Matt visits the Future Debates

On Friday afternoon, Matt from Inhouse went to London to watch a debate about digital magazines. We made him report back on Friday night, before he went to the pub.


Where did you go?

LCC – a university on a roundabout.

What did you do?

They run a series of talks called the future debates. I went to one on the future of digital magazines.

Would you do it again?

Yes. I’ll definitely keep a look out for any upcoming events. Really good opportunity to take a step back and think about why we do what we do and what our role will be in the future.

Hand over a pearl of wisdom you picked up.

There’s no point just publishing artwork from a printed magazine online. You need to think about what the role of the printed piece is and think about how best to fulfil that role in a digital space.

And another one.

The analytics, user tracking and instant feedback you get from a digital publication is great for refining a publication but isn’t good for defining one. Great Henry Ford quote that if you ask people what they want the answer would be a faster horse. No one would have said a car.

Any more?

The biggest challenge around digital magazines is how to get people to read them. Apple’s newstand has a massive amount for sale but a very, very small shop window. At the moment, the best way to get people to read your digital magazine is to publicise it through your printed magazine which obviously isn’t a great solution.

Designing a digital publication is very different from labouring over beautiful layouts in a printed magazine. It’s much more about the user experience, how the navigation works, how does the user interact with it and creating templates that work across different devices.

What’s the one thing you heard today that you’ll still remember in two weeks’ time?

Stop debating which tools to use to create your magazine (indesign, html etc.), they are just a distraction, focus on the product.

Who talked most sense on the panel?

I got stuck in traffic on the M40 and missed the introductions so I have no idea who they all were, the guy on the end with glasses was pretty good though.

And finally… what does the future hold for digital magazines?

No one has any idea. Exciting times.


Has-been or magazine?


Paper or screen?


Paid or free?


More or less?



You can only find out if something is going to work by publishing it.