Vangardist Magazine - from digital to print
In times when magazines shut down their print editions in favour of a digital approach, it's exceptional when things develop the other way around.
If you enjoy old proverbs, you're probably familiar with this one: "Who dares, wins." As is often the case with old adages, they're not terribly correct most of the time. In the case of Vienna based Vangardist magazine, though, it does hold true.
Founded as a digital magazine, Vangardist positioned itself from the start outside the realms of the typical men's magazine.
Talking to co-founder and editor-in-chief Julian Wiehl, we found out just how far outside and how daring that positioning was.
Ease of publishing is one of the main reasons fledgling magazines decide to go for a digital publishing approach, especially if they’re the kinds of magazines that are somewhat outside of the mainstream. And Vangardist - as the name already suggests - is a magazine born out of the mind-set that the avant-garde is where the exciting things happen.
Published digitally, but still produced as a monthly magazine closely resembling a printed product, it soon made its name as a progressive lifestyle magazine that featured cutting edge content you wouldn't usually find in a men's magazine.
From digital to print
Despite enjoying the advantages a digital publication affords, for their fifth anniversary, the Vangardist creators decided to take a chance and publish their first print edition of the magazine. Getting to touch, interact and simply feel the magazine sounded like too good an idea to pass on. As it turned out, it was the right move: the print version was a great success, and soon they increased print issues from one to four a year.
A watershed moment
But the magazine's real breakthrough was yet to come, and it was one that could only have been possible with a print version.
In 2015, Vangardist released their HIV-edition, an issue focused solely on the virus, with the intent to not only inform but to make waves, too. And make waves they did, not least because some of the pigments used for the cover were mixed with the blood of three different HIV-positive donors.
While wholly harmless from a health standpoint, this creative way of incorporating the topic right inside the physical object soon found Vangardist in the limelight. As expected, some voices went out of their way to lambast them for this approach, but exactly by doing so proved why it was still so important to talk about the subject.
Fortunately, a lot of praise came their way as well and resulted in nominations and awards for their exceptional way of tackling HIV and the stigma still associated with it.
Today, Vangardist is still going strong, releasing both digitally and in print, and we are happy to cooperate with them on their two most recent issues.
To put it in Julian Wiehl's words:
From the start we focused very much on the quality of the paper, and the first time we encountered Pergraphica, we were very excited about its haptics. We were even more excited when Mondi offered a collaboration.
As Julian also mentioned during our interview, there's a distinct difference between reading a magazine on paper compared to reading on a display. The haptics, the flipping through the pages, even the smell – it’s an experience unlike any other. Especially so with a magazine like Vangardist, where the designers always take pains to create the kind of presentation that’s equally as compelling as the cutting-edge content.
Publish everywhere, but print those things on paper you want people to keep.
Listen to the full interview with Julian Wiehl in an episode of our Print and Paper podcast (in German).