May 27, 2014 Last Updated 10:56 am

First look: The Saatchi Gallery Magazine Art & Music

Gallery uses the FutureFolio digital publishing platform to create a native iPad edition of its quarterly magazine

Some mornings you want to just give up trying to read some digital magazines – issues don’t download, subscription mechanisms fail, apps crash. It can be a frustrating experience for someone wanting to write about a digital publications, but one imagines it is even more frustrating for readers.

Several apps today completely failed. One would take my money but stubbornly refused to let me download issues. For the publisher unaware of the issue, it would lead to cancelled subscriptions and much confusion. Another app crashed constantly at open, then when finally it opened failed to let me see any of its content (as if the buttons were not “hot”).

ArtMusic-cover-lgSo it was with a sense of relief that the new app for The Saatchi Gallery’s magazine Art & Music worked as expected. The Newsstand app, The Saatchi Gallery Magazine Art & Music, delivers a hybrid edition (replica of ads with links, and reformatted editorial content) of its spring issue, weighing in at a modest 174 MB (the app itself is 29.7MB installed).

The digital edition is designed in portrait, as all hybrids are, but doesn’t mind placing some photographs sideways in order to take advantage of the full screen. Some single page designs are slightly oversized, allowing the reader to scroll to reveal a touch more of an image – something I wish iBooks Author would allow, as well. Scroll boxes are used throughout.

The digital publishing platform used is FutureFolio.

The font sizes are perfect for a full sized iPad, and a touch small on an iPad mini – though a retina mini does allow for fairly comfortable reading.

The print edition of the magazine is designed by London-based Miscano Design, but the digital edition makes no mention of the studio. It does, ironically, mention the printer!

The Help section of the app is very nice, answering the logical questions a new subscriber would have including navigation and zooming.

The app was originally released on April 14 as version 1.0 and an update was released on May 15 which is version 3.7.2. I wonder what all the version in between looked like – probably the same as the original release as the update only mentions “Minor Updates.”

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