The Covers of the Century – UK Edition

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A quick heads-up about a cool thing going down on the other side of the pond: The Professional Publishers Association, a UK-based publication organization, is hosting a “Cover of the Century” competition.

The PPA has chosen ten finalists for the competition, including covers from Vogue, Cosmopolitan, MacUser (what?) and TimeOut London.

For us Yankee users, some of these magazine covers might seem odd. (Wait, did I just call magazine readers “users?”)

Still, some of these covers are pretty awesome. From a cover featuring Darth Vader that plays audio of his iconic breathing to a photo of Kate Moss looking casual in the Crown Jewels, you’ll be entertained.

Go visit and cast your vote.

 

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Why I Paid for the Adobe Creative Cloud: A Manifesto

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So if you aren’t up to speed on the Adobe Creative Cloud software, read this blog post and educate yo’self. This is not a review, this is a manifesto.

I did it. I just subscribed to the Adobe Creative Cloud, and as I type this, I’m downloading Illustrator and Photoshop.

For what I have done, computer gurus and broke graphic designers everywhere will scoff and criticize me. They will turn their nose up at me and say:

“Why pay for Adobe when you can torrent it for free?”

"Yeah, why?" *heavy mouth breathing*

“Yeah, why?” *heavy mouth breathing*

Indeed, their question is relevant. Why would I, an already struggling college student, voluntarily choose to pay for software? Out of the people I know who use Adobe, literally all of them have pirated versions.

So yes, why would I choose to pay for Adobe?

I didn’t do it just because I wanted the best design software on the market, I did it because I stand for something. Below I justify my decision.

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Someday, I want to be paid for what I create. A few years ago, I used to sell class notes online through a now-defunct service, and I was actually making some money. It helped defer my living fees and relax a bit – students who didn’t attend class could buy the study guides I made. For the final exam, I spent hours creating a 15-page guide and sold them online for $3, advertising them through emails to classmates.

The day after I put the study guide online, a guy bought it, attached it to an email, and sent it out to everyone in our 400-person class. The email said:

“Some douchebag is trying to charge us for notes, so you’ll find them attached.”

Good Guy Greg?

Good Guy Greg?

I was crushed. I made no money off that final study guide. Upset, I emailed him and attempted to explain his wrongdoing, but he didn’t care. He held me responsible, saying I was trying to “screw over the class for money.”
It was after that I realized: this is how artists must feel when they see their music pirated. After that I swore off pirating music – now I use Spotify to get all my music and stay legal. I do the same with my software.

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I respect Adobe. Adobe has been in the game a long time, and there’s a reason they’re the best – they work hard. For their intense influence on the business (and my own work) I have the utmost respect. To continue to produce their software regularly with a relatively lax approach to internet pirates is impressive and admirable. I’m glad to see they’ve finally taken a step and offered financially-challenged people a hand.

I want to obey the law. More and more of our lives are spent online, and the lines between our corporeal identities and our digital ones are blurring. In that respect, we are becoming more transparent thanks to the internet. I will not steal something on the internet – soon, it will have the same impact as theft in real life.
Yeah, laugh at me. But see what happens after you download that last season of Breaking Bad and your Internet Service Provider knocks on your door with a subpoena. I think you’ll change your tune.

I believe in a respectful internet economy. Since Napster took off in the 90s, the internet has been a hive of illicit software trading, from music to movies and the aforementioned Adobe software. The people who share these files think nothing of the original creators, the true heroes who wrote songs, filmed movies, developed software. Sharing files adds a sense of rebellion, of refusal to participate in the Fat Cat’s scheme – I know, I’ve felt it. Adobe software typically costs thousands of dollars – beating the system and getting them for free wasn’t just a rush, it was practical.

But times have changed. The rampant downloading of illegal software has caused corporations to crack down on downloading. One only needs to look at SOPA and CISPA to see that the entertainment industry’s copyright lobby is hard at work in Washington. Thus we’ve created a warring dichotomy – the torrenters keep finding new ways to hide themselves and share their files, and the corporations are battling to shut down the free internet almost entirely.
But I believe in something different. I believe in an internet where, out of respect for the creators, people pay for software, music and entertainment. It’s not that they can’t pirate something – it’s that they don’t want to. The future internet purchaser understands how much time it took to develop software, film a movie, or create a piece of art. They empathize with the creators because they too probably create and sell things it online.

If the internet was full of more people like this who respect the law and respect the economy, the dichotomy between copyright warriors and renegade torrenters wouldn’t exist, and the free-internet-dissolving talks of industry leaders wouldn’t be happening.

