The marketing communications agency Prodigy Professional Group has launched a new digital, interactive magazine for its client Swiss Chalet Fine Foods. Called The Chalet, the Newsstand app is a native tablet magazine which can be downloaded and accessed free of charge by consumers.
At first, the custom publishing project will fool you: it looks very much like a replica edition for the first few tablet pages. But since the debut issue weighs in at 489 MB one knows that can't be right – and sure enough a few pages in one starts to see the use of native tablet features such as pages that need to be scrolled, interactive features such as pop-up pages, links to product pages and more.
Digital magazines such as this one from Prodigy are usually the examples I give to publishers when asked for examples of the tablet publishing platform.
The reason is simple: with no print magazine to reproduce, the custom publisher can start with a blank slate. Sometimes, as in the case with The Chalet, the end product is very much influenced by print magazine design. In other cases, the publisher thinks of the platform in new, radical ways that ends up producing a very much new format for a digital magazine – many of the digital magazines produced for automotive brands fit into this category.
Prodigy has served their client very well with The Chalet, and the use of the Newsstand insures that there will be more editions to come, though because of the size of these issues readers will be hoping they don't come too often.
The new digital magazine The Chalet does contain a reminder of one of the issues of iPad publishing: font choices. Here we are not talking about font sizes, this digital-only magazine makes sure the fonts are sized properly, but font coloring.
This is an issue I've run across many times with digital-only magazines: fonts that are very light or lightly colored, that I'm sure look great on the designer's computer screen, but come off as a bit too light on the tablet. In one case, the digital magazine appeared almost invisible, so light was the font used.
On the other hand, some digital magazines created by new comers often make the mistake of bolding their text fonts so that the resulting publication is ridiculously heavy. One solution is to use standard publishing fonts. One mistake new art directors make when fresh out of school is to fall in love with custom fonts – they soon learn that this is a big mistake over time.