If you are reading this article, I’d like to congratulate you. Whether consciously or not, you have decided to give yourself a break, a moment out of the mad schedule of your no-doubt busy life in which to sit down, pick up a beautiful magazine and immerse yourself in a world free of distractions. I imagine you are relaxing in a chair, lounging on a sofa, or maybe even soaking in a bath, trying not to dip the pages of this copy of Vogue into the fragrant water.
Being ‘always on’ is the curse of our digital times. Yes, we love technology because of how easy it makes our lives and how connected it allows us to be. But this comes at a price: having a smartphone with us at nearly every moment of the day makes us feel we have to be constantly available to answer messages and check in on social posts. And if we’re on a laptop watching the latest Netflix download, it’s just too easy to open another window and quickly deal with a work email, or order that designer dress you want delivered in time for a cocktail party on the weekend. After all, it will only take a minute, right?
We might like to call this ‘multi-tasking’, but really, we know that when we are online, nothing has our full attention – just think how quickly you scroll through your Instagram feed or swipe on dating apps. Now think about what happens when you sit down to read a book; how quiet the world becomes around you as you immerse yourself in the story. With a magazine you linger over the fashion images and flick through the pages to discover ideas, stories and opinions that you might never have thought about before, because this is curated and crafted information you haven’t searched for. We might surf the net, but we swim in print.
In an American study comparing students reading text books in a digital format versus print, it found they read the digital version faster but absorbed fewer details than when they read print. In marketing terms, print is considered to give brands ‘high quality attention’, how smart then that tech-based companies like Airbnb are creating magazines to connect more deeply with their customers.
The tangibility of being able to hold something in your hand and having a collectible format has become desirable once again. For many of us this means using books to adorn a coffee table, artfully showcasing a stack of glossy magazines in the corner of a room, or putting our personality on display with a shelf full of the writers and novels we love. Vinyl records and cassette tapes are having a resurgence too, with artists such as Billie Eilish and Ariana Grande releasing their music in this way. And it’s their millennial and Generation Z audiences who are driving this trend, alongside the boom in music festivals. Being surrounded by real people in the ‘offline’ world is a connection we are craving more and more.
Creativity can’t be measured with the click of a ‘like’ button. Digital content can be micro-targeted and data used to determine engagement to exact levels, but these metrics simply can’t be applied to the emotional connection you feel after spending half an hour with your favourite magazine. It’s no wonder then that many fashion designers still choose to shoot campaigns for print first and then adapt them for digital. They know how essential it is to surprise, delight and touch the heart of their customers. Would we still remember the most iconic fashion images of all time if we only saw them on a smartphone screen? Think teenage Kate Moss in Mario Sorrenti’s Calvin Klein Obsession adverts, or Peter Lindbergh’s glorious magazine images of supermodels Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell? I think not.
So, when you put down this copy of Vogue, know that it will stay where you left it to remind you of a beautiful world you can step into at any time you choose – no wifi required.
Published in Vogue Greece’s April 2020 Issue.