November 5, 2014 Last Updated 11:58 am

First Look: The New British, a stand-alone magazine app, celebrating British underground counter-culture

Publisher behind new digital magazine printed a small run of magazines to be used as promotion for the stand-alone app edition

Finding interesting new digital magazines inside the Apple Newsstand is hard enough, thanks to the way the App Store team has abandoned its own newsstand, but finding new digital magazines outside the Newsstand may be even harder. Four years ago, there was a way to look for apps under “All” that was sorted by release date. Every new app got its day in the sun, so to speak, and many quickly found an audience.

But the recently launched MagVault helps by tweeting about new digital magazines to be found inside its website and then in the various app stores. They tweeted about The New British today and I quickly downloaded the new digital magazine to take a look.

TheNewBrit-coverThe New British is the kind of digital magazine I think we all expected to see more of when Adobe opened up its Adobe DPS for single issue apps. For designers, familiar with InDesign and other Creative Cloud apps, the ability to launch your own single issue magazine app seemed too good an opportunity to pass up. TNM teamed up with Konstantinos Antonopoulos last year to create the Tablet Publishing – Winter 2013 app, but our goal was less about how far we could take the platform and more about trying to create an interesting B2B magazine app.

The big advantage of creating a magazine app using the Adobe DPS Single Edition solution is that it is free. Anyone with a decent knowledge of InDesign and can create their own digital magazine and launch their own app without having to deal with the costs of hosting and such. But there are severe restrictions, at the same time. The app can not be placed into the Apple Newsstand, only one issue can be created at a time as there is no library or store mechanism. And the app houses the magazine issue, there is no download mechanism. This means these types of apps tend to be rather large (to save file space, some link out to any video or audio content rather than directly embedding it into the app).

What will mark this generation is the burden of debt, the civil response to the cuts and its grinding consequences.
– Kez Glozier, editor

The New British, with its photography, audio and animation content is, not surprisingly, almost 700 MB in size.

The digital magazine uses many of the tricks of the trade for totally native publications: scrolling text boxes, pop-up captions, scrolling within stories, animation, photos that can be enlarged to full screen, etc. Thanks to its audio files that play in the background of stories, this is not a work-friendly reading experience, and it is not meant to be.

TheNewBrit-1The New British is the work of editor Kez Glozier and with art direction by Neville Brody. A long list of contributors brought photography and other content to the issue. The app is the magazine version of a series of eight short documentaries that Glozier created under The New British banner, with the origins of the project going back to 2011. The funding they received for the documentary films is probably the reason the magazine is available free of charge.

“The New British is a documentary that celebrates our Culture,” Glozier writes in the editor’s note. “We are taking an unflinching look t Britain today. Not just London, but all across the land.”

“We live in angry times right now,” he continues. “There feeling of tension is back once again and moulding a new pissed-off generation to smash it up (and we’re not asking about the riots). What will mark this generation is the burden of debt, the civil response to the cuts and its grinding consequences. So, whatever your skin colour, background, young or old – we have a lot to say.”

According to interviews Glozier has given, the plan for The New British is to publish quarterly. This first edition is called The New British | Issue Zero probably to differentiate it from the apps as they are launched (meaning, the plan is likely to keep the app out of the Newsstand.

“We wanted to make the transition to digital – print is dead. Some publishers still do it as it’s a tradition, and there are some great small independent titles, but there’s no happy medium,” Glozier told Design Week.

“There are 20 films in the next issue! Also economy-wise, printing is very expensive. This is a far more direct way of getting to a worldwide audience.”

Here is the promotional video for the app that is featured on The New British website.

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