New apps from Apple Newsstand and Google Play are designed in landscape mode, which is increasingly rare these days with print replica editions.
The chances of a publisher investing in a native tablet edition for their magazine today are, I’m afraid to say, less and less likely. But it always happens, and it is hoped that readers find these apps and justify the time and effort required to create them.
The latest launch of this type of native digital magazibe is AS Color and Kiosko y Mas, a Spanish sports magazine that was launched under the developer account Comeresa. This account has only one other app in the App Store, for example Kiosko and more which is a digital newsstand app containing over 400 publications.
Because it comes from a digital newsstand, one would assume that the branded app would simply be a replica of the print edition. But what immediately reveals that this will be a native digital edition is that the magazine’s app icon is in landscape mode. Typically, magazines use portrait icons, as magazines are typically built in portrait mode – and even those that offer landscape reading stick with a portrait icon. The idea is that the landscape icons are only for newspapers.
The exception, of course, are native digital magazines that have chosen to design exclusively in landscape, but few have in fact chosen to stray from the standard look of magaizne icons.
Apple Newsstand and Google Play apps were created using the Planet tablet platform that is responsible for some interesting native digital magazines, including Revista MASMAG (see here).
There was a discussion among the designers of digital publishing, in 2010 and 2011, as to whether the landscape was the best direction for digital magazines. It seems almost quaint now, as the major publishers really weren’t too keen on native digital publishing and quickly won out, forcing readers to use PDFs. But at the time, there was a good argument to be made for landscape design, one of them being that photography and video work best in landscapes.
Well, it’s up to you. AS Color is free to download and access issues, and since the magazine is in Spanish, designers who are not fluent will not be distracted by the actual articles and can check out the design ideas for themselves. (But if you are interested in the material, there is an English version of the website here.)
To note: when TNM produced the Tablet publishing single number application, back in 2013, Konstantinos Antonopoulos who acted as artistic director successfully convinced me to go with the landscape.