I believe in a future where we can trade information freely and pay respectfully for the hard work of others. Is that a reason to criticize me?

/endrant.

Signed,
Bryan Bumgardner
A happy Adobe customer

Game of Thrones and Flipboard

Here on &DESIGN I’m all about redefining the term “magazine” – it’s not just print exclusive anymore. So imagine my satisfaction when I heard this news: Flipboard, the digital media curator app that calls itself a magazine, released two new totally custom magazines, one of which is devoted to Game of Thrones.

Mandatory Khaleesi.

Mandatory Khaleesi.

I’ll focus on the Game of Thrones magazine for this post. Titled “The World of Ice and Fire,” it’s being officially run by the GoT fan site Westeros.org and is being promoted by Random House Publishing.

I guess the whole thing is just a huge nerd-out place for everyone who is a fan of George R.R. Martin’s work, the author of GoT. It looks like the articles are going to focus on news surrounding Martin’s work.

Remember all that preaching I’ve been doing about magazine branding? It’s more relevant now than ever, considering people are starting to fill their lives with echo chambers of internet media. If you want to connect with readers, you have to offer them something they can’t get somewhere else and offer it in a way that makes them feel like part of a community. Hell, look at this Flipboard Magazine – these people had a brand and community and no magazine representing them, so it popped up all on it’s own.

And oh yeah – Flipboard says users have created over 2 million of these unique magazines. Looks like the print people are going to have to get serious, and soon – winter is coming.

Eddard_Stark

 

Adobe Cloud: The future standard for designers?

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Although I touched on this in a previous article, I thought it deserved a post all on it’s own.

Adobe, the company responsible for developing the software that is used almost universally across the print publishing business, has undergone a pretty dramatic change, and not everybody is happy about it.

In a bold move, Adobe has shifted it’s membership plan to a subscription service, meaning customers can now pay monthly fees for software access rather than a one-time payment.

Software like Photoshop and InDesign, recognizable names in the Adobe Master Suite, are now being offered through the Creative Cloud. No longer will you be able to buy an Adobe disk in a store – everything is subscription only.

This is a big deal for everyone in the publishing business, from huge corporate customers to independent designers. Number one, because the Cloud could allow for groundbreaking innovation on the corporate level. Number two, because Photoshop is so expensive, an estimated 60 percent of all Photoshop users are using pirated software, which thanks to the Cloud, has become more affordable.

So can this software take off? Adobe seems to think so, and the numbers support them: profit is going up even as designers across the internet complain, with more than 40,000 signing a Change.org petition to end the subscription service. 

So why does this matter? Think crowdsourcing.

Just as print media has become more collective through the use of mobile media, with Adobe’s switch to cheaper cloud software, more people will have access to cutting-edge graphic design technology. All the pirates will finally be able to drop their ancient copy of CS2 and grab the new stuff, which I predict will change the design landscape a bit.

Consider it: for cheaper, universities and small design collectives will be able to pick up this software, and as we’ve seen with the cameras on cellphones, the more people who have technology, the more previously-untapped talent that comes forward.

I’m wary of difficulties, however. Here are some of my biggest concerns from a designer’s standpoint.

Will the frequency of upgrades increase with this service? A few hours of unannounced upgrade down-time can put even the biggest magazine’s daily flow into a tailspin. If there are going to be more upgrades, they need to be announced and easy to install.

Will third party extensions and plugins still work with the cloud Suite? These extensions connect the dots for designers, often being an integral part of the workflow. The humble BPelt plugin is a massive favorite among web graphic designers and cartoonists. Take things like BPelt off the table and you’ll lose customers.

Will anyone even buy Creative Cloud? Its already been pirated, yo ho ho. But I think this is missing the point. It’s never going to stop the hardcore hackers who download everything, but it’s going to probably sway the casual torrenter to think about going legit.

I hope as more people subscribe we start to see less knee-jerk opinions and more critical thought about this upgrade. In the meantime I’ll continue to enjoy my university’s CS6 subscription.

 

When logos go flat: search engine edition

Whether or not you like it, flat design is here. Regardless of the actual merits of flat design, it’s spreading across all digital platforms, most recently in iOS7, which everyone is raving about.

In an interesting development, three of the three biggest internet search engines have switched their logos to reflect an increased emphasis on flat design, marking a societal shift in web design. When the three biggest names on the web – Google, Microsoft and Yahoo – all change their design to reflect a certain aesthetic, you should probably pay attention.

