Dots or Pixels? An Interview With Adobe

Last year I was interviewed by Adobe for their digital magazine MyExpression. Here is a copy of the article for you.

Dots or pixels? Why not both? Publishers must embrace both print and digital editions to keep their mastheads strong, says Publishers Australia GM Matthew Green.

Magazines—whether niche or for the masses—lie firmly in the hearts and minds of designers and consumers. But magazines, like newspapers, have had a rough couple of years, with many publications suffering declining readerships and smaller profit margins, and some long-running titles even closing their doors. It goes without saying that the internet and digital technology have had a profound impact on this sector.

“Great design, backed with quality
content, is the key to a magazine’s
success, be it digital or print.”

Despite the uncertainty in publishing, there is still plenty of opportunity for excellence. Last November, the 2012 Magazine Week Conference, Exhibition and Excellence Awards, hosted by industry group Publishers Australia, celebrated the best in print and digital publishing. Major award winners included industry publication The Adviser, custom publication INTHEBLACK and foodie favourite donna hay magazine. Digital publishing and online integration was one of the main focuses of the conference side of the event: “Most of the feedback from Magazine Week indicated that publishers are interested in social media, digital publishing and sales strategies,” says Publishers Australia general manager Matthew Green.

The print/digital mix
The uptake of tablets in Australia has been one of the key drivers changing the way people consume media. Tablets are being sold at a phenomenal rate, with technology research consultancy Telsyte Services predicting more than 11 million Australians will own tablets by 2016—more than three times the 2012 figure. Despite these figures, Green points out that Australian publishers have “been a bit slow on the uptake with respect to tablet devices” to date.

“Print and digital is
the future for any
magazine seeking a
wide audience”, says
Matthew Green

Going digital has different meanings depending on the publication. “Some publishers have selected tablet or web-only strategies and dropped their print editions altogether. For example, Encore magazine has recently shifted from a monthly print [issue] to a weekly digital-only title,” Green says. But he goes on to say the drop in ad revenue indicates a major disconnect remains between media buying and magazine publishing.

Augmented reality is bridging the gap between print and digital, using apps with print magazines to unlock extra features such as videos, image galleries, online shopping and more. “Both Pacific and Bauer have apps for Apple and Android … I suspect more will be coming in the future,” Green notes. Watch out for apps coming soon to your favourite print reads to enhance your overall experience.

Enduring elements
While the industry continues to adapt and grow along with changing technology, some things still haven’t changed. In Green’s opinion, to be an award-winning magazine, the central elements endure: “Great design, backed with quality content, is the key to a magazine’s success, be it digital or print. Classic techniques such as the choice of typography, selecting the perfect photograph and the judicious use of white space are just as relevant on the tablet device as they are on the page.”