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REVIEW PART ONE: Design Mind from Frog Design | DesignNotes by Michael Surtees

REVIEW PART ONE: Design Mind from Frog Design

designmind frogdesign Numbers - Issue 08

designmind.frogdesign.com/articles/numbers Numbers - Issue 08

If you’ve spent any amount of time on your favourite design blogs lately, you’ve probably read a post or two mentioning the latest issue of Design Minds from Frog Design. Typically the blog post will point to the Design Mind’s website. Number 8 is the first print version while the previous seven issues have just been on the web. I could be mistaken but I’m suspecting this issue has received a lot of attention because it became a print magazine. But isn’t print dying? While I have been thinking about that question for some time – it became a bit more tangible after I received the actual print copy from Mai who is spending the summer at Frog in San Francisco. A couple days before that she sent me a message asking if I would be interested in a copy (more info about getting your own copy HERE), and of course I said yes! Back to the question at hand for me. For the first part of my design career I spent one foot on the print side while the other foot on the digital side. For the last two years almost all the design that I’ve designed has been displayed on a screen of some sort. Having the nicely designed magazine in hand I thought it would be interesting to talk about the print and website in parallel and to see what I could learn from it.

This review is more about the function of each medium as opposed to the actual content – that post will come at a later date. As ugly and frustrating as many websites can be, the reach to people is hard to ignore. For example if I were to send any of my content from DesignNotes to a person via print it would be an enormous expense. The same content on the blog can be published fast and reach a world wide audience very inexpensively. The drawback is that I’m somewhat unhappy w/ the design template (expect a redesign). It’s also hard for me not to focus more on the communication side of the web since people can add comments. The advantage that print carries is that it’s tangible and typically tells a story in an understandable linear narrative while a site is more of a grab bag of content that expects the person to understand what they want to get from the site.

So w/ Design Minds – what’s better, the magazine or site? The cop out response is that it depends on what you’re looking for. If the content was just a magazine with out digital presence, a lot fewer people would have known about it. If the content was just like the other seven issues that were just digital – some people would have covered and read it. But maybe w/ slightly less attention. It’s really a circular argument that ends w/ the response of it depends.

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Numbers - Issue 08 | design mind_1217499339629

On the functional side I pulled a couple examples to look at. The first is the table of contents and how each is represented in it’s format. For me the website does a slightly better job because each article is reflected w/ an image of the content while the reader is expected to read or skim the print version via words. You also only need to click once while the fingers need to flip through – not a big deal of course.

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The second example is a bit of a surprise on who does a better job. It’s a city guide – in this example it happens to be San Francisco. Between the listings and potential for interactivity the web site should have been better. But it was just a listing w/ no links or visual map to show distance between each of the locations. The printed version on the other hand has a pretty simple map that shows where everything is.

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Erik Spiekermann | design mind_1217499581461

In the final example that I’ll mention I compare one of the main stories w/ Erik Spiekermann. An obvious question is if you’re going to spend ten quality minutes reading the above article what’s your choice going to be? Almost everyone is going to pick the magazine for both the tangibles and intangibles. You can hold it, and to some degree have the luxury of reading something not on screen. But what would be faster? I find that I can read something two or three times faster on screen, plus if I have a point to make – I can post a comment. It all comes down to a person’s preference and what is important to them. Of course this review didn’t mention content too much. Like I mentioned previously that will come once I’ve spent some quality time with the magazine.

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DESIGN MINDS ISSUES I TO VIII
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Early Articles – Issue 0
http://designmind.frogdesign.com/articles/early-articles

Fall – Issue 01
http://designmind.frogdesign.com/articles/fall

Winter – Issue 02
http://designmind.frogdesign.com/articles/winter

Spring – Issue 03
http://designmind.frogdesign.com/articles/spring

Summer – Issue 04
http://designmind.frogdesign.com/articles/summer

Green – Issue 05
http://designmind.frogdesign.com/articles/green

Identity – Issue 06
http://designmind.frogdesign.com/articles/identity

Health – Issue 07
http://designmind.frogdesign.com/articles/health

Numbers – Issue 08
http://designmind.frogdesign.com/articles/numbers
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Read REVIEW PART TWO: Design Mind from Frog Design (Issue 08, Numbers): Design Mind from Frog Design at http://designnotes.info/?p=1486
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  • Chelsea Holden Baker

    Hi Michael,

    wow, thanks so much for showing us our own work in a new light. We're in the midst of the follow-up issue right now, so we're hungry for analysis. This is really the first comparison of print-to-web that we've had (even internally). So this was a great read. (It was also just rad to see the magazine displayed like that.)

    If you're curious about the decision to go into print in the first place, check out Tim Leberecht's blog post here: http://designmind.frogdesign.com/blog/design-mi

    With admiration and appreciation,

    Chelsea Holden Baker, design mind editor

  • http://designnotes.info/ michaelsurtees

    HI Chelsea –

    Thanks for the feedback on the feedback. While hopefully I'm not jumping the gun too fast as I haven't read the entire issue yet, what I appreciated about the content so far was that it didn't come across as just a marketing brochure for Frog but as content that any designer could get something out of.

    Looking forward to what comes next,

    m

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    interested with it… thankyou so much…San Francisco web development

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