Contract - Editorial: Print is Alive and Well

design - essay



Editorial: Print is Alive and Well

19 April, 2010

-By Jennifer Thiele Busch



I tend to think of Contract as a part of the design industry, but actually it is more accurately part of another industry—print publishing—which is experiencing tremendous change to the point of upheaval. One need know very little about the world at large to understand that people are getting information online, which is adversely affecting the business models of everything from newspapers, magazines, and textbooks to music, radio, television, and film. The A&D community sees the influx of design-focused Web sites, blogs, online publications, virtual seminars, etc., challenging the long-time dominance of information sources such as print magazines, trade shows, and conferences. The influences of the sustainability movement, which suggests that content delivered virtually is the greener approach, and the weak economy, which dictates smaller marketing and travel budgets, are also powerful drivers. 
As part of our March 50th Anniversary content, our associate editor Stacy Straczynski wrote a fascinating article on how the design community is thinking about and using online resources in the new Information Age. The article, which can be found at www.contractdesign.com, paints a somewhat grim view of the future of print publications in the industry. Happily, we are ready for the demise, with a ramped up Web site that features daily news and industry updates, original features, monthly magazine content, interviews with industry personalities, an extensive product gallery, a blog, a digital version of the magazine, and much, much more.

On the flip side, we are not sitting idly by and letting new media trends sweep us away. In mid-2009, Contract conducted a readership survey to gauge A&D audience preferences regarding information consumption, which found that an average of 67.2 percent of respondents still prefer to have our glossy, 4/C magazine delivered to their desks each month, even though many are actively engaged in an online relationship with us or other information sources. Today our audience is “media agnostic,” meaning, they want to have various media platforms available to them. And it is our job, as a leading source of information for the design industry, to provide it all in various compelling formats.

So, for those of you who still prefer a print magazine—or at least prefer it for some things—we present here the latest iteration of Contract

Contract celebrated its 50th Anniversary on March 23, with more or less simultaneous parties at the Los Angeles office of HOK, the Chicago office of Gensler, and the New York office of Perkins+Will. We’d like to thank those three leading design firms for letting us invade their spaces, as well as the hundreds of attendees who celebrated with us. And since we could not have done it without them, I will also mention our generous sponsors: Herman Miller, Shaw Contract Group, Haworth, Tandus Flooring, The Mohawk Group, Versteel, Delta, Gunlocke, J&J/Invision, Nienkamper, Nurture, Skyline Design, regional sponsors Armstrong and Mannington, and in-kind sponsor, DIFFA. Thanks to all for your ongoing support of Contract, in whatever form you prefer to consume it. 
I was in attendance at the New York party, and almost invariably, each designer I spoke with said that 2010 is off to a better start than 2009, and we here at Contract are experiencing the same kind of renewed spirit in our interactions with readers and customers nationwide. This will still be a difficult year, but the light at the end of the tunnel is growing brighter. Away we go together!
Please give us your feedback on our redesign at www.contractdesign.com/contact.



Editorial: Print is Alive and Well

19 April, 2010


Kristin Harp

I tend to think of Contract as a part of the design industry, but actually it is more accurately part of another industry—print publishing—which is experiencing tremendous change to the point of upheaval. One need know very little about the world at large to understand that people are getting information online, which is adversely affecting the business models of everything from newspapers, magazines, and textbooks to music, radio, television, and film. The A&D community sees the influx of design-focused Web sites, blogs, online publications, virtual seminars, etc., challenging the long-time dominance of information sources such as print magazines, trade shows, and conferences. The influences of the sustainability movement, which suggests that content delivered virtually is the greener approach, and the weak economy, which dictates smaller marketing and travel budgets, are also powerful drivers. 
As part of our March 50th Anniversary content, our associate editor Stacy Straczynski wrote a fascinating article on how the design community is thinking about and using online resources in the new Information Age. The article, which can be found at www.contractdesign.com, paints a somewhat grim view of the future of print publications in the industry. Happily, we are ready for the demise, with a ramped up Web site that features daily news and industry updates, original features, monthly magazine content, interviews with industry personalities, an extensive product gallery, a blog, a digital version of the magazine, and much, much more.

On the flip side, we are not sitting idly by and letting new media trends sweep us away. In mid-2009, Contract conducted a readership survey to gauge A&D audience preferences regarding information consumption, which found that an average of 67.2 percent of respondents still prefer to have our glossy, 4/C magazine delivered to their desks each month, even though many are actively engaged in an online relationship with us or other information sources. Today our audience is “media agnostic,” meaning, they want to have various media platforms available to them. And it is our job, as a leading source of information for the design industry, to provide it all in various compelling formats.

So, for those of you who still prefer a print magazine—or at least prefer it for some things—we present here the latest iteration of Contract

Contract celebrated its 50th Anniversary on March 23, with more or less simultaneous parties at the Los Angeles office of HOK, the Chicago office of Gensler, and the New York office of Perkins+Will. We’d like to thank those three leading design firms for letting us invade their spaces, as well as the hundreds of attendees who celebrated with us. And since we could not have done it without them, I will also mention our generous sponsors: Herman Miller, Shaw Contract Group, Haworth, Tandus Flooring, The Mohawk Group, Versteel, Delta, Gunlocke, J&J/Invision, Nienkamper, Nurture, Skyline Design, regional sponsors Armstrong and Mannington, and in-kind sponsor, DIFFA. Thanks to all for your ongoing support of Contract, in whatever form you prefer to consume it. 
I was in attendance at the New York party, and almost invariably, each designer I spoke with said that 2010 is off to a better start than 2009, and we here at Contract are experiencing the same kind of renewed spirit in our interactions with readers and customers nationwide. This will still be a difficult year, but the light at the end of the tunnel is growing brighter. Away we go together!
Please give us your feedback on our redesign at www.contractdesign.com/contact.
 


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