February 1, 2016 Last Updated 11:13 am

First look: ‘blue – Das Magazine für Wellness, Lifestyle und Komfort’ from agency KopfKunst

Berlin-based communications agency releases a native digital magazine for their client, a Leipzig-based bathroom remodeler, designed in landscape, but exclusive to the iPad

I suppose it is a bit depressing to say that the best work done with digital magazines these days is generally being done by those outside the magazine industry. I know many TNM readers involved in digital magazine design won’t be surprised by that declaration – after all, they are often the ones doing the work, on contract, usually with brands.

blue magazine iPadOf the few new digital magazines recently launched into the Apple App Store, one of the best is for a bathroom redesigner. Of the remaining few new digital magazine apps released so far this year (not counting redesigns such as the very nice SWISS Universe digital magazine app), almost all have been released under the name of the vendor used, and all were hard-to-read replicas.

blue – Das Magazine for Wellness, Lifestyle und Comfort is a twice a year magazine for the Leipzig-based remodeler bad & heizung concept AG, produced by the Berlin communications agency KopfKunst Agentur for Communication. The app appears under the agency’s name, as well.

One knows immediately that this has a good chance to be a native digital magazine as the screenshots are in landscape. In the app description there are two links, one goes to the company’s website home page, but the other goes to a Flash flipbook of what must be a replica of the print version of the magazine, leading one to wonder if the app version too is a replica. It is not.

blue magazine iPad Quark app studioThe splash page that opens immediately after the read opens the app shows that this digital magazine was built using App Studio, the digital publishing platform owned by Quark.

What follows is a fairly simply. but elegantly, designed digital magazine Each page is, for the most part, self-contained – that is, one doesn’t scroll down to reach more content. Instead, the majority of pages feature full page photographs with a caption that appears when the reader taps a symbol. There are a handful of articles where the reader does scroll to reveal more of the story, but these are rare.

The important thing here, at least to me, is that by creating a digital magazine this way the reader will have no problem reading it.

There is a downside to creating a digital magazine in this fashion, however: the app only works on the iPad. This is likely why the agency has created a Flash flipbook version, at least those using a PC can access the digital magazine too.

Because the purpose of the digital magazine is to promote the remodeling company, rather than generate a profit on its own, the cost of creating the magazine will come out of the company’s marketing budget. Does this mean there is a greater chance that the magazine will continue on? Hard to say, one of the first really nice digital magazines launched was for Volkswagen, called Das, launched in 2010 by the Amsterdam-based agency Readershouse Brand Media. Sadly, the app is long gone, but the automaker continued to release iPad and iPhone apps, knowing they could reach car buyers through this form of digital media.

By the way, I should mention the app description for this app. It is a little short, and really should mention the name of the client (though the links do go the the company). What’s interesting is the last line, which sounds very much like what the agency would say to pitch the client, don’t you think?

App description:

Zweimal im Jahr präsentiert die blue Magazin-App die besten Konzepte für nachhaltige Bad-Gestaltung und effiziente Energiesysteme. Vertiefende Inhalte, interaktive Elemente und Verlinkungen ergänzen die Printausgabe und schaffen somit Mehrwerte!

Twice a year, presenting the blue magazine app the best concepts for sustainable bathroom design and efficient energy systems. In-depth content, interactive elements and links complement the print edition and thus create added value!

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