Now here you go! Take the best bits of that Sports Illustrated interactive magazine demo and Pictory, mash them up, add attractive depth-of-field and you get BERG’s vision for the future of the magazine:
I actually feel like it’s hard to judge, because there are two very significant confounding variables in the mix:
- the warm, cinematic production, and
- the device! I mean, look at that e-reader. I don’t care what kind of magazine you put on that thing—I’ll take it.
However, I’ve done the regression, and even when those elements are factored out, it’s still excellent. In particular, I love the concept of “heating” content. When content is cold, it sits on the page, crystalline and beautiful. When it’s warm, it bubbles and steams and you can pull it apart and push it around. Wonderful!
The strength of the video is really that it speaks—well I mean, specifically that Jack Schulze speaks. Compare it to this, the Microsoft equivalent, which is all mute gloss. What are the animating ideas? What can I extract from it, lacking wall-size screens and paper-thin LCDs here and now in 2010? Not much.
I do disagree with one premise of BERG’s, which seems to be that magazine-style content is generally Quite Good and just needs to be presented in a useful, modern way. I do think there’s demand for depth and design, of course. But increasingly, when I shift from screen-reading to magazine-reading it’s more than just the interface that stops me cold. It’s the voice. There’s a tone and distance to non-fiction magazine writing—even very good non-fiction magazine writing—that seems increasingly old-fashioned in 2010. If I was advising a magazine on strategy, I’d tell them to crack open the black box of content, of writing, and redesign that, too. (More to say about that at some point, but for now, scope out the BERG video.)
But really: this is all a side-show, because the star of the video is that table, isn’t it? I want one.