July 31, 2013 Last Updated 3:02 pm

VIEW Magazine goes from paid to free, and from one publishing platform to another

The Red Hook, NY based design firm FusionLab has updated its digital photography magazine app – retaining its free model, while redesigning its issues due to a move from one digital publishing platform to another.

VIEW Magazine is a quarterly magazine available in the Apple Newsstand for both the iPhone and iPad. In May, the company updated its app and made some rather radical changes with its Version 3.0.0. First, it went from a paid magazine to a free one. Second, it shifted from one platform to the other. This meant that older issues would have to be reformatted.

ViewMad-iPad-lgToday’s update to 3.0.1 not only reintroduces the previously published Issue 5 to the app’s library, but it also introduces a slight redesign of the digital editions themselves – the elimination of the information bar at the top of the screen, giving the magazine pages an additional 20 pixels to create a fullscreen look.

“We shifted to App Studio, which is now owned by Quark,” Alon Koppel, creative director at FusionLab, told TNM this afternoon. Starting with Issue 6, the company is using the new solution to produce its digital issues and app Eventually the older issues will appear again in the app’s library. This is why, with the latest update, the most recent issue shows up as Issue 5, with Issue 6 showing up in the library below.

“We need to redo them because it simply works through a different system. It’s in the cloud now.”

VIEW Magazine’s original app was released in early 2011. “We started doing this magazine as a way to test publishing on an iPad when Adobe had their Digital Publishing Suite available as a beta for companies to try,” Koppel said. “So that was a free solution from Adobe, which was not as polished as it is now – it’s very polished now, and it’s much more expensive now, we can’t afford that.”

So FusionLab started producing its quarterly magazine using the Aquafadas platform, but were working through Quark.

“I wanted to find a solution that would require just my skills as a designer and curator and photographer as opposed to hiring a programmer which would be very expensive. That’s why we looked into the DPS solution. Once the Adobe DPS solution became live, and beautiful, and expensive, that’s when we found Aquafadas.”

In May of 2012 the original app was updated to add support for the Apple Newsstand.

When Quark purchased App Studio it made sense to switch over. “We worked closely with Quark in creating the old issues again. It does work a little bit differently. It’s an HTML 5 app, instead of Aquafadas which is more of a PDF-based solution.”

With the big May 2013 update that reflected the change in platform came a change in business model, as well, as the digital magazine became free.

“We tried doing paid subscriptions and paid per issue,” Koppel said. “It was a $1.99 per issue and $3.99 for a subscription. And the numbers were just not there.”

“We’re getting much better numbers now as a free magazine,” Koppel said. “People in the App Store are really accustomed to these kinds of freemium idea.”

Moleskin-app-icon-smVIEW Magazine is now serving as an artist outlet for Koppel, as well as a part of FusionLab’s marketing.

“View Magazine is an opportunity for me as a visual person, as a photographer, to almost give back to the community. I find people who are not known and I email them.” Koppel targets mostly unknown photographers, those pretty much ignored by other fine art photography magazines.

But the digital magazine also serves as a showcase, of sorts, for the work of FusionLab. The design firm does web site work for large non-profits in the New York area, and work with international clients on apps. One of its more recent apps is Moleskine Journal for the Milan maker of otebooks, planners, diaries, and sketchbooks.

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