Written for SYP Scotland blog | Andrew Diprose – The Magazine as Artefact – Magazines as a Home for Passion and Enthusiasm – Magfest 2015
It begins with Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Andrew isn’t quite sure what one, if either, are the bad one, which is why he’s happy to use the analogy: one side of him is Wired, the other is the The Ride Journal, that he publishes with his brother.
So why make a magazine? He talks us through the multitude of magazines that inspired and stood out to him over the years, some in childhood, some while travelling that he couldn’t even read as they were in another language. The point is the information was fed to him, visual or textual, and amplified by the publication. “Feed people’s passions.”
“Magazines are a container for ideas,” explains Andrew. But we all have a tiny little smartphone to get information in our pocket. “Make things that people are parting with money for feel special as an object. Something to hold onto, cherish, collect.” 90% of the time, content is king, “but let’s not forget that other amount.” It’s the love of the object.
“It encapsulated that you can cherish something whose material value is not very high,” he continues. When you have a print subscription, “it’s a delayed gratification. The idea that something sits comfortably in your hand is wonderful. It makes you feel like part of a club, like all good magazines do.”
He points out that Wired has won Digital Magazine of the Year, so they do put a lot of effort into that side of it, but that’s not what he’s here to talk about.
As for The Ride Journal, it’s “a vehicle for taking people places.” They pay all the profit to charities. It’s very different to Wired, whose covers compete on a newsstand and are confrontational and poster-like. He was hired for the print mag, but his role has expanded into several areas, from tablet editions and online videos to networking dinners and live events. “The print magazine is still core,” he notes. “It’s our shop window, our old Bond Street store.”
“We’re not alone in realising that people want something perfect for that format,” continues Andrew, when faced by the digital-print split. “We felt so stupid it took so long to realise.” It needs simple navigation, to be light, no need for a spectacle. “Let digital do what it does best, and let print do what it does best, be a brilliant object. Celebrate them for their own individual merits.”