The Cult of Print – Industry Voices Speak on Why They Love It

Around here we talk a lot about print’s superpowers – those inherent qualities that make print such a unique experience. Clearly print has some distinct properties that have helped the medium last for centuries as part of the human experience.

Most of the time we speak of print as a tangible object. Yet for Juergen Teller writing in System Magazine, it’s much more than a physical entity. Teller spoke to more than 40 people working in the industry to understand exactly what print means to them. The answers were telling.

“It is a noun, adjective, and a verb that embodies a massive industry consisting of editors, writers, photographers, advertisers, readers, designers, influencers, and more,” Teller writes. “It’s a membership with a list that seems to grow every day, much like the number of independent print magazines that continue to pop up across the globe.”

Not surprisingly, Teller writes that no two answers were the same … and they all provide some great insights. A few of my favorites:

“Digital content is like beer, Coke and sparkling wine, which you drink on everyday occasions or at cocktails with a big crowd,” says Angela Cheung, editor-in-chief, Vogue China. “You can have these parties often. But when you sit down for a formal and exclusive dinner with a select group of people, you want a glass of fine wine that you savour slowly. And that glass of fine wine is the print magazine.”

“I like to use a fashion analogy: digital is ready-to-wear; print is couture,” said Nina Garcia, editor in chief, ELLE US.

“The magazine is one of the greatest human inventions ever,” proclaimed Jay Fielden, editor in chief, Esquire. “Good ones are simply irresistible. They make life more interesting and fun. My phone is trying to convince me it can do that, too, but it can’t really. It’s too busy distracting me, never letting me quite get that feeling of total absorption outside of time that very few things can. A magazine can.”

“I think both print and digital can be great in their own way, but if I had to compare them, it would be like comparing a real kiss with a virtual one,” said Chris Vidal Tenomaa, editor in chief and creative director, SSAW. “We all know which one is better.”

Of course, print has its detractors; one respondent said she was astounded by how many print magazines there are … and she just doesn’t understand why. To each their own, of course. Yet for the majority of us, it’s clear that print has a staying power and a tangible reality that is unchanging, curated and lasting. And this is where its power lies.