“If ever one needed reassurance about the resilience of print, it is to be found in holding a glossily bound 314-page extravaganza of intelligent writing, exquisite photography, elegant typography and stylish graphics.”
These words of Britta Reid, veteran media industry pundit, sum up the current state of affairs quite nicely.
She’s speaking about Monocle, which has been called “the most beautiful magazine in the world” by City Press editor-in-chief Ferial Hafajee.
“The magazine covers global affairs, business, culture, and design in relatively short and digestible format. The design is, as Ferial pointed out, beautiful. So too is the tactile experience of paging through it, as the publication uses a variety of different stocks,” Reid explains.
Founded in 2007 by Tyler Brûlé, Monocle has unapologetically avoided digitizing its magazine, choosing to focus on other more lucrative aspects of their growing brand (think cafes and retail shops oozing with the same hip, high-end and lovely luxury the print magazine is known for).
“Of course there is a website with high quality films and slide-shows extending the print stories,” Reid notes. “In keeping with Brûlé’s well-developed sense of commercialism, you have to be a subscriber to access all the stories ever run in the magazine. It is on this site that one is able to listen to Monocle 24, a round the clock radio station covering foreign affairs, urbanism, business, culture, design, food and drink and print media.”
Through his careful attention to their brand message and reaching the right audience, Brûlé has been able to create true partnerships with advertisers (he calls them “patrons”), something that is woefully missing in the digital ad realm.
“Print is the foundation of Brûlé’s empire, and he has successfully built a unique club, or perhaps more accurately, clique of readers and patrons,” Reid notes, explaining the secret to his growing success.
By all measures – both on the surface and in the deeper view of the business model – Monocle is indeed a beautiful thing.