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Monthly Archives: March 2016

Creative print at a crossroads

Peter Batchelor gives a designers point of view about the future of print at Graphical Communicator:

Thus upturn in print has got me thinking about commercial print, and the direction it is going. Despite many, mainly digital, commentators predictions of gloom, it appears that Print Isn’t Dead. So much so that there is now a printed magazine called exactly that, Print Isn’t Dead (I have issues three and four!). […]

Isn’t this the mad ramblings of a luddite stuck in the past? Far from it. I genuinely believe that printing and therefore commercial print has something to offer that is a viable alternative to digital content and can co-exist with the growing digital universe. I’m not entirely sure that Trinity Mirror launching a new newspaper, or Johnston Press saving the iPaper is answer either. I believe that it is about reader experience and alternatives. Printers, publishers and creatives should look to what print can offer which digital cannot.

Blendle, the Dutch ‘iTunes for news,’ arrives in the U.S. with major partners

Well, if Facebook’s Instant Articles isn’t the answer, what’s an alternative? Blendle, the micro-payment digital newsstand from the Netherlands, is starting a 10,000 user/20 publisher beta test in the USA. It’s a concept that hasn’t caught on in the past, but Blendle hopes its combination of simplicity, solid recommendation engine, and no question refund policy will strike a cord.

Rick Edmonds at Poynter writes:

The appeal to the who’s-who of publishers is not surprising. If Blendle catches on, the partners’ share of the payments (70 percent) could be a welcome supplemental source of income from readers.

And even if the uptake is more modest, Blendle will introduce the branded content to a new audience that tilts to younger readers that might be converted to paid subscribers.

One of my favorite media analysts, Frederic Filloux of Monday Note, was initially a skeptic of Blendle but eventually concluded the startup has a fighting chance to become “something big” though a combination of good design and good timing.

Wanted: suckers to provide content for Facebook

Greg Krehbiel writing for his The Krehbiel Report on Publishing:

I’m still in Facebook detox right now, so take all this with a grain of salt, but I predict that in a few years publishers will look back on “Instant Articles” the way many of them currently look back on their decision to put content online for free. Both decisions will be seen as sucker moves from desperate and short-sighted execs who were fighting yesterday’s battles. […]

In any event, Facebook is kindly offering publishers a flashy version of yesterday’s business model (selling cheap ads against expensive content) so the publishers can give Facebook the raw material it needs to pursue tomorrow’s business model, which is user data.

Once again, publishers will be the suckers and kids with keyboards will take their lunch.

Greg is outspoken and he has an important point. Publishers shouldn’t give away their autonomy and reader data for eyeballs. It’s just not a long-term solution.

The fate of the newsstand isn’t the same as the fate of print

Tony Silber at Folio:

As a business, print magazines complete the 360-degree access to buyers that advertisers need. Print magazines are best at producing an important part of the buying cycle—brand development and awareness. Magazine brands really are cherished, but they’re not cherished like quaint old 1930s brands, long gone but evocative of a time and place. They’re cherished because they produce world-class content in multiple media forms, better for the most part than the digital-only media brands.

When to hold, when to fold: quitting social media

Conrad Lumm at Publishing Executive:

Your team’s been sinking hours a week into Pinterest (or LinkedIn, or Facebook, or Twitter, or Vine). You’ve gotten three comments: one generic “Nice photo” from a bikini-clad person in Miami who comments on thousands of posts a day, one from your cousin (a social media early adopter), and one from someone you’ve been doing business with for years.

When do you start seeing a return on your time? […]

Fortunately, there are a lot of ways you can pivot if you aren’t seeing a dogpile of likes, shares, and interaction. A few things you can try before calling it quits:

This is what graphic design looked like before computers

Aleks Eror discusses the upcoming documentary, Graphic Means:

Pre-digitization, graphic designers had to use scalpels and tracing pads and huge pieces of industrial machinery that look like the sort of things used to make cars, in a process that demanded such precision it’ll make your hands sweat just by looking at it.

I’m looking forward to a look back at graphic designers before the desktop publishing revolution. And seeing how much better we have it and how much more we can do as designers today.

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