Rolling Stone: One Step Toward Irrelevance

It hurts me to write that headline, but it had to be done. Yes folks, the magazine that is almost singlehandedly responsible for my life long obsession with magazines has jumped the shark and taken a big long swig from the digital edition Kool-Aid (courtesy of Olive Software).

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the the importance of experimentation with different digital platforms… investigation of all possible futures is pretty much mandatory if you want to stay in business. Still, every time one of my favorite magazines takes the digital edition plunge I’m usually so underwhelmed by the execution… the ham-fisted shoveling of pages designed for print into a cumbersome flash based reader that is downright painful to navigate… that by now I am tired of even hearing about these “special” editions. Sure I keep checking them out… I keep hoping to see something besides recycled print designs… to see something that might actually take into account the medium the design will live in. Just once I’d like to see page geometry that isn’t dictated by the publication’s print trim size. Yet all I ever see is the shortcut, the afterthought, the oh yeah, lets do this the easy way.

When will somebody… for the love of all that is holy in this great big wonderful world… either shoot this format in the head or start taking it seriously from a design perspective? Seriously… I may be down on digital magazines, but I am not willing to write them off… there are simply too many good people thinking about them right now to leave the format for dead. I just hope that the reinforcements show up soon.

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