MagDesigner has a new home!

July 4, 2010

New home for

If you’re reading this, then you shouldn’t be. You see, this here blog is now old hat. It has been magically turned into

It’s bigger, better and a lot more blue. There are all the usual news stories and eMag round ups, but now the with the edition of platform reviews, eMag reviews, glossary and features with lots more content coming over the months.

It really is your one stop shop for all things to do with digital magazines.

This WordPress blog will more than likely be ignored from now on (you’ve been good to me though…)

So, get yer ass over there, bookmark it, subscribe, get rss feeds and remember to tell your friends about!

Click HERE!


MagDesigner lecture at this years SOF

March 16, 2010

This years SOF (Slovenian Advertising Festival to us uneducated English speakers) kicks off next week. Amongst a host of top class speakers will be me! MagDesigner will be giving a 30 minute lecture on the future of digital magazine publishing, giving a unique and no doubt colorful insight into eMag publishing, specifically how to make them and how to make money from them.

So if you’re in the area, or if you’re bored and fancy a trip, hop on your good foot and get to Slovenia. It’s cheap to get there, they are the nicest people you could meet, the food is outrageously good and it’s as pretty as a picture.

I am speaking on Thursday 24th March at 2.15pm. Be there or be, er, somewhere else…

If you are going and want to meet up feel free to email me at

Visit the SOF website

Dennis Publishing “Close” iMotor

February 22, 2010

In a rather sad move Dennis Publishing today announced the closure of its eMag – iMotor. Well, maybe closure isn’t the right word, as iMotor will continue to publish “sponsored editions, that coincide with major launches or significant motoring events and shows”. It seems they are staying away from using the word “close” since it was such a popular brand and still has some legs, or wheels left on it.

Launched 24 issues ago shortly after the launch of iGizmo, iMotor made a big impact on both the motoring market and the eMag market. Becoming instantly loved by a shed load of readers iMotor was chock full of awesome interactivity; with games, quizzes excellent video reviews and a whole host of great digital content that no other consumer title could even think about competing against. iMotor was an excellent example of how an eMag should be made and it’s such a shame that it has closed before the masses took notice of it.

It’s decline has been put down to a “downturn in the motoring industry as a whole but we have also found it hard to convince manufacturers to make full use of the creative environment that a digital magazine offers” says Pete Wootton, MD of Dennis Interactive. This is a problem that all consumer eMag publishers face but it’s not all doom and gloom, the two other Dennis eMags Monkey and iGizmo have proven hugely successful as have the multitude of contract titles that have come from within the Dennis walls.

So it’s the end of an era for one title, but the birth of a new one as more and more people take to digital publishing and iPad magazines.

Check out the current, and last issue of iMOTOR

Time Inc’s Tablet Magazine shows publishers which way is up

December 3, 2009

We all knew something was brewing, but quite frankly I didn’t think it would be as cool as this. Time Inc along with New York based The Wonder Factory have been working together developing “the Manhattan Project”. Little was known except it was being developed specifically for touchscreen tablet computers such as HP’s or the upcoming Apple Tablet/Slate/MacThingy.

Erick Schonfeld on Tech Crunch has got a first glimpse into their first digital solution magazine; Sports Illustrated. Full article can be found here it’s really worth a read.

It’s a real touch screen experience, and seems to bring the physicality of magazines back to life but in a digital form. It’s something that has always been lacking in current eMags. Tapping with two fingers reveals page thumbnails, swiping gestures will turn a page and there’s a navigation wheel that lets you share content with social network sites in a really neat way.

The concept was designed by David Link, co-founder and Creative Director of The Wonder Factory and built using Adobe Air. The Wonder Factory have today posted this video of the SI Tablet in glorious action:

So, a few points to ponder whilst you knock back that cafe latte and optional muffin. Adobe Air. Pretty obvious choice since there’s a fair chance the Mac Tablet won’t support Flash, it may also mean magazines can be downloaded, with only optional content being supported online and thus supporting off line reading.

I know first hand how supportive Adobe have been in regards to eMags. I’m an Adobe Advocate myself having bigged ’em up on video in support of InDesign. I also know how much effort they are putting into the future of publishing. They understand the need for these types of magazines even if most publishers do not.

From what I know and have used, Air is a stable and fluid programme and is perfect for these types of interactive experiences. What I would be very interested in seeing is the process behind the finished issue; their workflow, design methods and how exactly it’s all put together. I wonder how much it differs from my current practices on iGizmo and iMotor? If this is to work as well as they hope, it needs to set a standard in both quality of titles and working practice.

What kind of infrastructure would be needed to pull something like this off? Once you get past the developing costs and general learning curve, how does it all fit in? Ideally, I believe it would need a complete restructure of editorial. Web working alongside print and Tablet magazine divisions. Having XFL and RSS feeds coming out the shazzoo in order to keep content time sensitive and dynamically changeable.

It should bring about a whole new change in publishing, if companies are brave enough. And it looks like Time Inc may just be.

Another big problem could be wi-fi, not so much for the US but the rest of the us. For these magazines to be suuuuuper popular we need more wi-fi.

