A More Immersive Experience with Mag+

Now that I’ve been introduced to Mag+ and the fantastic interactive publications that I can download (like Installation magazine), for the final interview in the Mag+ interview series, I thought I’d ask some questions to Matthew Cokeley, Creative Director at Mag+.

Mag+ offers a free InDesign Plug-in that allows anyone that knows InDesign to easily create, layout and publish their own magazine for the iPad or Android tablets. Mag+ premiered on the first iPads in April 2010 with the award winning Popular Science+. With its streamlined production system, powerful backend and feature-rich app framework, Mag+ is ideal for anyone — from magazine and book publishers to catalog marketers and design agencies — wanting to bring beautiful, rich media content to people using this new generation of digital devices.

I wanted to chat with Matt about the product, the market and response to the consumers that insist on holding a paper magazine. Here’s what he has to say:

I’ve seen magazines made into apps before – what makes Mag+ different?

Mag+ utilizes a multiple-layer InDesign design template to create one layout that adapts to both orientations – horizontal and vertical. This functionality, plus our fluid “a-layer” provides an infinite canvas for curated content.

What kind of knowledge should one have to be able to use Mag+ to create an app?

If you know InDesign – even just a basic working knowledge of the program – that is all that’s really required. It is the dominant program for magazine publishing and known by millions of designers around the world, so we eliminated the need to learn new software and most importantly, there is no need to hire a programmer (or know programming) to create an app. That’s a huge point of interest for many designers – they are in complete control of the creative.

What made you decide to develop a tool like this?

There wasn’t anything like this available when the rumors of a tablet computing market surfaced in 2009. As publishers, editors and designers [Mag+ was built by the R&D task force of global publishing powerhouse Bonnier Magazine Group, before it was spun out as an independent company in 2011.] we knew we needed to be ahead of the curve. We conceived a solution based on our knowledge of the industry and publishing workflow.

How do you see the way we read and digest information and images changing? When do you think this shift happened and where do you think things are going with respect to digital publishing?

The shift happened with the advent of the Internet. The theory behind our fluid “a-layer” was based on the vertical scroll delivery of most sites, blogs, and RSS readers. The Internet and web 2.0 essentially revealed the flaws in publishing’s advertising based income model. Digital publishing, while still in it’s toddler stage, has made great strides to bridge that gap. Delivery of transparent analytics will sure that up a bit more in the coming years.

How would you respond to someone who feels as though they need to feel paper in their hands to read? How would you convince them to read a digital publication?

I don’t think anyone needs to be convinced to read digital. Print is and always will be a beautiful medium. In most cases with a mag+ built design, the digital version of a printed title is an entirely different product. As with anything, it’s nice to have options and a more immersive experience at your fingertips on demand.

Thanks, Matt!

This designer interview series is supported by our partner, Mag+, the brains behind a free InDesign plug-in for creating tablet magazines, without a programmer. If you know InDesign, you can create and publish your own iPad or Android tablet magazine complete with rich media and interactivity. See designers being inspired and get started with Mag+ iPad publishing here.

Jaime Derringer, Founder + Executive Editor of Design Milk, is a Jersey girl living in SoCal. She dreams about funky, artistic jewelry + having enough free time to enjoy some of her favorite things—running, reading, making music, and drawing.