The joy of magazines
I’ve always been a fan of magazines.
Many different shapes and sizes of magazine have passed through my hands over the years.
The Lego magazine
The Nintendo Magazine
Those are the main ones I’ve read and in some cases still read. I dabbled in others, buying the occasional FourFourTwo (football) or Guitar magazine.
You may have had a similar experience with other publications. These are admittedly very nerdy/boyish choices but other titles are available!
On a recent visit to see the folks I was reminded of this pastime after seeing some old magazines stacked on the shelf in my old bedroom. It got me thinking.
Print ain’t dead
I currently have a subscription to Wired and GQ (magazine subscriptions are a great Christmas present idea!), both of which cover an incredible amount of content and topics relating to business, tech, politics, current affairs, food, fashion and more. By the time I’ve got through one of them, the next issue has arrived.
But I’m also fascinated by the growing independent magazine market and zine culture. There seems to be more and more creators, journalists and writers curating publications around their own passions and interests.
Some are glossy and some are DIY. Either way there appears to be a growing hunger among a particular demographic for print.
Social media may well be a key cause of the decline in sales and quality of traditional print media but it is actually by using this same tool that so many independent creations get an audience.
It’s been great to see another copywriter and creator Jake Keane recently start a collaborative zine for creatives, copywriters and marketing types. (I was a bit late to the party but I look forward to reading the first issue). This wouldn’t have happened without the online community that Twitter creates. If you haven’t already, you should really check Creative Rehab out.
In an age where we are served information on an almost immeasurable scale through social media, the humble magazine offers curated content – articles, opinions, images – in a much more digestible and wholesome package.
Here’s some reasons why even in a world of never-ending content I’ll still keep coming back to the magazine.
Glossy. Matte. Paper. There is something satisfying about holding a good magazine in your hands. Wired are particularly good at this. Their covers often have a rough texture that feels substantial and tactile. It adds to the value. You feel like what you’re holding is worth it.
Subscribers often get that added bonus of a subscriber only cover which, not needing to attract buyers, removes much of the text on the front. This allows the cover image to breath and impress on its own.
The promise of treasure
The main pull of reading a magazine over other mediums is the mystery of what you might find within. An insightful article on an area of interest. A hot scoop or inside peek. Awe-inspiring photography that you wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else.
With social media, you know near enough what you’re getting (at least in the case of non-clickbait articles…) when you open an article. You have total control over what articles appear in front of you.
This is great in some ways but I think there’s something refreshing about having the choice of topics made for you. By a professional. An editor who knows what they’re doing and commissions articles for a living.
My knowledge has been expanded many times because I read something that I probably wouldn’t have done otherwise. And they’re great for social situations. Being able to start a conversation or join in on something because you read about it in a magazine is a life saver.
Yes, there’s a certain risk attached to not knowing what’s inside and you’re not going to read everything but there’s enough pages to make it worthwhile. With each page turn there is something new. Some new spread, picture or feature.
You can usually bank on a magazine offering something of interest because most appeal to a particular niche interest or demographic. If they’ve got it right it should be tailored near enough to your tastes and interests.
GQ and Wired are actually more varied in their reach but still have a general audience in mind. For someone who wants a range of topics covered these are ideal.
I have a general interest in current affairs, business and technological advancements so Wired usually has something that piques my interest. GQ addresses a range of topics from the perspective of a world aware, politically and socially conscious man, which I guess is me… (trying not to puke). It also opens me up to other perspectives and stories that I perhaps wouldn’t have considered otherwise.
There is pretty much a magazine for everything. My dad is an avid reader of Stationary Engine magazine (if you don’t know what Stationary Engines are, don’t worry about it) which you know… each to their own.
Each title is made in a way which values its audience and caters to them specifically. A community is often created around those magazines and if it’s small enough you can actually contribute to it.
The design in most magazines just looks so good.
All magazines take some level of design into account and some see it as a higher priority than others. For both big budget glossy magazines and the cool indies that you can only get online a visual feast awaits readers that you just can’t get anywhere else.
You can pore over a magazines design in a way that you can’t with a website article. The magic of Adobe InDesign has been put to full use and it makes all the difference.
The time and effort that has been put into the publication you hold in your hands makes it more worthwhile reading and, in some cases, collecting.
The thirst for knowledge
You don’t have to collect them though and actually another great thing about the magazine is their throw-away-ability. I would never dream of throwing away a book, but once I’m done with a magazine, if I want to, I don’t feel guilty about throwing it away (into recycling of course!) and making way for the next one.
And there always is a next one – except when they go bust, which unfortunately does happen. But in most cases there’s another one to look forward to. My thirst for knowledge and new perspectives is partially satiated by a new magazine arriving on my doorstep or picking one up from WHSmith before getting on a train or plane.
Support creators, writers and independent publishers and find YOUR magazine. Who knows what you might find?
Do you like magazines? And if so which ones do you read?