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Distributing Design Publications Today | DesignNotes by Michael Surtees

Distributing Design Publications Today

Design Business Review_1239875690611

Let’s face it, design magazines are not immune to the collapse of the print industry. Some magazines have already shut down and by this time next year who knows what will be left. Just like most of the old media they were behind the times and haven’t really set up the infrastructure to thrive and deliver content how a lot of people take in their information. What’s interesting to me is that I’ve come recently I’ve come across a number of smart ideas to replace the old idea of what a design magazine used to be. While I can’t rate any of the content because I’m basically just flipping through the publications on screen like a person used to do in their favourite magazine shop, there’s a couple things to note.

When a friend told me about the idea of Design Business Review I was actually quite interested in the concept of it. They’ve tried to create a relevant magazine that combines design as business, something that has been lacking in the craft friendly design magazine world. They’ve excerpted a number of issues to give an understanding of what the entire article is about. If you’re interested you can buy a digital print version for $13 bucks. It’s up to you if you want to print it out or read it on screen. On the editorial side it seems like they’ve played it safe with the content of the first issue—can’t say for sure as I haven’t read it. Hopefully they’ll push out of the name dropping in upcoming issues that I normally expect from regular design magazines. But the main thing to take away is that Print on Demand is here and being put to good use.

It’s Nice That_1239875708171

It's Nice That Issue #1 - a set on Flickr_1239875726204

From the blog of the same name It’s Nice That has upped the ante with what looks like a quality design publication that could kick the butt of the traditional magazine. They’ve taken their passion for showing stuff online and made a quality print version. Again—all I can say is that it “looks like” because I don’t have the actually thing in hand. But what I can see is via Flickr: It’s Nice That Issue #1. If a publication is taking photos like they did, you know their proud and happy to share what they’ve done. The only catch (like all print) is that a person has to order a copy and wait patiently for it to come in the mail. For someone like me who wants things asap once I’ve decided I want something this isn’t an ideal situation. But it’s an interesting contrast to Print on Demand.

FILE MAGAZINE_1239875945044

 FILE MAGAZINE's Photostream_1239875961590

 The FILE - Photography and Graphic Design search. Pool_1239875970657

FILE MAGAZINE looks to be another high quality magazine for the same reasons I mentioned above for It’s Nice That. They’ve also got loving photos of their print version on Flickr: FILE ISSUE 1. But the added community feature of letting people share their own stuff that could be in future magazines is really smart at Flickr Group Pool: FILE – Photography and Graphic Design search. While It’s Nice that can rely on their own content as they’re talking about it online all the time, FILE can keep the door open to finding stuff that they may not have otherwise seen if they stayed within the constraints of what they know. There’s no guarantee that anyone that adds their work to the group will be in an upcoming issue—but it’s a really smart way to find gems.

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  • http://www.selikoffco.com jonathan selikoff

    I just received my issue of Design Business Review yesterday. At the risk of being superficial, have these guys ever heard of a gutter before? Between articles, they have large pull quotes that run across a full spread. Maybe this looks great on the PDF, but when buried halfway into a perfect-bound booklet, the middle is gone, completely unreadable. Similarly, the interior margins are too small for perfect binding. Hopefully they can fix this for the next issue.

    On cursory read, I think it needs to be a little more depth. As much as you dislike the name authors, they do bring people in, myself included. Reading about Pentagram's plans for the recession sounded interesting, but the content was remarkably light and touched on what most people already know about them. I'm still working my way through the issue, so hopefully there's more meat to be found.

    It's issue 001, so I can't be too critical yet. It's a good idea that none of the bigger design magazines – like HOW's business annual – really tackle well. Not having pictures to fall back on is actually a positive here. Let's get some good content.

  • http://designnotes.info/ michaelsurtees

    Well you do know how I feel about lazy design writing that basically relies on a known name to give the story credibility. But your other observations are interesting to me. I was wondering why Design Business Review didn't bother showing any images of the inside text. And yes, I agree a first issue is just that—a place to start.

  • http://www.designdroplets.com Raph

    Michael,
    You mention being able to buy a digital version of Design Business Review….but I can only find a link to purchase a printed version on lulu.com?
    Also love your blog, always lots of interesting posts.

  • litherland

    As I'm sure Michael knows, I tend to agree with him about enlisting stars simply to lend a project credibility. It's a fine line: one becomes “known”, presumably, because one has something to say. But when people are asked to contribute to a project to serve as rainmakers, to draw traffic, it can undercut an effort to start something new. When the usual suspects show up again and again, everywhere, no matter what, things can start to feel brittle and static. It takes work and courage (and a little imagination) to break out of that homogeneity.

    File Magazine looks interesting. The crowdsourcing/flickr aspect of it has a precursor, though, I think: A5, from Tel Aviv, has been employing a similar methodology for a while to good effect. And long before that there was JPG.

  • http://designnotes.info/ michaelsurtees

    I think you might be right about that Raph—I may have been confusing lulu with a different service out there. I'll fix the text above. I think all you can do is buy a hard copy.

  • http://www.ultimatemalesextoy.com/realtouch realtouch

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