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Memoirs of A Magazine Buff

Being powerless and unplugged, the print medium re-entered many of our lives. My recent article in ASPIRE Magazine is an homage to print magazines. Read here, but get your hands on it, too!

I’m proud to announce that my “Memoirs of a Magazine Buff’ is published in ASP1RE Magazine’s beautiful Autumn Edition. Asp1re is a magazine devoted to real people, real design and real estate. I suggest you get the ‘real magazine,’ in print of course, for the full effect. That’s the point of this piece, after all.

Interestingly, the proliferation of Internet content on every topic imaginable and the increasing amount of time I spend in front of my computer has fueled, not abated, my hunger for print magazines. My magazine cravings are fairly specific these days. Since I now prefer to obtain entertainment and political news on-line or in newspapers, the magazines I lust for are the glossy, beautifully focused editorial publications which I can savor at my leisure, over time, as well as proudly display on the coffee table.

Like many people today, I spend an inordinate amount of time on the computer, both working and ‘socializing.’ As an interior designer, the Internet has become a tremendous asset, time absorber and distraction in equal measure. Yet, the more digitized and cyber-centric my world becomes, the more I appreciate the physicality of a beautiful, well designed print magazine, and the lovely escape it provides.

My love affair with magazines began at a very young age in my childhood home. My parents kept their collection of National Geographic magazines chronologically arranged directly next to the 20 plus volumes of alphabetically arranged encyclopedias. National Geographic was like an encyclopedia brought to life with spectacular color and imagery. I couldn’t wait 'til it arrived in the mail (you could only purchase it via subscription) wrapped like a simple gift in plain brown paper. Upon opening, it exploded into worlds near and far – a perfectly sized treasure trove of magnificent photography and information about exotic lands, civilizations, and animals all new and exciting to me. Like a book, I could take it anywhere I wished, but the intoxicating mix of photography, graphics, words and high gloss were completely specific to its unique format. An escape which was at once exciting and informative, portable and tactile, I was hooked on magazines.

One of the best aspects of print magazines is that their physical format inspires intuitive navigation. You can read a magazine backward to forward, as I won’t, or plunge right into its middle. You can look at the photos and not read the accompanying text, or read several pieces at the same time, easily jumping from one to the other. I love great photography and pictorial articles related to interior design and art. The physicality of print magazines, unlike e-magazines allows me to study the details of a photograph or article. The ease in which I can physically bookmark or dog-ear a page for quick return is refreshing. And, though I utilize websites like Houzz and Pinterest for inspiration, and encourage clients to do the same, people always seem to have a folder of pages torn from magazines with images they admire.

Not to be overlooked, a very attractive benefit of print magazines in today’s cyber world is their relatively inexpensive cost. Leaving an ASP1RE NJ magazine or Vanity Fair behind on the train won’t set you back the price of a laptop, iPad or e-reader. It’s a nice option to unplug and turn a magazine’s smooth page rather than navigate a keyboard or touchpad. Not worrying about charged batteries or Wi-Fi connections is liberating. This brings me to a deeper question: Other than its physical properties, what exactly is a magazine?

What unites a magazine into a cohesive whole and differentiates one from the other isn’t its subject matter. Upscale design magazines often have food recipes while fashion magazines feature interesting profiles on artists or political figures. What provides a magazine with its unique personality is its editorial focus. The very notion of a magazine as a single editorial entity is what makes it work as an exciting and dependable source of information and entertainment. You might be a Time or Newsweek reader, rarely both. Vogue is a reliable source for sophisticated fashion, while Glamour provides a more youthful interpretation. The web encourages flitting around and surfing, making you much less apt to absorb or study information, whether it’s pictures or words.

As an interior designer, between Pinterest, Houzz, design blogs and e-magazines, I theoretically could find all the information and inspiration I need on-line without opening a magazine ever again. These sites are terrific and provide a social component, but can’t compare with the focused information and experience magazines offer. Thankfully, there are still many great print magazines that are viable and filled with compelling information, while interesting new ones are entering the field. The media landscape is now comprised of different formats, affording myriad choices in how we obtain information. All said, send me a beautiful glossy magazine with a strong editorial focus, compelling photography and interesting articles and my knees still go weak.”     

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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