The evolution of digital publishing workflows and strategies

With in-depth case studies and new platform presentations, the discussion highlighted the advantages – and alternatives to – Adobe DPS, the transition from InDesign, the rapid increase in responsive HTML solutions, and how to survive the fast-moving digital publishing industry. 

Mobile Product Consultant, David Hicks, said: “It seems to me that the move away from using InDesign to create digital editions for monthly and weekly magazines in particular is a much-needed step change – and a steep learning curve for some publishers. Investment in a workflow using a responsive HTML authoring tool, and a CMS to publish content to a variety of outlets is the now preferred route for the more advanced publishers, and I think this is the way it’ll continue for a few years”.

Alan Rutter, Co-founder of Clever Boxer, UK

Alan Rutter of Clever Boxer started the discussion by questioning what cross-platform content really means (it isn’t just devices), the practical implications for publishers large and small, and how this informs business models and revenue. 

Rutter shocked the group when he showed the first Twitter home page from nine years ago, and compared this to the short history of the digital magazine. 

Twitter Homepage ()

(Source: Adweek)

Rutter used the example of The Gentleman Magazine, now Condé Nast’s GQ, which has had 300 years to develop, evolve and grow. “Digital magazines have had five years,” he said, making a comparison between the two.

Rutter said there is “simply not enough experimentation going on” within digital magazine publishing, and publishers must keeping trying new business models, thus removing the shame of failure. He also discussed the idea that print is not an input, but instead publishers should look at the brand as the centre and work from here to develop the outputs.  Additionally, the discussion cantered around the setback of publishing monthly digital issues, in an industry that requires fast-paced, instant/daily content. 

PandaSuite, France

PandaSuite joined the discussion, introducing its new digital publishing solution, without the need for coding. 

Panda Suite ()

“PandaSuite gives you the freedom to create, imagine, and design independently. An imaginative graphic designer can create incredible things.”(Emilie Brochette, head of digital – Made For Com)

Panda Suite is a design studio, focusing on WYSIWYG design.

Craig Llewelyn-Williams, managing director at The App Lab and Ben Tyler, digital publishing consultant at The App Lab, UK

Adobe DPS partnered with several agencies including The App Lab in London, for the launch of the new and improved Top Gear Extra Magazine. Llewelyn-Williams and Tyler discussed how they worked with the Top Gear editorial team and the publisher to achieve this. 

TopGearno1 ()

The Top Gear Extra magazine home page displays the monthly magazine, free news content and specials. Tyler revealed how the team worked through many iterations all “on the fly” as opposed to having to create a new app and submit to Apple.

TopGearno.2 ()

This highlighted the benefit of Adobe DPS, as the content in the app including the browse pages are unique and can be edited and updated instantly. It is about “exploring efficiencies in how you can manage a digital publishing model without bloating the team”. 

Liam Keating, programme manager, Condé Nast Digital, UK

Keating discussed the transition from InDesign to HTML for many Condé Nast titles, and presented the issues between resource and automation vs. design and flexibility. He suggested the benefit of using HTML, for example with Wired, using 400 different HTML modules to assist the team in creating their digital edition each month. Keating stated the benefit of creating content for multiple devices, improving workflows.

Matthew Charlesworth, senior graphic designer at Commerzbank AG, Germany/Poland

Thinking Ahead concluded the discussion, discussing how to tackle a tight deadline for print and digital versions of a magazine. 

TA ()

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