A large number of people have wi-fi at home or at work. Starbucks have wi-fi of course, unfortunately you have to listen to the songs of Burt Bacharach being murdered by the Illinois String Quartet. A few other random hotels and bars have wi-fi but that’s about it really. Where are these free city-wide wi-fi networks people used to promise us back in the day?

If you’re going to offer support for video content, information feeds or up to date galleries you need widely available internet and with a good bandwidth capacity.

The other factor to their success is also the sale of Tablets. I personally believe there will be a trend in Tablet computers for at least a few years, maybe even longer as technology advances and computers get to the stage where by we can roll them up like paper. However it’s going to be a while before Tablets are wide spread. First we need Apple to release one, and for it to be well received. Then, as usual we need everyone else to copy them and produce versions a third of the price. Then they’ll be wide spread enough for mass markets to really appreciate what these magazines are capable of and the immersive experience you can have with a magazine.

Hopefully by this time someone would have eventually launched a “digital news stand”. And no, I don’t not include any current website to be even close to a digital news stand. Think iTunes for publishing, not Board Room book shelf.

The demo above looks fantastic. Absolutely hands down the coolest thing I have seen anyone attempt with an eMag. Good design, forward thinking and innovation have created an excellent looking product.

The big question is, can it make money. Because after all that’s what it’s all about for some people. We know eMags are viable financially, look at Dennis Publishing and Redwood Publishing to name but two. Both companies have had great success with eMags and Dennis’ iGizmo, iMotor and Monkey consumer titles have proved hugely popular with readers and advertisers alike. However, no one charges for eMags yet.
According to Mr Murdoch people will pay for content if it’s from good writers. I don’t think that is enough. I think people will pay if it’s good content done in a good way. A new way. Why go to one website and pay when you can go to one of a thousand others for free?

But I would pay if it was a unique package, something like what Time Inc have shown above. That looks worth paying for doesn’t it?! It’s waaay cooler than a website and it offers the same information, just better and more marketable and more personal.

Time Inc are such a massive company, and with backing from the likes of HP, Adobe and hopefully Apple, maybe they can lead the way into an exciting new era. Because at the moment they just ran past the rest of us, manically giggling.

In the meantime, go buy yourself a Sony Vaio L Series, check out the current issue of iGizmo and touch away to the cows come home. It works pretty well.

New issues of iGizmo & iMotor

November 26, 2009

Stuck for ideas this Christmas? Wanna know all about the new Ferrari? Then you need to get your mince pies around these two little numbers…


iMotor has undergone a small refresh, making it now officially the most pink car magazine on the virtual shelves. Includes a nice 360, shed loads of video and an interview with Jenson Button. Although a tad over crowded on most pages and their being the usual too much content being crowded into 30 pages, it works well and a nice title. Considering it is not a contract title and done on a monthly basis it’s a cracking magazine, one of the best online.

iGizmo has expanded substantially this issue, due to the rise in sweeeet Christmas gadgets, so it’s a bumper issue. Functionality seems have been smoothed out in most instances and there are some nice features in there. Again, arguably too much content for this platform but for a free monthly consumer title it’s a pretty damn good.

Check ’em out for yourselves…

Adobe and eMags

October 25, 2009

Picture 1

Recently I became an advocate of Adobe products. I’ve kinda always been one really but now it’s official and caught on camera.

After talking to Adobe on more than one occasion concerning Creative Suite 5 and the further integration of InDesign and Flash, Adobe decided they’d come and make a little video case study on iGizmo and our working practices at Dennis Publishing.

So if you’re interested in how we do things on iGizmo and iMotor, head over and have a butchers…

Adobe eMag solutions

Print classic no longer

April 10, 2009


London’s Dennis Publishing last week announced the close of it’s flagship title, men’s mag Maxim. For the last decade Maxim has been top of it’s game and the leading men’s magazine brand world wide. However the original edition for the UK market has been spiralling downwards for the last few years.
The company’s decision to axe the title wouldn’t have been an easy one since it resulted in the loss of 12 jobs. But the “current economical climate”, to coin an annoying phrase, means it’s no longer viable to keep such a title printing when the overheads are so large and the ad revenue so low.

Maxim is now the second men’s mag this year to kick the bucket, the first being Arena.
Dennis Publishing’s reasoning is to now put emphasise online.

There is no doubt men’s magazines have seen a decline in recent years with Nuts, Zoo, Loaded, Maxim and FHM loosing readers left right and centre. However some titles stride on with the likes of GQ and Men’s Fitness proving guys still buy magazines. You can’t however doubt the effect the internet has had on print, and because of that markets have now changed. If guys want to see tities they can go online, magazines need to change with the times and to be fair Maxim was trying, but evidently too little too late.

It will be interesting to see what happens to the UK Maxim brand now it’s an online title only. What will they do with their website to keep readers and bring in advertising?

I personally think it’s a shame Maxim wasn’t made into a digital magazine like Dennis’ iGizmo. But I also believe there is a good reason for that, maybe it’s too close to Dennis’ other online magazine title Monkey…
Either way another one bites the dust. Could it have been saved? We will never know, many tried but none succeeded. Lets hope others don’t meet a similar fate.