September 4, 2013 Last Updated 9:30 am

Dutch business group VNO-NCF releases native tablet edition for its magazine Forum

It has become something of a good rule, some of the best digital magazines are from brands, rather than traditional magazine publishers. The reason is that they are not created to produce a profit in and of themselves, but as promotion. The same rule can apply to organizations and their own branded magazine, especially when the organization chooses to bring in a design firm.

Forum-iPad-lgThe Dutch employer group NVO-NCF has a branded magazine called Forum and it has brought on Link Design to build a Newsstand app for its magazine. The result, Opinieblad Forum, is an excellent example of the platform – and best of all for publishers looking to see what others are producing, the app and its contents are free of charge.

The app currently only contains one older issue, but I assume that the release of the app into the Apple Newsstand this morning has caught the developer by surprise and a newer issue will be sent into the app’s library very soon. As a result the app icon is not the most current issue but a plain-jane logo in landscape – in my opinion, magazine app icons look best in portrait (even if the tablet edition itself is design to be read in landscape – leave newspapers to have landscape icons).

One can tell that a talented design firm worked on the digital edition as there are plenty of clever animations, and at least one that I’d prefer to eliminate (the explosion, which can be seen in the walk-through video below).

I especially like the cover, which is simple, with only the logo moving into place. A common complaint of digital magazine readers is that the creative team goes a little crazy with the cover. The animation and video looks great the first time the reader encounters it, but can be obnoxious when seen over and over again when the reader opens the issue.

Here the logo falls into place and the bottom contains a sliding element that serves as the table of contents.

There is a lot of native tablet bells and whistles here, especially for a modestly sized magazine. But I find that I like the simple layouts best. The joy of reading a digital magazine comes in the properly sized fonts, the clarity of the screen, and the added material that enhances the reading experience. Everything else is window dressing and usually can be dispensed with.

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