I love magazines. Before I started venturing into the realm of books, I remember pacing around the magazine section of the bookstore. It was a feast for me, those vibrant covers and attention seeking headlines and promises of insider scoop. I would waste the entire day there, losing track of time as my eyes stayed glued to the pages.
As I aged, my interests change and the topics matured. I was once a regular subscriber of PC related magazines, and stashed in the cupboard are old copies of them for me to reminisce over. Now though, hardware and computer don’t really hold my attention as they used to. Filling their void are marketing materials, cultural happenings and design reads.
I like looking at the cover, admire the layout and the beautiful pictures. One thing that really irks me is the distasteful advertisements that run across so many publications. I understand the need for advertisements fee for the print to be sustainable, but it really dilute the experience if they don’t resonate with the readers.
The little details matter. As I slowly come to grasp the importance of legibility and functionality over bells and whistles, I appreciate publications that marry the beauty of design and functionality to craft a enjoyable reading experience.
I’m a fan of Monocle. Their articles are insightful, their reports are thorough but not dry, and their content always provide an interesting coverage on the various events happening throughout the globe. On a long plane trip, I could pick it up and time would fly (literally) as the fascinating articles keep me occupied. Likewise, it’s also a good companion for those shorter bus commute by reading those columns of easy read.
There’s so many reasons to like this publication, and it has progress leaps and bounds, having its own line of merchandise, cafe and radio station. I don’t discriminate against the advertisements in Monocle. It’s a example of ads done right. The pictures, words and the choice of advertisers fit in with the direction and personality of the magazine. They have never stick out like a sore thumb in many other publications. This is to me, a small but essential detail. We want to be sold, to be informed of brands we align with. And many times, monetary incentives have dictated that the publications have some trade-off on its identity and reading pleasure.
As we move towards the digital realm, we read news of established giants downsizing their print publications or altogether axing them out. But this is also a terrific opportunity for others to step in. The niche market is relatively unsaturated and untapped into, especially if we consider the number of quality magazines available in this area. Readers are willing to pay more, in exchange for a more refined experience with careful curation of content, interviews and discoveries. It’s a fine act of balancing the books and gathering sponsorship, but the success of small house publishers prove that there is indeed a silver lining in the grey sky.
I’m keen to explore and discover more print magazines like KINFOLK, Offscreen and Cereal. I shall be picking them up, brew myself a cup of coffee and sit by the window. And the true reading experience will commence.