The Google Tossup

Search giant Google has finally unveiled their new logo, and as you can see, the difference is just slight.

New Logo.

New Logo.

Old Logo.

Old Logo.

Google has finally gotten on the flat train! Granted, you can’t say this was a last-minute reaction to the flat design trend – Google has been using this logo internally for a while. The old logo will be phased out on the website over the next few weeks.

The reason for the change? To make the logo fit with the current design interface, as they told CreativeBloq.

And as luck would have it, a major competitor went flat in the same week.

Bing Gets a Facelift

Bing, Microsoft’s original search engine, hasn’t made a whole lot of waves in the digital world. Basically, it’s hard to compete with a search company so powerful their name has become a verb meaning “to web search.” Nice work Google.

Statistics be damned – Microsoft hasn’t given up yet. Behold the change from the old logo (bottom) to the new flat design (top.)

ea0055f7-512f-4dde-a571-0b41b178b9a6_BingOldNewIt reportedly took them a year to develop that logo. Riiiiight.

Yahoo Stumbles Again 

Oh Yahoo. You’re so funny. The technorati can’t take you seriously, even after Marissa Mayer signed on as CEO and started flipping stuff around. Even buying Tumblr isn’t going to make you hip.

And yet, you still come out with a new logo. Bonus points for trying, but… You didn’t get the flat design part right.

The top one is the new logo, and the bottom one is the old.

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Wait.., you left from flat to something weirder? Come on! Even one of your interns designed a logo, and it kept closer to the world standard for design trends than what you chose!

In fact, the following creation, designed by Yahoo! intern Brad Ehney, was so popular people thought it was the actual logo. 

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Here’s the bottom line: if the world’s biggest tech giants, who drive billions of hits of traffic everyday, are considering a graphical redesign, magazine publishers should as well. If the objective is to secure readers to a brand, then the brand needs to have a digital presence that looks, feels and operates similar to the user’s most-used applications.

Unequivocally, these apps are designed by Google, Microsoft and the like. So if magazines want to drive web traffic, they need to step up. Forget partnerships with Sony – get yourself some web devs from Google.

Blurred Lines: Imaging Edge

Addendum: A general failure to properly apply post scheduling has resulted in three posts today. So enjoy!

So as you may know, print journalism is having a mid-life crisis: as print readership starts to decline, so does revenue. As a result, some magazines have been changing up their advertising game. From Buzzfeed’s native advertising to fashion magazines’ selling the goods they review, everybody’s looking to make a quick buck.

The downside: the lines are blurred between editorial and advertising content, making it harder for a reader to distinguish between the two. One could argue magazines are leveraging their readers’ trust in order to make money – knowing your readers will engage with a certain topic is a very powerful bargaining chip during advertising deals.

And the lines keep blurring. Case in point: Imaging Edge, a new magazine launched last week by Bonnier.

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Imaging Edge is a photography magazine. Put together by a hybrid team from American Photography and Pop Photo, it’s hitting the ground running with an Android-ready tablet issue and a handful of special subscriber-only events.

There’s just one catch: the whole thing is funded by a “partnership with Sony Corporation.”

As you may know, Sony is one of the biggest digital camera retailers on the planet. Suddenly, this beautiful young magazine looks very suspicious.

Do you trust a magazine produced by a retailer who isn’t concerned with bias? Would you respect a publishing company that works so closely with the corporations they’re supposed to cover? Is this not an underhanded advertising strategy?

Let’s think this out before we draw conclusions.

A partnership with a retailer suggests the possibility of biased reporting. Naturally, a publisher paying enough money to make their relationship a “partnership” isn’t going to stand for any reporting that runs contrary to the corporation’s interests. That being said, all the ads on the magazine’s website are for Sony cameras. And look at that first post in the screenshot below: not a word about an explicit focus on Sony equipment.

sfdfdfdfd“State of the art technology” made by your friends at Sony, of course. This makes me feel like I’m being fooled.

The magazine and the website are gorgeous and work perfectly.  Unfortunately, this is probably a byproduct of Sony’s funding. It’s clean and representative of a standard digital design aesthetic, with awesome Sans Serifs and great photography. Another interesting aspect is the focus on individual photographers’ work. Throughout the magazine, certain excellent photographers are labeled as “Sony Artisans of Imagery,” who are of course using Sony equipment. It’s like a micro version of the celebrity endorsement advertising strategy.

