The ‘death of print’ has been a statement resurrected and beaten to death repeatedly over the course of the last few years. We can all agree that media has fundamentally changed, but what many “old school” media entities failed to grasp was the context and subsequent modification of how it went about presenting content. The internet is a vastly superior medium when it comes to up-to-the-minute news (sorry newspapers) but it fails in certain visually and text-based storytelling contexts. It’s these factors that print must embrace to stay relevant.
We recently launched our latest print endeavor, The HYPEBEAST Paper at the start of the month. This joins our existing magazine and of course, the medium you’re most familiar with, HYPEBEAST.com. As we diversify our efforts, it may not be immediately clear the reasoning behind so many differentiated platforms. But to break it down more clearly, the context in itself is the most important aspect of a publication — whether online or analog — and to be successful is to play to the respective strengths of the medium. Each particular element possesses a unique identity based on its presentation of information and content.
The Latest Digital Shift
The comparison of experience and legibility of a typical magazine versus its digital counterpart is generally no contest. To see an image in its entirety — without needing to pinch and zoom, without needing the drag your browser window vertically and horizontally — creates an instant and honest connection. Furthermore while consuming print-based content, you’re largely devoid of any immediate distractions. Notifications and sounds cannot directly influence and affect your attention through an un-powered medium like a magazine or newspaper. In addition, the overall strain on your eyes when looking at a 4-inch screen, however high the resolution is simply not the most ideal scenario.To further develop this digital shift is another very important movement towards mobile. In this post-PC transition (with the original being the move towards digital in itself), media has lost even more of the overall experience through smaller screen sizes. Every step of the way, we’ve emphasized smaller screen real estate in favor of convenience. Think how the slow death of desktops and large-sized laptops, and even the overall diminished sales of laptops in general has left the door open for strong, visually captivating mediums. This shift towards mobile plays into the hands of print purveyors quite nicely. A focus on creating powerful and captivating visuals alongside providing a medium for reading long-form pieces, these are all important facets to the print game plan that digital has yet to solve.
“Every step of the way, we’ve emphasized smaller screen real estate in favor of convenience.”
Strengths and Contexts
To return back to the differences between our three publication platforms, HYPEBEAST.com, HYPEBEAST Magazine and The HYPEBEAST Paper, each outlet has a unique role. HYPEBEAST.com as we know represents an appropriate medium for breaking news, allowing virtually instantaneous commentary (and of course video) which is a testament to understand how platforms can share a unique role in storytelling. The newspaper and magazine each take on different roles. As HYPEBEAST Magazine enters its fifth issue, we’ve come to refine its purpose in pushing and creating captivating (and often longer) forms of content, both written and visually. As we know it, a magazine in your hand is not something you pick up for a few minutes and then put down like a quick flick through Instagram, or a quick perusal of several 140 character updates. To have a magazine is to immerse yourself in state of mind, to spend a dedicated effort, not one with distraction inherently baked-in such as you may with a digital device. It’s these notions that must not be forgotten when creating for print. The focus of a newspaper in our context is in respect to timely content. This has become something to continue the dialog through the downtimes of the magazine and as so, the content reflects this in a more timely fashion.For any content creator, having a 360 degree overview of your medium and what best suits the idea or concept you wish to communicate simply cannot be overlooked. Just like deciding to shoot a video or shoot a photo, each has its own benefits that one must understand and incorporate in its execution.
“For any content creator, having a 360 degree overview of your medium and what best suits the idea or concept you wish to communicate simply cannot be overlooked.”
As we move forward, we’re certain the best days of print are behind us. There does however lie a strong presence to be had via print and many elements of its consumption are yet to be superseded by any digital approach. The tangible feel of that slightly grainy paper, the smell elicited off the printing press, the slight noise with each turn of the page, these all play to the senses of a creature that has come to love and appreciate having our five senses stimulated. We’ve entered an age where each subsequent generation will not understand what it means to be disconnected and offline. A generation that understands and bridges the world of analog and digital will fall to the wayside. This could be the fundamental shift as new generations overlook the beauty of print and become acclimatized to the consumption of content that previous generations found difficult and cumbersome. Reading that 10,000-word piece on your smartphone may become second nature — or perhaps our continually diminishing levels of patience will never let it happen. We’d go out on a limb to say that modern day print isn’t dead, but simply the way it needs to be applied has changed.