From blog to print

by Steve Watson in January 2013
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Joshua Ogden is the man behind Justified, the blog that became a magazine. I’ve written before about how both formats do a great job of packaging their content with a lovely understated inventiveness – man I love that little blue square.

Last week he sent me a hand-bound copy of his dissertation on the future of print and it makes for interesting reading.

For starters, it’s the first time I’ve seen somebody really working through the reasons why they decided to make the move from blogging to print. The dissertation itself shows Joshua is clearly a lover of print (my university work never looked as good as this) and I’ve got a feeling he’d have eventually ended up working in print in some way regardless of practicalities. But he comes up with clear reasons for wanting to make a print version of Justified:

“Each print project has a nervousness about it. This is due to when you send off that final PDF; that’s it. It gets put through the run and you end up with the final publication. This makes designers really scrutinise their work, making sure everything is just right. Things are looked at, re-looked at and almost made to perfection, whereas digital can be published, changed and edited at any point…”

What’s most interesting, though, is the way he doesn’t value one medium over the other. Print and digital hold equal importance for him (though one costs him considerably more to make) and praise for one format is taken as praise for the other:

“Justified No.1 has been sold online from one source. This means that every order Justified received shows that the customer has been involved in and excited by the web presence.”

He points out that visitors to the site spend an average of 1.2 minutes on the site, showing that they’re actually reading stuff there, and he takes that as proof that the online publishing is providing readers with the motivation to make a print purchase.

It’s great to see a creator of content viewing print and digital in this way, as mutually beneficial parts of the same process rather than as enemies fighting a painfully one-sided battle, which is the way it’s so often pitched. I’m sure we’re going to see more blogs following the Justified example and making their way into print, and I’m looking forward to seeing the ways that their publishers bridge the gap between the two.

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