But still, I’m wooed by a pretty face. Here’s a shot of a photo gallery on the site.

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Do we even really care if our magazines blur the lines? It’s pretty obvious that broadcast media has sold it’s soul for ratings, and yet people still watch. In fact, they don’t just watch – some build their decisions around what they see.

So Imaging Edge begs some questions. Do we even care if Sony is influencing this magazine? Will anyone read it anyway? As these lines start to blur, what have we become as consumers? What have magazines become? Magazines never had the same explicit advertising/editorial split seen in newspapers.

In fact, perhaps this magazine isn’t unique in it’s relationship with retailers – maybe magazines have been in bed with retailers all along, and we’re okay with it.

good-housekeeping-seal

Just some food for thought.

Instagram’s Fetish for Fashion Week

Anybody with any sort of journalism experience knows that mobile, crowdsourced, and pro-am reporting is becoming more important than ever.

But, just like always, nobody talks about how mobile reporting is tossing up the magazine world. This year, mobile proved to be a valuable asset for magazines at one world-renowned and utterly fabulous event: New York Fashion Week.

Fashion Week or NYFW (#NYFW) is singlehandedly the most important event of the year for fashion magazines, especially those based in New York. It happened the week of September 9 this year. For those of you who aren’t aware of Fashion Week, you probably should be: for one week each year, all of the world’s most famous fashion designers come together in New York for a week of runway shows, gorgeous models, self-indulgent parties and rabid-live blogging. The main purpose is to show off all new lines of ultra-expensive clothing, just in time for the new fall season. Everybody shows up, including celebrities, designers and models.

And how.

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It’s so important for magazines that several devoted special issues to Fashion Week, often with several hundred pages. This guy even dropped acid and attended a runway show in the name of journalism (sort of.)

Like I mentioned in a previous post, branding is a deeply important aspect of magazines. In the industry, tight budgets are demanding a tighter grip on the audience, and several magazines have nailed it perfectly with this frickin’-sweet app you might know: Instagram.

By having a constant, intense feed of photos that expand beyond selfies, several magazines turned their Instagram accounts into mobile traffic drivers that reflect the visual style of their own brand. Check out some of these shots:

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Click on any one of those photos and look at how many people have interacted with them.

It’s complete genius. Look at Instagram by the numbers.
-There are 58 photos uploaded every second.
-Instagram gains one new user every second.
-Growth is spiking and hasn’t plateaued.
-Instagram hit 100 million users in two years. It took Twitter and Tumblr five years to get that many.
-Of Instagram users, 53 percent are female. If you ask me, that statistic is way convoluted. I only know like two other guys with a ‘Gramz.

So what better way to hit millions of girls and women who want to attend fashion week than give them a feed straight to their phone? Also, you can interact directly with the designers who obviously have Instagram and a buttload of dedicated followers. It’s a beautiful photographical social media orgy that magazines are definitely enjoying. 

Check out these great feeds from ElleVogue, and Mercedes Benz. Addenum, 10/1: Here’s a story from MPA about publishers and Instagram. 

Plus, being the reporter assigned to “Instagram all of Fashion Week” can’t be so bad, right? After all, you might meet Pharrell. (read: “dream job.”)

pharrell

Vintage Power: The New Yorker Redesign

And so this is the first of a potential recurring series of blogs about magazine redesigns.

Today we’ll be talking about The New Yorker, one of the most iconic names in magazine publishing. This household name has been setting the standard for New York-based magazines for 88 years, with it’s uniquely recognizable artwork, tongue-in-cheek comics, pithy restaurant reviews, and brutally timely, satirical cover artwork. I mean, look at it:

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This magazine is quintessential New York. So, when I heard they were redesigning it, I became concerned. The sheer power of this magazine comes partly from it’s brand, it’s visual aesthetic, which has barely changed for decades. I was expecting a total rehash: bold, sans serif fonts, crazy modern photography, stuff more in line with the trends of newer magazines. Hey, if it can work for Bloomberg Businessweek, why not?

I legitimately expected The New Yorker to totally rework their aesthetic, which in my opinion would have alienated a very passionate audience and crapped all over a powerful, unique visual brand.

Also, going to their offices when I was in New York and meeting with the editors was a total blast.  #humblebrag. Click the link for a blog I wrote while I was there.

But anyway, I saw this video which chilled me out a lot – and made me notice something interesting.

Click here because WordPress won’t let anyone but Youtube embed videos.

The majority of the work The New Yorker is doing on the magazine isn’t modernization – it’s taking the magazine back to a vintage feel reminiscent of past issues. I think this is a good thing.

