Mag+

This was released late last year, but Christmas has been a time of non stop eating thus a write up has been delayed…

So, hot on the heels of Time Inc. Bonnier Publishing and London based Design company BERG have released their concept magazine Mag+.

The video does most of the talking so get stuck in…

I love the way the cover stays on screen when the unit is idle, giving it that real “coffee table” effect. Nice touch for a concept, I doubt any real life product in the next year or two will cater for a such a cool feature though.

The search function works really well with nice image and text results. A tad complicated looking but nice and visual.

Not keen on the way content consumption is graphically represented. It’s a nice idea and one I’ve played around with on web based eMags, I just don’t like the look of it in their context, those horizontal kines atop each page are too distracting.

Since it’s not web based it must be a download which means it must be a fair size file, also presuming it will be some kind of Adobe Air app or similar.

There was no mention at all of video, why the hell not? I expect video dam it! In-mag video, interaction and in-mag games are unique and loads of fun, it’s what makes the is platform so exciting and new. Don’t forget we are no longer restricted to photos and text; music, movies, web cam interaction, net feeds…

I love touch interfaces but “rubbing” it? Seriously, you’ll like a right twat sat on the Tube rubbing a magazine, especially if it happens to be a sexy picture! I do however like the 4 finger gesture that reveals the thumbnails for bookmarking and such, very Apple.

The “radial menu” looks quite like the one Sports Illustrated used, which could signify a) someone has half inched an idea or b) both developers are on to something good.
It does seem like a natural way to bring up a suitable menu, after all we’ve all drawn a circle around a newspaper article at some point. So a prolonged finger touch or a circle (like Si) is an intuitive way to interact with a page.

The first thing that struck me about that video however was how much bollocks designers can talk. I am one myself afterall, so I know the score. My favourite “design bullshit words” from this video are:

“Chewy content”
“Emblematic”
“Metaphorical, graphical page turning metaphors”
“Honest to the form of the screen”
“Head-up overlay”
“Heat up the content”
“Act on any of the atoms”

Now the concept has been established the project falls on the shoulders of Kicker Studio in San Francisco. It’s there job to turn this concept into a reality, no doubt hanging on the developments of the Apple Tablet.

In a chat with The Guardian, Sara Öhrvall, the head of research and development at Bonnier said “We believe that there will be devices in the market as from 2010/2011”.

Generally I applaud this concept. I don’t think it’s as good or as polished as the Sports Illustrated one, but it’s another important step and it’s getting people talking. Once again however, it now depends on hardware manufacturers and how successful their products will be with consumers.
Further reading:
BERG
Bonnier
Kicker
The Guardian

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