In the war for attention, there is a surprising weapon. Print magazines are enjoying a renaissance, with brands and retailers at the forefront.

Selfridges has just launched Yellow Pages, a 72-page ‘zine’ that showcases the fashion, culture and happenings in-store. Conceived as a ‘directory of now’ the autumn campaign was created in partnership with the business directory publisher Yell, which granted the retailer use of its iconic name for the venture.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles-based lifestyle brand Madhappy debuted Local Optimist, a quarterly title dedicated to “community, collaboration and mindful conversation” that retails at USD 30. The inaugural issue covers topics ranging from ceramics to photography to forest bathing.

US beer brand Budweiser is taking advantage of its broad distribution to support emerging music artists in Colombia. BudMag is a monthly music journal that is printed on the inside of 12-packs of Bud beer. With official ‘circulation’ of more than 110,000 copies, BudMag is now one of the largest music titles in Colombia.

And around the world, dedicated magazine stores like Issues in Toronto, Shreeji in London, Rosa Wolf in Berlin and Reading Room in Milan are thriving, keeping print alive in the digital era.

Screengrab from Selfridges website with blond woman in a black voluminous dress overlaid with the text Yellow Pages
Yellow Pages, screengrab from Selfridges website
I think a magazine is much better for a more nuanced and reflective style of reporting on content.

Jeremy Leslie

Founder of MagCulture

Much like the renaissance in bookstores, and the vinyl revival, it seems there is a small but passionate audience for print magazines and journals, especially those with high production values, visual storytelling and a commitment to high quality design.

In an interview with MediaCat magazine, Jeremy Leslie, founder of MagCulture (a creative business devoted to all aspects of magazines), explained that our relationship with media is much more nuanced than a simple binary decision between the physical and digital. Different media serve different needs, he explains: “For the spontaneous and the instant, the fact that I can, for instance, read tweets [..] right now live on my phone, that’s great. But I think a magazine is much better for a more nuanced and reflective style of reporting on content.”

So while digital delivers a quick hit, printed journals encourage readers to take a more leisurely approach and savour the reading experience. This may offer some respite for those who are feeling a little digital fatigue. According to VML data, 58% of genZ and 57% of millennials in the United States, United Kingdom and China agree that technology can distract them from living a more interesting life.

The Intelligence Take

In an age of ephemerality, people are finding renewed appeal in the permanence of print, as well as its sensory appeal. The renewed appetite for print media speaks to a growing desire by some for a slower pace of consumption which prizes immersion and reflection over the dopamine hit of the endless scroll.

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