The state of the magazine industry isn’t too positive: while readership is staying steady, advertisers are jumping ship, terrified by the doomsday prophecies cast by newspaper publishers, most of which are fat lies. Standard journalism – cynical and pessimistic.

What’s important right now is holding readers, and the best way to do that is to differentiate yourself as a brand. The New Yorker has a super powerful brand – I think this face is recognizable to anyone in the magazine business.

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So their plan is genius: by bringing The New Yorker even closer to it’s original art aesthetic, they’re magnifying their vintage brand. While other people are looking to establish a modern-looking presence, The New Yorker is exploiting what made it so popular in the first place. We can see some similar redesigns in Vanity Fair, where they hark back to a historical golden age of magazines.

Looks good on you, New Yorker.

Jeff Darcy

Jeff Darcy

Beautiful fashion, ugly web design

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So I know we talked about the fabulous V Magazine just a few weeks ago, but I had to bring it back.

V Magazine, the gorgeous large-format fashion magazine that caught my design fancy, has broken my heart.

Click here to visit their website and see why. Don’t just visit the page, click around a few links and try to read some stories.

You may have noticed that V Magazine’s web layout is a bit… odd.

I’ll take it further than that. I believe this website falls short of V Magazine’s dynamic print presence, and is a disappointing step in the wrong direction. They need to seriously reconsider what’s happening here – their innovation may have been misplaced.

Here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The Good

Before I tear into this website’s design, I want to highlight what’s positive. First of all, it’s good to see a magazine invest time into a seriously unique web presence.  Too many magazine companies are settling for cookie-cutter websites. While familiar, they lack the same sort of artistic depth one has in print. I can understand why V wants to escape that trap – V stands out on the rack with it’s larger-than-standard printing, why shouldn’t it stand out on the web? Here’s the result: a landing home page that’s fluid, colorful, and highlights the photography that drives V.

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If you visited the site, you know what I mean. The photo tile homepage is interactive, and the images react with negative-space text when you scroll over them. The swipe bars at the top left are my fave. They switch back and forth between V and it’s underrepresented VMan magazine.
other

For real, I think this is a great idea. This landing page is really powerful for a fashion magazine, and I’m really impressed with it. V deserves something this unique. However, when one leaves the landing page, things start to get sour.

The Bad

After a viewer is so pleasantly wowed and visually stimulated by the gorgeous home page, one would be inclined to click one of the picture links in order to read a story. Perhaps one wants to explore a photo gallery. Maybe one wants to peruse some of V’s archive photos.

Clicking on one of the photos takes the reader to a layout that probably looks something like this:

what

Like wait, what? I thought I clicked on a story. What is this? How do I scroll down? How do I go back?

Where are the other photos? If I use my keypad to scroll down, I can only see one. I’m lost and scared!

You may have experienced some of these feelings if you explored the site. This is where I start getting concerned.

Once again, V has tried to reinvent the wheel with their story pages, but this misses the mark really badly. A quick breakdown of why this tragic part of the site falls apart:

The interface – no website should have a learning curve. The navigational tools on these pages are counter intuitive and unnatural. Clicking on an image takes the user to a new, in-window dialog box… where the photo is the same exact size. Why!?

Lack of clarity – the UX falls far short of the glory of the homepage. A user doesn’t know where to go (or where to look) next, due to the lack of any familiar landmarks (scrollbars, back buttons, banner ads.) The more of this you have, the more people are likely to say “screw it” and leave, myself included.

The bells and whistles – the cursor becomes a plus sign on the photos. It turns 45 degrees to the right when you click on a photo. I can share every photo on every social website imaginable, but some of the navigation bar on the left is naturally cut off by the coding. If the basics don’t even work, why spend so much time coding stupid stuff that adds nothing to the UX? Like my dad says: don’t put lipstick on a pig.

If you don’t believe me, go to the site and click around a bit. You’ll start to notice…

The Ugly

Listen, if anyone from V is reading this, I want you to know I think your magazine is great. I like what you’ve done with your web presence, trying to mix it up in a cookie-cutter world. But the fact is this: your website is a teeny bit broken. And broken is ugly.

Here’s the worst parts.

The Responsive Design – Nice try with the 4-stage layout. Looks good on a tablet. Too bad any attempt to read it on a tablet is marred by the same redonkulous interactivity issues I faced on my laptop. In making your website responsive, you gave us 4 different ways to interact with your pages. That’s rough considering people don’t like to think when they try to browse.

