The brainchild of former Dazed & Confused and Vogue Hommes Japan art director Remi Paringaux, POST is an unprecedented multimedia publication designed exclusively for the iPad. Taking advantage of the varied opportunities for video, images, text and tactility that the platform represents, POST promises an entirely new experience for editorial interaction in the fashion world and beyond. We chatted with Paula Goldstein, one of POST‘s leading creative forces, about the editorial transition from print to online, the added dimensionality of digital editorial and how POST maintains its independent voice.
JC Report: What makes POST stand apart from other digitized publications and new media?
Paula Goldstein: There are many developers out there who have the technical capabilities to make apps, and many publishers who will translate their print versions into apps. However, POST as an iPad publication is intrinsically different. To paraphrase Shumon from his piece for the first issue: “POST is an only child, born of the iPad with no printed sibling to imitate or be intimidated by.”
We all come from print publishing backgrounds with the artistic and editorial sensibilities of a team used to working with printed matter. However we are uniquely creating content to push the capabilities of a new media, which is almost somewhere between TV programming, a book and a computer game without having to account for the other mediums out there. As our editor Xerxes Cook has said, we are creating “candy for the fingers.” POST will be a showcase for its wider creative agency, Meri Media, which anticipates the rapid evolution of the medium. With the global reach of the web, combined with the attractive, curated content, uncompromised design and controlled, sequential environment of print, Meri Media can create apps to give brands a unique voice in a world in which users are becoming more and more savvy to their consumption of content.
PG: Personally, I grew up in a digital world starting school at four-years-old with computers, starting high school with the internet and starting my working life with constant internet access on a smart phone—digital mediums aren’t a new world to my generation, they are merely the world. [We] at POST have honed our craft in the world of traditional print, yet we were also seeing the market for printed matter become a more and more impossible option.
This created the question of how we would be able to make an independent publication, created by our generation, in the same way as the pioneers in independent magazine publishing we admired—the likes of Dazed, Purple and Interview—had done. Remi, our creative director, stated that as soon as he heard about the iPad, he knew he had found the answer: a tablet provides a natural paperless interactive platform yet with the same slow contained aesthetic as a print magazine.
JCR: Can you give some specific examples on how this manifests itself?
PG: The interactivity of the iPad is the most exciting part of the platform. The user can touch, play and create content of their own—for example, using your finger to change colors, remove layers or even paint pictures. Also the way in which one page can hold so many facets and features: music features can play the music, interviews can allow videos which give the user the extra dimensions into the subtleties of a spoken conversation, adverts in which, with one tap, you can buy the product itself.
JCR: Do you think this pushing of boundaries will happen to physical spaces such as shops and art galleries?
PG: The way in which the virtual world and the real world interact is becoming more and more important. This is a place in which augmented reality will come into play when any tablet or phone with the technology to connect to the internet and a camera will mean users can take pictures which will automatically guide and inform you. Take a gallery, for example: you take a picture on your phone and it could interact with a QR code to tell you when it was painted, who the artist is, show a catalogue of their other works and allow you to buy books by said artist.
JCR: The cross-disciplinary editorial focus is something that is being mirrored in creativity at large. Do you think it’s a way for fashion to appeal to a bigger audience, or the latest marketing tool that the industry is employing?
PG: I think in a way fashion is the easiest access point to a wider range of other cultural disciplines—and the industry recognizes this. In a way, it is a marketing tool because people are now savvier to content. They want new, exciting and informative content. They have access to so much and so easily that a re-written press release no longer works. The cross-disciplinary focus allows for the creation of the varied editorial people really want to read.
JCR: How exactly will this new medium reflect a real departure from the past?
PG: POST is about the unexplored, interstitial space between print and web, and the next frontier of fashion and luxury imagery. Strong editorial will of course remain core. However, the biggest departure will be the element in which the entire magazine links directly to retail—this direct commercial link will be a more fundamental change than the exciting moving image content.
PG: Yes. Someone said to me the other day that the problem would be that the older generation wouldn’t understand it. My response was: “Did they understand TV when it first happened? No. But does virtually everyone have one now? Yes.” The wonderful thing about the touch screen and the way the iPad functions is that it’s so easy to use, which, again, was the major coup for TV. I would say, as soon as the price point comes down slightly it will not only just be the new iPod, but tablets will be the new TV.
JCR: As one of the first iPad-only magazines, do you think the publication will have the efficacy and tactile physicality of print?
PG: As previously mentioned, it’s contained in its entirety both on and offline like a magazine. The way you touch the screen and interact with your fingers is exciting, but in a different way to paper. The feel of shiny new paper will always have a place, but now also will the flick of a finger on a screen.
JCR: With online shopping numbers growing at increasing rates and previously skeptical luxury brands now harnessing the digital revolution, how do you think the iPad will enhance the changing industry?
PG: It will bridge the gap more easily between the beauty of e-commerce and the ability to purchase on e-commerce. You just have to look at the likes of Net-a-Porter and ASOS—both are massive online fashion e-commerce successes that provide an editorial element and platform to their sites. POST will take this to a new and more seamless level.
PG: Yes and no. Of course luxury brands need to create an amazing space in which they enforce their importance and presence. In a way, iPad magazines allow them to do this in an even more in-depth way than any print. If you look at the adverts in the first issue of POST, they provide almost mircosites, giving brands a broader, stronger voice as they can contain many different kinds of brand information—from films to mini online stores. Also, I think the fantasy has shifted in a attempt to keep up. I’m still a little confused by luxury adverts on Facebook, for example.
JCR: Is there a risk that POST will become a glossy iPad shopping site that brands and advertisers just use as a distribution platform?
PG: The fact you can shop the entire magazine by touch makes it more free, more beautiful. Commerce does not need to be shoved in the user’s face, as it’s silently there for whenever the user wants to tap and interact with that element. Also the amount of information carried in the adverts for brands allows a greater freedom in the rest of the magazine’s content.