Adobe, Indies and the Way Back to Print

Madeleine Morley has a good eye for indie magazines.

“Whether standing in line for checkout at a supermarket, sitting in a local coffee shop, or browsing in a modern bookstore, it’s not unusual to see magazines with $15, $20, even $25 price tag,” she writes in “Print Ain’t Dead” in Adobe’s 99u. “Deluxe paper, niche topics, beautiful design; at a time when there are plenty of articles about the decline of newsprint sales, where on earth did these elegant creations come from?”

As a designer, she sees the appeal of these expressions of thought made real.

“Designers inevitably love these lovingly-designed magazines: they collect them, they read them, they study them. Some even make them,” she notes.

She goes on to mention some of our favorites, including Kinfolk, Monocle, Cherry Bombe, and several other – all great indie titles with distinct editorial views and creative execution.

There’s something defining about making a magazine: This is who we are. This is what we look like.

“When tracing the origins of these titles, it often is apparent that the idea for an independent magazine first appears online: people develop their opinions and voices writing blogs and sharing ideas on social media, they connect with like-minded individuals, and the next step from there is to create something permanent,” she explains.  “To give visual shape to beliefs, opinions, and preferences through graphic design. An identity. There’s something defining about making a magazine: This is who we are. This is what we look like.”

Morely goes on to mention Adobe’s own print magazine, which sells for a healthy $19 per issue and shines a light on creative people doing incredible things with design.

The magazine falls under Adobe’s 99u brand, which is all about empowering the creative community. The brand offers a robust online presence, a popular yearly conference, several print books and of course, the print magazine. Clearly they embody the multi-channel experience, or as Morley puts it, the “co-dependent relationship” that exists between digital and print creativity.

Somebody better tell the bosses at Adobe.

The ironic thing about all of this is that Adobe, just a few years back, stopped attending Graph Expo, North America’s print industry conference in Chicago. At the time they seemed to be saying just the opposite – that print wasn’t worth their time. I so missed their sessions for Indesign and Photoshop. It was one of the highlights of the show for me personally.

Designers seem to be the strong neck turning the corporate heads on this issue, showing us all that print is an exciting and challenging medium in which to create.

“The central change is a liberating one,” Morley writes. “Print is no longer the business model: print is the heart, the core expression, of an idea. And it’s this shift that has allowed graphic design to flourish. The idea given visual presence; the idea as an object.”

It seems more and more folks are coming back around to print. And that’s a beautiful development.