The Code – The website invites you to navigate using the keyboard, and if you only use the keyboard, you’ll be fine. But if you attempt to use the mouse to scroll, you encounter a glitch and the website gets stuck.

It seems that the navigation bar on the left side is cut by the size limitations of the site, meaning you have headlines and links that aren’t visible thanks to a simple error.

Sure, the social media sharing tools work, but photos are awkwardly placed at times, and they don’t react well to the responsive design.

These are all problems with your code, and they’ve made me cry openly in the basement of the library. Look what you did, V – look what you did.

The Verdict

V, I don’t want to give up on you. The ideas with this site are solid, and you are an innovator. However, now is the time to step backward and analyze your UX: are you achieving your goals?

I think you best have a long, hard chat with Weird Science Studios, the hooligans who made your site. You’re either paying them too much or not paying them enough.

And if you’re from Weird Science, I’m calling you out! Stop taking advantage of my poor V Magazine and fix their website!

Anyway, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and innovation doesn’t come overnight. I think V did something bold here and deserves to be respected for it – even if it does fall short sometimes.

G-Dragon is a badass – just like Complex Mag

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Okay stop – before you continue, click the link to read this story about G-Dragon, the Korean pop superstar slash up-and-coming fashion icon, written and produced for Complex magazine. Make sure you read it all. Protip: use the arrow keys to scroll down, and release when the scrolling temporarily stops.

Tell me: are you not entertained?

It seems that Complex Mag, the brainchild of fashion entrepreneur Marc Ecko, is trying it’s hand at some dynamic, immersive digital publishing. Internally, they’re calling this project “Future,” according to Digidaily. This intensely visual publishing platform is allegedly set up to handle at least one unique story a week, and they’re using this story of G-Dragon as their prototype.

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I’ll tell you the truth: I’m madly in love with this story. The visuals, the text, the photos, the interactive elements, the GIFs, the color palette, everything. Funny thing about love, though – only fools rush in. 

Therefore, I’m going to break down why I believe Complex has stepped out as a potential digital magazine leader with “Future” – if not in subscription numbers, in content production.

1. The interface

Complex is not the first to implement this “while-you-scroll” interactive layout design. Arguably the most publicized is the New York Times “Snow Fall” feature, and Pitchfork ‘s sporadic Cover Features are similarly coded. However, Complex is building on the weaknesses of it’s predecessors: Snow Fall took 6 months and (allegedly) than $1 million to make, and Pitchfork’s productions are all uniquely coded, meaning they’re usually released months apart.

Plus, it gets worse: Snow Fall, a huge 11-person project, was reproduced in less than an hour by a single tech developer, much to the NYT’s chagrin. And Pitchfork is full of hipsters – ew.

Here’s why Complex is doing it right: it’s simple.

The interface isn’t a unique design, nor is it a pile of unintelligible code. Although the images, text and video may have taken lots of work, the animation is simple while immersive. The source code is relatively short, the GIFs easy to make, and the animations straightforward. The transitions in this work are a little less… flamboyant than some of the Pitchfork pieces. 

Image

Speaking of flamboyant. G-Dragon in Vogue, 2009

“Future” is designed as a platform, a template that promotes creativity but allows for fast turnaround. The framework was designed over a period of three months and is easily customizable, according to Complex CEO Rich Antoniello.

Hmm, it sounds like this platform was designed for…

2. The rapid ability to produce stories

The best part about this initiative? It’s not a gimmick. Antoniello boasted that Complex will be publishing “1-2” of these features a week, which craps all over NYT’s and Pitchforks special editions. Complex is making this a consistent form of publishing, which is a step towards raising the bar on digital print media. No longer can you just regurgitate print stories on a webpage and let it fly – if this initiative takes off for Complex, you’ll see everyone rushing to keep up. And finally…

3. Future’s shortcomings are superficial

Sure, the design doesn’t include music (which would have been instrumental in G-Dragon’s story) and it doesn’t have videos, but Antoniello assured these features are incoming. This only leaves one big problem: the website isn’t adapted for mobile. Could you imagine seeing this on an iPad? There’s no way this hasn’t been discussed in the Complex developer office.

Still, my hopes are high for Complex. I’m genuinely impressed by this step forward from a relatively average-circulation magazine, and I think we’ll be seeing big things from them in the future.

In the meantime, I’ll spend my time trying to comprehend G-Dragon’s fashion sense.

Vogue, 2009

Vogue, 2009