August 21, 2013 Last Updated 3:46 pm

Three new art magazine apps, from the U.K., Italy and Australia, released into the Newsstand

Three new magazines have hit the Apple Newsstand, each using different platforms and presenting different visions of what a digital magazine should look like. The three new titles, from the U.K, Italy and Australia, also come from three very different sources as both self-publishers and commercial publishers via for discoverability within the increasingly crowded Newsstand.

LightLandscape-cover-lgLight and Landscape Magazine is a UK-based digital-only title, one of many new photography magazines to enter the Newsstand. Edited by Matt Reid, and appearing in the Newsstand under the developer account name of Available Light Media Ltd, the digital title is available to read on both the iPhone and iPad and is free to download and read.

The magazine was designed by Lise-Mari Coetzee. This is, in fact, the third magazine I’ve written about that used her design services. Each is very attractive and professional looking, But each of the magazines are also limited by the fact that they are using a PDF platform – MagCast.

MagCast is the platform of choice for self-publishers and small businesses wishing to enter the Newsstand. The quality of the magazines are very much dependent on the design, but each of the new titles has been designed for the iPad’s display, meaning that the text is generally very readable and the pages fit perfectly (unlike many replica editions that have black framing because their print pages do not fit the iPad’s display specs.

While the magazine looks good, it does suffer from an obvious flaw: this is a landscape photography magazine that is designed in portrait. As a result, the digital magazine is working with one arm tied around its back. The photographs look good, but can not utilize the iPad’s display to the fullest. Also, because this is a PDF driven digital edition, there are not slideshows or other interactive features that can show more of the photographer’s work.

A good comparison would be to read Light and Landscape, then open up Exposures and compare the two titles. Then open up the replica edition of Black & White Photography. Each is approaching the platform in very different ways.

ImagineFX-cover-lgImagineFX Italia comes at digital publishing from a completely different angle, using the FutureFolio platform. Whereas the previous magazine was free of charge, this one is charging $6.99 or 5,99€ an issue. At that price point one would think it might offer a preview or introductory issue to entice readers to subscribe.

The magazine is, of course, in Italian, but its app description gives the reader a short but good idea of what to expect:

“ImagineFX is the only Italian magazine for professionals in the fantasy and sci-fi digital and traditional. Each issue contains an eclectic variety of in-depth workshops carried out by professionals, plus galleries and exclusive interviews, news and reviews.”

While the previous magazine was a personal effort, published under a company name, ImagineFX is a commercial effort published under a personal developer account name (Massimo Cranchi).

TroubleMag-cover-lgTrouble magazine comes from some mysterious place in Australia (neither the digital magazine or their website says where).
The website describes the title this way: “trouble is grass roots arts publishing at its best. trouble is made by artists for artists, and is dedicated to reflecting the best of the contemporary Australian art scene and the creatives who make it.”

I could not determine exactly what platform is being used here as the app proved to be a bit buggy – freezing up on me at least once, something I had never experience in a digital magazine before.

The Newsstand app allows the reader access on their iPhone as well as their iPad, though it looks like it was very much designed for the iPad (and is really difficult to read on a phone).

Unlike Light and Landscape, which tries hard to present itself as a professionally designed magazine, Trouble is a bit more cartoonish. The app, though, is native, so the designers occasionally use oversized pages that require scrolling, as well as scrolling text boxes.

Like Light and Landscape, Trouble is offering access free of charge.

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