoring its rich graphic heritage (it was initially designed by Neville Brody) to adopt a more Internet-like style. Having heard that, I’ve been wondering: when does a magazine end and when does a multimedia communication and brand platform (such as Monocle, which apart from its monthly printed volume is also video content-rich website, a radio show, a product line and a shop in Central London) begin?

Written by Frederico Duarte

March 13, 2009 at 5:49 am

Posted in magazines