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Five Ways the iPad Will Change Magazine Design

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The new iPad from Apple, presented in typical Steve Jobs fashion as game-changing, will, in fact, revolutionize the way we read magazines. Combining the rich visual content of a print publication, the ever-changing immediacy of a website, and the portability of an e-book reader, the iPad is something new.

Pentagram’s Luke Hayman, designer of, among others, Time, New York, and Travel + Leisure, was asked how this new format would change the world of magazines and came up with five ways off the top of his head.

A reversal of a decades-long trend

“For as long as I’m been alive, publication formats have been getting smaller. First, oversized magazines like Life and Esquire either disappeared or switched to conventional formats to save money on paper and mailing. Then editorial content started moving online, shrinking to fit computer screens and then even smaller for PDAs and 140-character tweets. The iPad represents the first time this trend has been reversed. Instead of smaller, more low-res content, we have the chance to get bigger, brighter, sharper content. Designers used to making it smaller may have trouble learning to go the other way.”

The end of frequency

“Say goodbye to the idea of monthly magazines, or weeklies, or dailies. Print publications, already under siege by the Internet and 24-hour news cycle, will have to learn to adapt to a world of instantaneous updates. This is most obvious for news and business publications, but it’s just as true for fashion, entertainment and specialized titles.”

A reset on advertising

“The mean little conventions of online advertising—banner ads, pop ups, and so forth—aren’t popular with readers, with advertisers, and certainly not with designers. The iPad’s a new medium that will create a whole range of opportunities. Once people start exploiting what it can do, we may see the kind of creative renaissance that will deliver the next George Lois or Lee Clow. People will start subscribing to certain i-mags just for the ads alone.”

A new way of telling stories

“Editors have been telling us for years that people won’t read long stories online. Yet they will read 1,000-page novels on their Kindles. What will they be willing to read on their iPad? I predict the return of long-form journalism. At the same time, visual storytelling will take deeper, richer forms. Information design will be more important than ever. Something like New York’s Approval Matrix that we designed back in 2005 with Adam Moss is popular in print but will really come to life in this format. Some people might subscribe to it all by itself.”

A new role for print

“If digital magazines with rich, uncompromised, real-time content corner the market on delivering what you need to know right now, what’s the point of print? I think that the publications that end up enduring will be the ones that exploit what print alone can do. The best ones will be things that you want to save, not toss in the recycling bin. They’ll project a sense of craftsmanship and permanence. And each one should be an object that just feels terrific in your hand. If you’re spending most of your free-time holding an iPad, you just might welcome a change of pace.”